Latest Reads

Ask Again, Yes – Mary Beth Keane – Blog Tour Post

My great thanks to Sriya Varadharajan of Penguin – Michael Jospeh – for inventing me onto this Blog tour – for Ask Again, Yes and to Gaby Young for sending a copy of the book to me. Mary Beth Keane has written a beautiful story of how powerful love can be and what it can conquer and destroy when not controlled.

A profoundly moving novel about two neighbouring families in suburban New York, the friendship between their children, and a tragedy that reverberates over four decades, to read the book is to love it, and it’s going to be an essential read this summer – don’t miss the chance to be one of its first readers. 

Gillam, a quiet suburb in upstate New York is a town of ordinary, big-lawned houses, a leafy settling ground for young families moving out of the city. The Gleesons have recently moved there and soon welcome the Stanhopes as their new neighbours. Lonely Lena Gleeson hopes to find a friend in her neighbour, but Anne Stanhope – cold, elegant, unstable – wants to be left alone. It’s up to their children – Kate and Peter, who are born six months apart – to find their way to one another. Then, when Kate and Peter, a violent event divides the neighbours, and the children are forbidden to have any contact.

Is it possible to continue a friendship whose resilience and love has been almost broken by the fault line dividing both families, and by the terrible, tragic incident that has engulfed them all?

Our Author:

Mary Beth Keane attended Barnard College and the University of Virginia, where she received an MFA. In 2011, she was named one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 under 35,” and in 2015 she was awarded a John S. Guggenheim fellowship for fiction writing. She currently lives in Pearl River, New York with her husband and their two sons. She is the author of The Walking PeopleFever, and Ask Again, Yes.

Mary Beth Keane

My Review:

Ask Again, Yes – is about two families, The Stanhope’s and The Gleeson’s.

Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope meet at Police training college, they end up at the same precinct in New York, early 90’s and walk the beat together. though initially friends – they tell each other about their girlfriends, who become their wives, then impending births. They move on in their careers, and although are no longer as close, they remain, colleagues, they become neighbors.

Lena & Francis have lived on the street for some time, when Anne and Brian move in next door. Lena already has a daughter and another on the way. Anne says she’ll have a child soon, and although Lena keeps an eye out, there’s no sign of a baby next door. Until Lena notices one day, that Anne’s car is home a lot and then see the baby, a boy, Peter.

Six months later Kate is born to the Gleeson’s – Natalie and Sara now have a baby sister. Due to their age Kate and Peter become friends, much to Anne’s dislike and tells Peter to stay away from Kate. It’s hard when you live next door to avoid someone, so their friendship continues. As they grow Peter’s feelings for Kate increase and Anne can see this, he longs to spend time with Kate and relishes warm evenings spent outside with her.

Its becomes clear that Anne clearly has mental illness issues – depression, anxiety, and personality disorders that make her paranoid. Annes increasing insecurities bring further problems for the Stanhope’s and over time Brian tries to leave, taking Peter with him, but the bad winter stops them getting out of town, so they return.

These episodes continue until one day Anne tells Peter that he won’t be going back to school, or see Kate again. Peter gets a note to Kate to meet him and what happens after this causes even further distress for both families. Peter ends up going to Manhattan with his father and living with his uncle George, this carried on until Peter was old enough to gain a full scholarship to University and leave. Whilst he was there, he got a taste for having a drink at the end of the day and after a few too many one day, he writes Kate a letter, saying how he felt and that he missed her. Kate writes back and they meet up, nothing has changed between them, and before long they are a couple and despite the problems this entails, they overcome them, its not all smooth, there are a few bumps in the road, but Mary Beth Keen writes these glitches about love, relationships, and family seamlessly into what turns out to be a heartfelt story of how love, understanding, patience, and forgiveness can, and does solve so many hurtful situations in life, that we can all learn a lesson from Ask Again, Yes.

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@Mary_Beth_Keane @MichaelJBooks @penguinrandom @sriya_v @GabyYoung #AskAgainYes

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