Cover image for Bethlehem : a novel
Title:
Bethlehem : a novel
ISBN:
9781250201492
Edition:
1st ed.
Physical Description:
288 pages : illustration; 22 cm.
Summary:
A young woman arrives at the grand ancestral home of her husband's family, hoping to fortify her cracking marriage. But what she finds is not what she expected: tragedy haunts the hallways, whispering of heartache and a past she never knew existed. Inspired by the true titans of the steel-boom era, Bethlehem is a story of temptation and regret, a story of secrets and the cost of keeping them, a story of forgiveness. It is the story of two complex women--thrown together in the name of family--who, in coming to understand each other, come finally to understand themselves. --
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Summary

Summary

With the atmospheric storytelling of Kate Morton and Lisa Wingate, Karen Kelly weaves a shattering debut about two intertwined families and the secrets that they buried during the gilded, glory days of Bethlehem, PA.

A young woman arrives at the grand ancestral home of her husband's family, hoping to fortify her deteriorating marriage. But what she finds is not what she expected: tragedy haunts the hallways, whispering of heartache and a past she never knew existed.

Bethlehem is a multigenerational saga that weaves together the lives of two prominent families during the historic steel boom era of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Inspired by the true titans of the industry, Bethlehem is a mystery, a love story, and a tragedy. It is a story of temptation and regret; a story of secrets and the cost of keeping them; a story of forgiveness. It is the tale of two complex women: the dynamic and beautiful Susannah Parrish Collier and her daughter-in-law, the outsider Joanna Rafferty Collier. Thrown together in the name of family, they will unravel mysteries long hidden and complex that have threatened to tear apart a dynasty.


Author Notes

Karen Kelly has a BA in English from Vanderbilt University, and lives in Edina, Minnesota. She is also the author of Prospice . Her author website is www.karenkellybooks.com.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

This propulsive novel from Kelly (Prospice) pulls the reader in with a gripping multigenerational tale of two families led by strong women. In 1962, Joanna Collier and her family move to Bethlehem, Pa., to stay with her mother-in-law, Susannah, as Joanna's husband takes his place at the helm of the Collier family's steel business. On her first day in town, Joanna meets Doe Janssen, caretaker for the local graveyard, who warns her about the spirits and secrets living around them, and specifically the mystery surrounding a grave marked "Baby Hayes." In the small, gossip-filled town, Joanna soon learns there is more to the Collier family and her mother-in-law than she ever realized, including a past no one speaks about, which she discovers after finding the grave of Susannah's infant sister who died 40 years before. In sections set in 1918, Kelly explores the adolescent relationship between Susannah Parrish and Wyatt Collier, whose father began working for Susannah's father's steel mill. As Joanna investigates the history of the Collier family, she begins to connect the mystery of Baby Hayes to long-buried family secrets. Prying into the power and family dynamics of the dynastic American industrialist family, Kelly's evocative, startling story will appeal to readers who enjoy family sagas. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Booklist Review

Kelly's debut starts slowly but eventually gathers steam as it dives into the dark secrets of two prestigious Pennsylvania families. In 1962, Joanna Collier moves with her husband, Frank, to Bethlehem, PA, home of the Collier family's steel company, where they share the rambling family estate with Frank's widowed mother, Susannah, and grandmother, Hedy. Joanna, feeling isolated and distant from her busy husband, strikes up a friendship with a local man that creates tension in her marriage and in her relationship with her mother-in-law. In alternating chapters set in the 1920s, the story of Susannah Parrish's complicated romantic entanglement with the two Collier brothers is slowly revealed, complete with wrenching tragedy and devastating secrets. The two timelines work well together, though Joanna's marital woes lack the emotional weight of Susannah's tragic romance, and readers are unlikely to be surprised by the novel's late-breaking reveals. Nevertheless, those patient enough to sort out the web of family connections in the opening chapters will find that a satisfying, if too-easily resolved, read awaits them.--Martha Waters Copyright 2019 Booklist