Top positive review
... are memorable characters and stories and then there are fantastic characters and incredibly moving stories brought to life t
Reviewed in the United States on May 20, 2017
There are memorable characters and stories and then there are fantastic characters and incredibly moving stories brought to life that allow you to fall deep into a book and forget that they are just that. Stories. This is what happens when you read J. Courtney Sullivan’s novel SAINTS FOR ALL OCCASIONS. Rich storytelling, fraught with intense struggle, torn between two worlds, young girls who leave their home in Ireland for America, not yet ready for this unknown world that awaits and promises a new life, a better one. Terrified, on their own. Husbands-to-be, still too young to process, away from the comfort of home and family, and all that they know. Sisters torn apart over great love that will change their lives forever. They each take a separate course, never knowing what the other is feeling. This is what secrets can do.
A new generation enters with their own set of problems. Of this new world, they are only aware of the present, and a bit of their move from Boston’s Dorchester where their large extended family lives to their new home in the farther away Hull. The sudden move was never explained. Their parents’ past is unknown to them. A family tragedy occurs later as the children are grown and life unfolds before them.
Sullivan paints a strong portrait of Irish immigrants, the life and hardship that so many left behind with the hope of better jobs, improved education, while holding on to their beliefs and religion in a new country. What the second generation finds is that they are faced with a different set of troubles, yet some resemble similar predicaments of a previous era. We evolve but there is always difficulty and perhaps, we should not be so quick to dismiss the generation before us.