Mimi Malloy, At Last, by Julia MacDonnell, is a big hit with BookBrowse readers. 22 out of 24 reviews gave it a 4 or a 5. Why have readers fallen in love with Mimi Malloy as she finally faces her past and opens herself up to a potential new future?
Julia MacDonnell's novel, Mimi Malloy, At Last held me captive from the first page. I often found myself losing track of time, reading late into the night. The novel, while set in present day New England takes us back to Mimi's long forgotten childhood trauma, repressed as a survival instinct that will no longer be denied resolution. This novel has earned a place on my read again bookshelf (Deborah P). Hurrah for Mimi and the women in her family who, however unwillingly, face the past so they can face the future (Carol T). This book is a little bit A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and a touch of Angela's Ashes with bits of the Golden Girls thrown in for levity. It will long stay with me. (Dianne S). Mimi Malloy, At Last is heartwarming - both wise and humorous. There is also a dash of Irish whimsy. There are lessons about the power of forgiveness, love, memory and aging. I loved it! (Jan T) This book won't make you feel good...but it will show you how you can learn to live with many misfortunes that come your way (Roe P).
Readers found they were unable to put the book down!
The book held my attention from the beginning. It was definitely a page-turner (Kim L). Mimi's journey snatches you in and never eases its grip (Debra C).
Readers also deeply identified with Mimi and many were reminded of their own families, especially their mothers:
My mother was born nearly the same year as Mimi, the middle of 10 children, 7 of them girls. She has never talked about her childhood and steered us away when we tried to ask. There is something about that era that keeps many people from discussing, or even remembering, it; whether the reasons be deep family secrets or the hardship of growing up during the depression (Carol T). Mimi strongly reminded me of my mother and her large family of sisters, raised before and during the great recession years, strongly Irish and Catholic. Though happy and historic days were sometimes briefly discussed, there was always an air of deep sadness and many unspoken stories and memories, which I believe were related to grief, fear, longing. This is a book I will ponder and fuss about in my mind for a long time. I enjoyed it immensely, while at the same time, feeling a sense of loss about family history that may now never be spoken about aloud (Diane W). I so enjoyed Julia MacDonnell's story that I could not put it down. I not only identified with Mimi but also identified my mother in her. The deep Irish secret of the past is a mystery that keeps the reader turning pages (Lesley F). I loved reading about a woman my age (Darlyne F).
Many readers were captivated by the arc of the story. It begins light and breezy, but evolves into a more serious tale:
This is a family saga that starts off light-hearted and humorous but the novel becomes darker and more emotional as the tragedies of the past are revealed (Susan J). I feared this book would fall into the sappiness category, but was pleasantly surprised to be proven wrong. There was a mixture of drama, romance and mystery that made me eager to keep reading (Jennifer B). By turns amusing and tragic, I could fully appreciate Mimi and her perception of her world. I applaud her grit and tenderness and refusal to be manipulated. Thank you, Mimi! (Sue P)
Who is this book suited for?
We read coming-of-age books, but this is the opposite. This book is the Autumn of Age. This is a book for mothers and daughters and even has an edge of romance to the story (Sally G). I will recommend Mimi's story to my book club and well-read friends. A good novel for women of all ages, mothers, daughters and friends of mothers and daughters. Persons of Irish descent should find it irresistible (Cecile G).
This review was originally published in April 2014, and has been updated for the March 2015 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.
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