Sunday Brennan fled her life in New York fiver years ago, but when she’s in a DUI accident, her brother Denny convinces her to come home, at least for a while. No one knows why she left so suddenly, including leaving a fiance behind. A man who is now her brothers business partner. What happened to Sunday?
In this book, each chapter moves to a different character in the family, as Sunday comes home and their lives are all disrupted. Each character is very appealing and fully fleshed out, which is great. You want to know all about them and try to guess who they are, but the clues to their character are some times a misdirect, which is so delicious. Though not all of them are likable, none of them are boring and they all feel relatable and quite real.
Each person in the Brennan family, from the father to the four siblings, their spouses and Sunday’s ex-fiance, all seem to have a secret. In some cases, this is from themselves, like the fact that Kale thinks he’s over Sunday, but may still have some feelings for her. A lot of the time, it’s something that they’re afraid to tell because they feel ashamed. Like why Sunday really left. The Brennans are Irish Catholic and the book explores the way that guilt and shame play a huge role in their family system, and how toxic that can be. The book also explores the way that family roles can play into this, like Denny being the Golden Child of the family finds it hard to admit that he’s not coping or feels like he’s carrying the family. It makes for a more nuanced read than I at first thought this book would be.
What I really liked about it though was just that it was really intriguing. There was plenty of drama, though it’s not in soap territory and it’s not overly emotional, which is great. But the threads of all the different stories and the little clues to what people’s secrets are kept me turning pages. For me, it was a fairly fast read, not overly light, and it was almost like a little mystery as each little clue drops. I also liked that because we know something, there’s all this tension as other characters make their life decisions not knowing the other ones secrets. You wonder if it will all come crashing down, like a train wreck, and can they all be honest and start to work together and be a family? It’s an entertaining read. This one was sent to me for review, and I think based on the cover, I would probably not have bought this. It seems like it would be a bit twee, a bit emotional drama, kitchen sink… But it was quite different than I thought and I’m glad that I got the chance to read it.
Read It If: you love family secrets and drama but you don’t like anything too light. An entertaining and intriguing read about dysfunctional family and coming home.
Thank you Celadon for the ARC of this book for review. All thoughts are my own honest opinions.
We Are The Brennans is out today.