Synopses & Reviews
Once upon a time in Manhattan . . .
. . . there stood a pair of fine old brick townhouses on West Tenth Street. One had a blue door with a tarnished brass knocker in the shape of a dolphin. The other was empty. Behind the blue door lived Sadie, the widow of a famous British rocker who died of an overdose, and two of her children, Hamish and Deen.
The children manage to muddle along as best they can with a loving but distracted mother. But their whole world changes when the house next door gets a new owner—a mysterious Southerner who quickly endears himself to his new neighbors, taking them—and their friends—under his protective wing. In doing so, he transforms everything.
Magical, lively, lovely, and unique, The Ballad of West Tenth Street is a contemporary urban fairy tale that delightfully reimagines real life.
"Full of lower Manhattan's eccentricities, this captivating debut peeks in on the family of a late rock icon, Ree Hollander, in its West 10th Street townhouse. His widow, Sadie, met the rocker after ditching college for a less conventional education in swinging London. A doting mother, Sadie is a 'dedicated drinker,' whose thirst for vodka has grown since her eldest, Gretchen the only child old enough to know Ree before he overdosed at 39 checked into a Connecticut mental institution for self-mutilation. The adolescents, Ondine and Hamish, eschew public school for lessons from their bohemian neighbors. Also afloat in this quirky sea are London-based Brian, Ree's best friend and bandmate who's lusted after Sadie since Ree's death 12 years ago, and Cap'n Meat, a genteel bum and Vietnam vet who guards the children from less savory street characters. When a near-fatal motorcycle accident sends Sadie back to London, this unlikely circle tightens around the Hollander kids. Blending a local's familiarity with a first-timer's awe, Keenan's portrait of Manhattan is vividly drawn, an insightful illustration of how a string of city blocks can feel like home." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Marjorie Kernan, a former painter, owns an antiques shop on the coast of Maine. This is her first novel.