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The Faraday Girls: A Novelby Monica McInerney
Synopses & Reviews
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
The day the Faraday family started to fall apart began normally enough.
Juliet, at twenty-three the oldest of the five Faraday sisters, was first into the kitchen, cooking breakfast for everyone as she liked to do. This morning it was scrambled eggs, served with small triangles of buttered toast. She added parsley, diced crispy bacon and a dash of cream to the eggs, with a sprinkle of paprika as a garnish. She also set the table with silver cutlery, white napkins, a small crystal vase with a late-blooming red rose from the bush by the front gate and a damp copy of the Mercury that had been thrown over the fence before dawn. The big earthenware teapot that had once belonged to their grandmother had center place on the table, resting on a Huon pine pot holder that sent out a warm timber smell as it heated up.
Juliet stepped back from the table, pleased with the general effect. She'd been asked by her new boss at the downtown caféeacute; where she worked to come up with ideas for menu items. She made a record of this morning's arrangement in her notebook under the title English-style Traditional Breakfast A smoked kipper or two would have been a nice touch, but they were hard to come by in Hobart. Too smelly, anyway, if her childhood memory served her well.
Twenty-one-year-old Miranda was next up and into the kitchen. She was already fully made-up-black eyeliner, false lashes and very red lipstick—and dressed in her white pharmacy assistant's uniform. She looked around the room.
Juliet, you really are wasted with us. You'd make some lucky family a lovely maid.
She absentmindedly pulled in her belt as she spoke. Two months earlier, a visiting perfume sales representative had flattered her by mentioning her slender waist. She'd been working vigorously to get it as thin as possible ever since. She worked in the local drugstore, publicly expressing an interest in studying pharmacy, privately thrilled with the access to discount and sample cosmetics.
Juliet was also dressed for work, in a black skirt and white shirt, with a red dressing gown on top for warmth. She ignored Miranda's remark. English-style traditional breakfast, madam? she asked.
“I’d rather skin a cat, Miranda answered, reaching for the newspaper.
Eliza, sister number three and nineteen years old, came in next, dressed in running gear. She did a 4k run every morning before she went to university. That's not how you use that phrase, is it?
“It is now. I’d rather skin a cat within an inch of my hen’s teeth than put my eggs in Juliet's basket.
Juliet looked pointedly at Eliza. Would you like an English-style traditional breakfast, madam? Toast? Coffee or tea?
I'd love everything, thanks. And tea, please. I’ve got a big day today.” Eliza was studying physical education at university. During the week she coached two junior women's basketball teams. On weekends she ran in cross-country competitions. The only time any of her family saw her out of tracksuits was if she went to church on Sundays, and she rarely did that anymore. She took up her usual seat at the wooden table. Why do you put yourself through this every morning, Juliet?
“Practice. Research purposes. A strongly developed se
Maggie Faraday was raised by her young scientist mother with the help of her four aunts, but while helping her eccentric grandfather prepare a present for Christmas in July--a family tradition--she discovers some shocking family secrets.
“Crossing the globe, from Australia to Manhattan to Dublin, McInerney’s bewitching multigenerational saga lavishly and lovingly explores the resiliency and fragility of family bonds.”–Booklist
"Vivid characterizations and sharply honed dialogue . . . McInerney brings humor and insight to issues of sibling rivalry, family secrecy, and romantic betrayal."--The Boston Globe, on The Alphabet Sisters
"A book to treasure . . . clever, amusing, and heart-warmingly touching."--Woman's Day (Australia), on Family Baggage
From internationally bestselling author Monica McInerney comes a captivating and charming new novel of family secrets, the loyalty of sisters, and the power of redemption.
As a child, Maggie Faraday grew up in a lively, unconventional household with her young mother, four very different aunts, and eccentric grandfather. With her mother often away, her aunts took turns looking after her–until, just weeks before Maggie’s sixth birthday, a shocking event changed everything.
Twenty years later, Maggie is living alone in New York City when she receives a surprise visit from her grandfather Leo, who brings a revelation and a proposition: He’s preparing a special gift for his daughters and needs Maggie’s help. When the Faradays gather from all parts of the world to celebrate Christmas in July–a longstanding tradition–Maggie uncovers unexpected family history and learns that the women she thought she knew so intimately all have something to hide.
Written in McInerney’s trademark warm, heartfelt prose, The Faraday Girls is a sweeping and affecting family saga.
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