Saints for All Occasions: A novel
Nora and Theresa have always been an odd sibling couple, with Nora the practical, timid older sister and Theresa the free-spirited, outgoing younger. With their mother long dead, Nora has raised Theresa in their beloved home in Ireland. When Nora’s fiance, Charlie, decides to go to America and asks Nora to follow, Nora brings Theresa along, hoping she’ll find a good teaching job. But when they settle in Dorchester, Theresa has other interests–namely, the handsome Walter McClain. Her pregnancy is a shock to everyone, and Nora devises a desperate act of sisterly devotion that ultimately rips them apart. When Theresa becomes a cloistered nun, the past proves too fraught for their relationship to survive. Only in the most tragic of circumstances do the sisters finally face the possibility of reunion.
Sullivan’s story spans decades and continents, but she keeps a laser focus on Nora, Theresa, and the immediate family members who fill their world. Both sisters are, in a way, victims of their place and time, but Sullivan moves beyond rightful condemnation of past societal transgressions to movingly explore how personal decisions–both wise and foolish–can shape a life forever.
J. Courtney Sullivan