Today I introduce Maggie Harryman with her new novel: Here among us
Here Among Us
By Maggie Harryman
Print Length: 304 pages
Publisher: Straight On True (October 1, 2012)
Genre: Literary Fiction
When unemployed San Francisco attorney, Flynn O’Shea, and her teenaged daughter, Didi, are summoned to New Jersey for the Thanksgiving holiday by Flynn’s socialite sister, Maeve, she expects a fight.
After all, she has been battling Maeve most of her life. Disagreeing about the extent of their Irish mother’s creeping dementia and the fate of the family’s thriving restaurant business, named for their beloved, long dead father, Paddy, is surely a recipe for a world-class brawl.
What Flynn doesn't expect is the fragile truce the sisters forge to save O’Shea’s from the clutches of Maeve’s scheming husband, Jeffrey. Flynn and Maeve are reluctantly aided by their forty-four-year-old brother, Osheen, a handsome Peter Pan still cruising the Jersey shore, getting high and dodging responsibility.
And while Didi tries to convince her mother that “everything is as it should be,” just when Flynn is sure she’s gained the upper hand on Jeffrey, her own mother’s shocking confession sends her into a wine-soaked tailspin and forces her to deal once and for all with the ghosts of her past. Devastated, Flynn must choose to save O’Shea’s or risk losing forever all she has left of her father.
In Here Among Us, the O’Sheas find themselves dealing with the very timely issue of Alzheimer’s, a disease that strips the victim's identity and wreaks havoc on the family left to pick up the pieces. But Flynn, Osheen and Maeve’s troubles began long before their mother started to “slip.” For the O’Sheas, much of their shared angst is rooted in the single most devastating event of their lives—the death of their father when they were young children. The novel explores not only how deep wounds can seem impossible to heal, but how refusing to let go of the stories the O'Sheas desperately cling to about who they are, threatens to hasten their demise.
Maggie Harryman was born in New Jersey and moved to San Francisco soon after college. She received an MA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and spent the ensuing years working as a copywriter in various industries including healthcare, tech and real estate/finance.
Maggie lives in Northern California in the heart of wine country, has two wonderful children in college and an old, faithful dog named, Humphrey.
Here Among Us is her debut novel. She also has two short stories on Amazon; Jesus, Mary and Joseph Michael Duffy Has Arisen and Cleaning Naked.
My 5 Star review
Set in New Jersey this Irish American Family owned a pub. Three to be exact, started by their father, a boxing legend in his own right. His footsteps printed deep into their lives and thoughts evident all through the story.
We are introduced to Flynn the youngest of the siblings, unemployed living in San Francisco and her sixteen year old daughter, Didi. The eldest sister Maeve, socialite. And Osheen the middle sibling, brother and the one who runs the main pub.
Oona the mother who is struggling with her forgetting past, not willing to admit the evidence of Alzheimer. Trying to understand the world around her. In her own way she tries to set things right between the always arguing siblings. Who did not trust each other at all, but as the story unfolds you get a sense of love and protectiveness towards each other.
You are drawn into the emotional roller coaster of the three as they try to make sense of their heritage, the untimely death of their father and their current lives.
Osheen was afraid of commitment not willing to realize that his best chances in a relationship was right before him. Stepping up as a protector for his sisters, niece and nephew.
Maeve, married to a abusive, drug addict that wants all control of the business. The empire Oona has build after Paddy's death. Finding her self in a lesbian relationship with a woman she loves and adores.
Flynn, a sport attorney who lost her work after the company down sized, divorced finding she still have feelings for a man, now cop and just written his bar exam Micheal. The blossoming romance a nice touch through all the turmoil they faced during the five day weekend of Thanksgiving.
You learn through all the back flashes of the three what made this family who they were. As secrets is revealed and the three is forced to work together against the husband you find that the Father Paddy looked a head and equipped them with survival skills. Even after his death his lessons saved them on many occasions. It was only this late in life that they realized it.
Overall a very good read with all its intriguing details, colorfully set to give you and overall feeling of accomplishment as the two old lovers come together, finding each other after all the years of confusion and loss. The author kept the pace alive and vivid so that it did not bore you with all the details. The characters strong and believable as they grow into understanding of each role they live.