Meet Mimi Malloy: A daughter of the Great Depression, Mimi was born into an Irish-Catholic brood of seven, and she has done her best to raise six beautiful daughters of her own. Now they're grown, and Mimi, a divorcée, is unexpectedly retired. But she takes solace in the comforts of her new life: her apartment in the heart of Quincy, the occasional True Blue cigarette, and an evening with Frank Sinatra on the stereo and a highball in her hand. Yet her phone is arguably the busiest in greater Bostonit rings "Day In, Day Out," as Ol' Blue Eyes would say. Her surviving sisters love to gab about their girlhood, while her eldest, Cassandra, calls every morning to preach the gospel of assisted living. And when an MRI reveals that Mimi's brain is filled with black spotsareas of atrophy, her doctor saysit looks like that's exactly where she's headed, to spend her days in "a storage facility for unwanted antiques."
Mimi knows her mind is (more or less) as sharp as ever, and she won't go down without a fight. As she prepares to take her stand, she stumbles upon an old pendant of her mother's and, slowly, her memory starts to returnspecifically, recollections of a shocking and painful childhood, a sister who was sent away to Ireland, and the wicked stepmother she swore to forget.
Out of the ashes of Mimi's deeply troubled history, Julia MacDonnell gives us a redemptive story of the family bonds that break us and remake us. Mimi Malloy, At Last! is an unforgettable novel, alive with humor, unexpected romance, and the magic of hard-earned insighta poignant reminder that it's never too late to fall in love and that one can always come of age a second time.
"Humorous and poignant
MacDonnell captures perfectly the family dynamics between sisters, mothers, and daughters, as if she were sitting in on their gab sessions, taking copious notes. For readers who enjoy Maeve Binchy and Rosamunde Pilcher, this is a highly engaging family chronicle, with a healthy dose of Irish history laced in as well." - Booklist
"Lightened by her sharp wit, feisty Mimi's saga is a sometimes troubling but ultimately triumphant tale of aging, the Boston Irish immigrant experience, and redemption. MacDonnell's first novel in 20 years (after A Year of Favor) will appeal to anyone who loves a good story with a strong heroine." - Library Journal
"Julia MacDonnell's Mimi Malloy, At Last! is a triumph and a delight! Mimi is a gal you'll take into your heart- Irish and Catholic to her core, at once steely-eyed and unsentimental about a tragic childhood and even tougher breaks experienced as a mother in working-class Quincy, Massachusetts, raising six daughters and dealing with a charming cheat of a husband. Divorced and down-sized, Mimi treasures her solitude, but when troubling memories- and an unexpected suitor- show up, she is able to see through the mists of time to find a clear-eyed vision of forgiveness and acceptance. This is a novel of such heart and hope- and, yes, humor. I wouldn't trust anybody who couldn't fall for Mimi Malloy, At Last!" - Mary Kay Andrews, New York Times bestselling author of Ladies' Night
"I gulped down Julia MacDonnell's juicy novel of revealed memories and startling characters....Mimi proves that some revelations take living long enough to have. Extraordinary." - Molly Peacock, author of The Paper Garden
"Mimi Malloy, At Last! is funny, wise, and devastating. Julia MacDonnell writes with tender insight, letting Mimi's old memories crack the defense of humor, allowing the buried truths of her family and childhood to shine through. It's very Irish....I loved it." - Luanne Rice, New York Times bestselling author
"The end of life becomes an unexpected beginning in Julia MacDonnell's moving, funny masterpiece about love, memory, and the family ties we sometimes need to untangle. Absolutely captivating." - Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You and Is This Tomorrow
"I love Mimi! Such a feisty, endearing, hilarious character- yet also very vulnerable as the threads of her painful Irish-American past begin to unravel. Julia MacDonnell's fluent writing beautifully observes the iniquities of old age and the complexities of family. But also the benefits of both. What a wonderful book." - Hilary Boyd, author of Thursdays in the Park
"A love letter to sisterhood, Frank Sinatra, late-in-life romance, and the enduring ties of family. The book's narrator calls to mind a Boston-Irish Olive Kitteridge, as peppery as she is big-hearted. Mimi Malloy, At Last! will make you laugh, cry and relive your own past." - Sally Koslow, author of The Widow Waltz and The Late, Lamented Molly Marx
"With sensitivity and humor, Julia MacDonnell paints a rich and engrossing family portrait in this delectable novel. Mimi Malloy- feisty, determined, and courageous- confronts her heart-wrenching past and opens herself up to an unexpected future. I loved falling into this story with a triumphant woman at its core." - Katharine Davis, author of Capturing Paris and A Slender Thread
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Rated of 5
Susan M. (Ashland, OR)
Mimi Malloy At Last
This well written book teaches the reader to listen and look for stories. It is so easy to judge Mimi brushing her off as a contrary old woman. We learn of her black holes of memories as she struggles to revisit her painful childhood. Her evil Stepmother whose actions are appalling and very creepy are based on the Irish beliefs of fairies, changelings, and potions. We can not judge.
The "Irishness" that permeates this story is fascinating. The Stolen Child by Yeats now has new meaning.
I'm looking forward to reading more of the author's works.
Rated of 5
Lucy B. (Urbana, OH)
This is not one of those "delightful" stories by any means. Mimi had a sad life as a child and it followed her into adulthood. How much sadness, especially beginning in childhood, can one person endure. The death of her mother and the appearance of the "UGLY stepmother" put it all into motion. Then trying to remember as an adult what happened in her childhood, I felt Mimi's memory was blocked due to her experience. Then to top it off, loosing her husband to another woman after have six children was another devastating blow.
In the story of Cinderella, Cinderella got away from her stepmother and found her prince charming. Has Mimi now found her prince charming after all the heartaches she has been through. I felt the author did a great job telling the story in Mimi's voice and leading us on through her story to the tragic outcome. This story was mesmerizing and I could not put the book down once I started reading it.
Rated of 5
Jan T. (Leona Valley, CA)
You will fall in love with Mimi Malloy!
Julia MacDonell's Mimi Malloy at Last is heartwarming - both wise and humorous. You will get to know all her present and past relatives. The most touching are the family dynamics between Mimi and her daughters. There is also a dash of Irish whimsy. There are lessons about the power of forgiveness, love, memory and aging. You will be charmed at the end and won't want to say goodbye to Mimi. I loved it!
Rated of 5
Jennifer B. (Oviedo, FL)
Mimi Malloy At Last
Mimi Malloy is completely believable. She and her mostly personable and numerous family members evoked many of my own memories. With a straightforward style of language Julia MacDonnell encourages her readers to think about life's events and turnarounds in their own experiences while exploring Mimi Malloy's story. I feared this book would fall into the sappiness category, but was pleasantly surprised to be proven wrong. There was a pleasant mixture of drama, romance and mystery that made me eager to keep reading. I shall be recommending Mimi Malloy At Last to my book club.
Rated of 5
Susan J. (Twain Harte, CA)
Healing the Past
This is a family saga about memories triggered by a pendant Mimi finds in her closet. It starts off light-hearted and humorous; I was expecting a pleasurable read similar to Jeanne Ray's books. Mimi isn't particularly worried about her memory issues which greatly concern her sisters and daughters. Mimi, her surviving sisters, and her daughters are the heart of the story, but five generations come into play, from Mimi's grandmother, Nana, who believed in putting the past behind, to her sister's grandson, whose genealogy project has caused the family to pressure Mimi to reveal family secrets which she has completely repressed. Daughter Siobhan believes in learning about the past in order to understand it, and her reconciliation with her mother comes about as Mimi gradually recovers her memories.
The novel becomes darker and more emotional as the tragedies of the past are revealed. It is no wonder that Mimi can't recall her father's failings and her stepmother's inhumanity.
In contrast are the lies of false memories, which have resulted in friend Duffy's son being incarcerated as a pedaphile, and the false memory of sister Fagan's disappearance which no doubt contributed to Mimi's traumatic memory loss.
The horror of Mimi's recovered memories is balanced by the healing of her relationships with her sisters and daughters as well as her sweet relationship with Duffy.
I loved the chapter titles, all songs by Mimi's favorite, Frank Sinatra.
I temporarily lost the book in a restaurant when I was only halfway through, and I was really upset that I'd have to wait until the book was released to finish it. When the book showed up, I was so relieved. I hadn't realized until then how caught up I was in the story. I can't wait for this author's next book.
Rated of 5
Dorothy T. (Victorville, CA)
Memories light the corner of my mind
I was not very sympathetic toward the main character of this novel, Mimi Malloy, a reluctantly retired 60-ish divorcee with six daughters, but as the story was told, with wit and humor, I began to like her more. If nothing else this book taught me not to accept someone at face value or by a single encounter; take time to get to know and understand another person, peel back a few layers, and you may be surprised by what you find.
I cannot say that the answer to the big mystery of the book was any surprise to me, however, but watching Mimi's memories return and the effect those revelations have on her and on her relationships with her sisters and her daughters made this a worthwhile read.
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