Saints for All Occasions is not your typical hard-luck Irish immigrant story. Nora and Theresa Flynn leave their quintessential existence in small-town Ireland to move to Boston. They are not penniless or homeless. Nora is set to marry Charlie and Theresa dreams of marrying for love. Nora places duty over all else while Theresa flies through life as if in a fairytale. Theresa’s naivete leads her down a very different path, while Nora’s life moves forward through the years with four very different children, including her favorite son, Patrick. Nora’s life is filled with family obligations as she learns to love her husband. Nora and Theresa’s differences create a chasm that becomes insurmountable until they are forced to face the past.
Courtney Sullivan sucks the reader in with her easy-to-read writing style and characters that are flawed and ultimately very human. Sullivan asks the reader to work through themes of love, loneliness, doing the right thing and upholding familial obligations even when it hurts. Saints for All Occasions is difficult to put down as the reader navigates what will ultimately transpire with Nora and Theresa during the ebb and flow of recognizable life with all its happiness, pain and everything that happens in between.
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