In 1908, after the death of her fiance, Thom, on the journey from Ireland to New York City, Bridey is bereft– and pregnant. She gives up her son, Vincent, when he is three months old and makes a place for herself as a maid at Hollingwood, the grand Connecticut home of the Hollingworth family. When Sarah Hollingworth decides to adopt a child, she and Bridey find Vincent and bring him to Hollingwood without revealing the truth of his birth. As the nineteen hundreds gallop along, the Hollingworth family grows and changes. By the time the century turns, Bridey is dead. The Hollingworths believe her a murderer, and Vincent’s son is about to meet a terrible fate of his own.
The Latecomers follows five generations of Hollingworths, and Ross deftly employs short, vignette-like chapters to manage their various storylines. Though a minor figure in the household, Bridey is the beating heart of the narrative, and it is her decisions that determine the direction and shape of multiple Hollingworths’ lives. Her eventual death in Ireland feels distant, which makes sense. Connecticut by that point is, for her, a memory, and this removal from the family she loved is heartbreaking. Secrets, too, have a way of seeming unremarkable when generations separate the concealment from the revelation. This is, perhaps, what makes this novel so moving. As time marches on, with its drama and tragedies, even the deepest secrets can lose their power.
After editing at City Book Review for a few years, I took up the duties of editorial assistant, which include assigning books for review, posting reviews to our various sites, and nagging reviewers for things. In my non-nagging time, I’m a gamer, artist, writer, and notorious black thumb/bane of plants. My answer to every book-related question: read Octavia Butler.
|Author||Helen Klein Ross|
|Page Count||432 pages|
|Publisher||Little, Brown and Company|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|