Ask Again, Yes
Mary Beth Keane
I very much enjoyed this story about two families in a suburban town outside New York. A tragic event splits them apart and the resulting pain haunts them for decades. The story begins in New York in 1973 as Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope graduate from the police academy. Marriage and children follow and the two families become next door neighbors in the fictional town of Gillam. As the children grow, Kate Gleeson and Peter Stanhope become best friends and are on the verge of romance until the night that changes the course of both families’ lives.
After that night, Kate and Peter’s families are burdened with trying to move on and many other problems, including hushed family secrets and worries of history repeating itself. Each character wonders if the events could have been altered had they acted differently. They struggle with marriage, parenthood, and the rippling effects of mental illness, alcoholism and sexual abuse. And whether they like it or not, their families will always be interconnected.
What I liked most about this book is the way I got to know the characters and saw how they worked through situations over time, finding their way back to each other. But first, readers see how the families, engaged in daily life, don’t acknowledge their deeper problems until they lead to bigger crises. I also liked Brian’s brother, George, whose quiet resilience and self-knowledge is there for any of them to see, if they would only notice. By the end of the story, I felt like I understood why each acted the way they did.
I don’t want to give anything more away, because family dramas are much more enjoyable if you experience the events as they unfold. And although the families’ problems seem overwhelming, friendship, love, acceptance and forgiveness ultimately dominate.
Ask Again, Yes was voted a 2019 Summer Read by fans of Jimmy Fallon’s The Tonight Show (read about that here). And for readers who like to know how authors develop stories, here’s a BookPage interview with Mary Beth Keane.
I recommend Ask Again, Yes to readers who like family sagas and stories about resilience. I think it would make a good book club book.
Thanks for visiting – come back soon!
31 thoughts on “Book Review: Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane”
I always enjoy reading family sagas. This one sounds like one to add to my list. Thanks for the review, Barbara!
Hi Jill – family sagas are one of my favorite types of fiction. I love to get immersed in their story. Thanks for visiting – hope you’re keeping those doves under control! They are a little ahead of their cousins up north 🙂
I can’t decide if I want to add this to my TBR…
Oh, well if you do, I hope you like reading it. Thanks for visiting.
I always like to know how writers develop their stories. Thanks for the review and the link too, Barbara!
Hi Marian – thank you for reading. I also enjoyed the intereview.
It’s actually on my kindle and tbr list. Great review. I need to read it!
I hope you like it, Luccia. I have a few of those on my Kindle too! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
sounds interesting and thanks for the links at the end
and everyone can relate with wondering if “events could have been altered had they acted differently.”
Hi Prior – thanks for the visit – glad you liked the links at the end 🙂
I’ve been wondering about this one, sounds good!
Hi Cathy – I enjoyed it. I looked forward to reading it every day! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
This sounds like a story I’d enjoy. I like any novel that has resilience as one of its main themes.
Same here – Ally Bean! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Hi, Barbara – Thank you for another very enjoyable review. Summer Reads by Fans of Jimmy Falon?! I never knew that there was such a thing. I am off to check that out now.
Hi Donna – I didn’t know it was a thing either! So many celebrity book clubs and recommendations! Thank you for reading and commenting. Hope you are doing well 🙂
Sounds like a book i would enjoy. Sharing!
Hi Bette – I hope you enjoy it if you get a chance to read it. I liked getting immersed in the characters’ stories. Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Glad you also enjoyed this one. Wonderful review.
Hi Diana – thank you! And thanks for the visit 🙂
Lovely review! I read this with my book group last year, and it generated such great discussions. You describe the characters so well – such an interesting look at the inner workings of a family.
Hi Lisa – I’ll have to visit your blog and read your review. I agree – good book club book! Thanks for the visit 🙂
Hmm, I wonder what happened that fateful night? It’s smart that you didn’t tell us, no spoilers.:-)
Hi Priscilla – yes, I hate falling into spoilers by mistake and have learned to leave them out. Thanks for stopping by.
This sound interesting! Thanks for the review!
Hi Ann – I liked it very much – recommended by my SIL. We read it at the same time which is always fun. Thanks for stopping by!
I like the sound of this book, Barbara. I am a fan of family dramas.
Same here – on the pages of a book! 😉 Thanks for stopping by, Robbie.
Wonderful review, Barbara, and I’m adding this book to my list. Thanks for sharing!
Hi Lauren – I’m glad this one sounds interesting to you. Thank you for reading and commenting!
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