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We Are the Brennans

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When twenty-nine-year-old Sunday Brennan wakes up in a Los Angeles hospital, bruised and battered after a drunk driving accident she caused, she swallows her pride and goes home to her family in New York. But it's not easy. She deserted them all—and her high school sweetheart—five years before with little explanation, and they've got questions. Sunday is determined to rebu When twenty-nine-year-old Sunday Brennan wakes up in a Los Angeles hospital, bruised and battered after a drunk driving accident she caused, she swallows her pride and goes home to her family in New York. But it's not easy. She deserted them all—and her high school sweetheart—five years before with little explanation, and they've got questions. Sunday is determined to rebuild her life back on the east coast, even if it does mean tiptoeing around resentful brothers and an ex-fiancé. The longer she stays, however, the more she realizes they need her just as much as she needs them. When a dangerous man from her past brings her family's pub business to the brink of financial ruin, the only way to protect them is to upend all their secrets—secrets that have damaged the family for generations and will threaten everything they know about their lives. In the aftermath, the Brennan family is forced to confront painful mistakes—and ultimately find a way forward, together. In the vein of Mary Beth Keane's Ask Again, Yes and Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney's The Nest, Tracey Lange's We Are the Brennans explores the staying power of shame—and the redemptive power of love—in an Irish Catholic family torn apart by secrets.


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When twenty-nine-year-old Sunday Brennan wakes up in a Los Angeles hospital, bruised and battered after a drunk driving accident she caused, she swallows her pride and goes home to her family in New York. But it's not easy. She deserted them all—and her high school sweetheart—five years before with little explanation, and they've got questions. Sunday is determined to rebu When twenty-nine-year-old Sunday Brennan wakes up in a Los Angeles hospital, bruised and battered after a drunk driving accident she caused, she swallows her pride and goes home to her family in New York. But it's not easy. She deserted them all—and her high school sweetheart—five years before with little explanation, and they've got questions. Sunday is determined to rebuild her life back on the east coast, even if it does mean tiptoeing around resentful brothers and an ex-fiancé. The longer she stays, however, the more she realizes they need her just as much as she needs them. When a dangerous man from her past brings her family's pub business to the brink of financial ruin, the only way to protect them is to upend all their secrets—secrets that have damaged the family for generations and will threaten everything they know about their lives. In the aftermath, the Brennan family is forced to confront painful mistakes—and ultimately find a way forward, together. In the vein of Mary Beth Keane's Ask Again, Yes and Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney's The Nest, Tracey Lange's We Are the Brennans explores the staying power of shame—and the redemptive power of love—in an Irish Catholic family torn apart by secrets.

30 review for We Are the Brennans

  1. 5 out of 5

    MarilynW

    We Are the Brennans by Tracey Lange Normally I would have been rolling my eyes at the decisions made by these flawed people. I can take only so much bad decision making, especially when the bad decisions can be or could have been minimized by the people talking to each other, just asking questions and getting the other person to answer and by not taking advice by the last person qualified to give it. But the way this story was written, I just loved it and the people in it. This is a flawed family We Are the Brennans by Tracey Lange Normally I would have been rolling my eyes at the decisions made by these flawed people. I can take only so much bad decision making, especially when the bad decisions can be or could have been minimized by the people talking to each other, just asking questions and getting the other person to answer and by not taking advice by the last person qualified to give it. But the way this story was written, I just loved it and the people in it. This is a flawed family, the flaws started with the parents, and we see some of the grown children continuing  dysfunctional ways that are going to cause this family to implode.  Twenty nine year old Sunday abandoned her fiancé, father, and brothers five years ago, to pursue her writing career in CA. In reality, she barely had anything published and is working as a waitress, living in a one room apartment, when she gets drunk and wrecks her car and body. Sunday hadn't really been running towards something but instead was running away from something when she left NY. Her oldest brother Denny, in the midst of disastrous decisions he's made that will ruin their family, really can't afford to leave NY to get his sister but he's her only emergency contact. Denny brings Sunday back to the family home and business, a home and business in which her now married ex-fiancé plays a very big part.   The story is broken up into chapters, each narrated a different character. The chapters move so smoothly from one narrator to the other that the story just flowed. Rather than grumping about the bad decisions that are made, either actively or by not acting when acting would have been the only right decision, I couldn't help wanting this family to get find a way to get through to each other. They love each other but it seems that their love sometimes leads them to distance themselves physically and emotionally from the very person/people they care about the most.  I don't want to say more because I think this story is best experienced through the thoughts and words of the characters. I would love another book about them because I hated to leave the Brennans behind, when I finished this book. This story is about secrets and how secrets can destroy a family. The truth is always going to be better than anything else we can imagine.  Publication: August 3rd 2021 Thank you to Celadon Books for the print copy of this ARC. 

  2. 4 out of 5

    Yun

    Wow, just when you think your family is messed up, here come the Brennans. Sunday Brennan has been living in Los Angeles for the last five years after running away from her family and her high school sweetheart. She's keeping secrets that will surely tear them apart, but she's not the only one with skeletons in the closet. When an accident forces her home, and the family comes together after so many years, she and everyone will have no choice but to finally confront all that has been unsaid. I was Wow, just when you think your family is messed up, here come the Brennans. Sunday Brennan has been living in Los Angeles for the last five years after running away from her family and her high school sweetheart. She's keeping secrets that will surely tear them apart, but she's not the only one with skeletons in the closet. When an accident forces her home, and the family comes together after so many years, she and everyone will have no choice but to finally confront all that has been unsaid. I was a little unsure going into this because do I really enjoy reading about drama among family members? But I needn't have worried at all. This story was compelling from the very first page. Tracey Lange really made these characters and their world come alive, and I was immediately pulled in. Normally, conflict that comes solely from things unsaid isn't my favorite because it can all be quickly cleared up by just speaking the truth. And while that is the case here, the nuanced characters and their difficult decisions convinced me that the secrets are valid and they did what they thought was the best given the circumstances. As we wind our way through the narrative, there were so many unexpected twists and turns that surprised me and kept me interested in this dysfunctional family and all the ways they've messed up. I found the whole thing to be riveting. This is such a phenomenal debut from Tracey Lange. She has this way with building up a remarkable story and fleshing out interesting characters and dynamics to support it. I can't wait to read more from her. My heartfelt thanks for the advance copy that was provided for my honest and unbiased review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    Happy pub day to one of my favorite fictions and the story of most adorable crazy/ dysfunctional family of the year !🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀 Oh my…oh my… one more time: OH MY… I think I can simply say I loved it! I loved the complex, batshit crazy, deliciously dysfunctional Brennan family so much! They are so natural, so real, they have incredible resemblances with your own family! At least I saw those resemblances I liked how it made me feel: yes, I’m not the only one coming from not so normal family! ( I think n Happy pub day to one of my favorite fictions and the story of most adorable crazy/ dysfunctional family of the year !🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀 Oh my…oh my… one more time: OH MY… I think I can simply say I loved it! I loved the complex, batshit crazy, deliciously dysfunctional Brennan family so much! They are so natural, so real, they have incredible resemblances with your own family! At least I saw those resemblances I liked how it made me feel: yes, I’m not the only one coming from not so normal family! ( I think nobody has normal family but some of them are better to disguise or pretend! ) Anyways, falling at first chapter kind of story starts with the introduction of train wreck Sunday Brennan, 29 years old, who finds herself in deep trouble by opening her eyes at the hospital side, bruised, aching, to be a felony of DUI charges! And surprise: who is waiting for her wake up at her bedside? Her brother Denny is always the protector, worried about her well being. And she is not looking so good with her broken arm, bruises on her head! But she mostly suffers from broken pride! Only way is out is connecting with her family her tails between her legs, spending time with them when she’s in this condition. She has to return back to her family house where she suddenly left 5 years ago without giving any reason. Her family owns an Irish Pub struggling with deep financial problems. She hasn’t only left her family, her pissed off Irish brothers, she also left her high school sweetheart Kale( I know I asked myself is he organic and fits great with Parmesan and I stopped myself making the worst kind of jokes! So ignore my words! I already hit my hand so hard for typing this !) who is married with another woman right now! So you may guess: decision of returning back to her native town is one of the toughest decisions for her! We can observe the events through the eyes of different characters including brothers Denny and Jackie, Shaun, father Mickey, sweetheart Kale ( even Kale’s wife Vivienne has important part in this story!) Jackie is talented artist, working at the pub, mixed feelings about his life decisions as Shaun deals with his own social awkwardness. Kale and Denny plans to open a new pub but a burst pipe caused to ruin the entire foundation and that’s not the only financial obstacle they have to deal with. Denny keeps so many secrets from them. Each chapter ends with a conversation and the very next chapter opens up another narrator’s perspective was a unique way to tell the story! Overall: I loved this family so much! Each of the characters were portrayed amazingly. I couldn’t decide which one was my favorite! This is one of the best fictions I’ve read this year! I’m giving my well earned highly deserved, Irish, very dysfunctional, surprising, impeccably developed five stars ! Special thanks to NetGalley and Celadon Books for sharing this freaking amazing digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.

  4. 5 out of 5

    jessica

    im super picky when it comes to family dramas but, the more i think about this one, the more impressed i am with it. usually, with 5 star ratings, i know right away. its easily to tell when a book is going to be so outstanding that you want to reread it immediately after you finish. but this wasnt the case for the story of the brennans. it was a quiet feeling that gathered long after i closed the book. as i made a mental list of the things i liked, i realised that there was nothing i didnt like. im super picky when it comes to family dramas but, the more i think about this one, the more impressed i am with it. usually, with 5 star ratings, i know right away. its easily to tell when a book is going to be so outstanding that you want to reread it immediately after you finish. but this wasnt the case for the story of the brennans. it was a quiet feeling that gathered long after i closed the book. as i made a mental list of the things i liked, i realised that there was nothing i didnt like. the reason i am so picky with these kinds of novels is because family dramas tend to not really have a plot, so i need to be attached to the characters in order to care about them and the book. and i had no problem with that. each of the brennan siblings bring something different to the story and mesh together in really great way. and for being such a short book, i love how full it feels. it doesnt feel lacking or rushed. it feels very complete. this is a great novel about how even the most complicated of families can support and forgive each other. ↠ 5 stars

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jayme

    4.5 ⭐️ After 29 year old Sunday Brennan wakes up in a Los Angeles hospital following the crash of her car into a barricade she is forced to return home to her family in NY. She needs them, but until she returns home, she doesn’t realize that they need her too, with the family’s Irish Pub ☘️ on the brink of Financial ruin. But, going back won’t be easy. She fled five years ago, quickly and without explanation, leaving behind not only them, but her fiancé, and high school sweetheart-Kale. They all ha 4.5 ⭐️ After 29 year old Sunday Brennan wakes up in a Los Angeles hospital following the crash of her car into a barricade she is forced to return home to her family in NY. She needs them, but until she returns home, she doesn’t realize that they need her too, with the family’s Irish Pub ☘️ on the brink of Financial ruin. But, going back won’t be easy. She fled five years ago, quickly and without explanation, leaving behind not only them, but her fiancé, and high school sweetheart-Kale. They all have questions-BUT-is she ready to give them answers? The story unfolds through the eyes of almost every character involved: Sunday-her brothers Denny and Jackie-her father, Mickey, and even Kale....and his WIFE...Vivienne. The transitions from character to character were creative and seamless. Each chapter ends with a conversation, and the conversation is picked up in the following chapter by a different POV. Although, when I finally found out why Sunday left everyone behind, I thought it was an overreaction to the event that precipitated it, I was rooting for the family to pull together and save the Pub! I savored this book. It’s been awhile since I have spent time with characters that I will miss-but I will miss the Brennans! This was a completely engaging DEBUT by author, Tracey Lange, and I am so happy that I received a gifted copy by mail from Celadon…It was truly my pleasure to offer a candid review! NOW AVAILABLE! Don’t miss it!!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Susan's Reviews

    Quite the interesting story: full of melodrama, deeply flawed characters, misunderstandings, betrayals and bad, bad decisions. For a debut novel, this was pretty decent. The writing was good, as was characterization - for the most part. There were so many colourful characters springing at you from every corner of the Brennan mansion. I didn't know what to make of the "pseudo-adopted" son, Kale Collins (who was so aptly named!) His indecisive nature often reminded me of a limp vegetable. He drove Quite the interesting story: full of melodrama, deeply flawed characters, misunderstandings, betrayals and bad, bad decisions. For a debut novel, this was pretty decent. The writing was good, as was characterization - for the most part. There were so many colourful characters springing at you from every corner of the Brennan mansion. I didn't know what to make of the "pseudo-adopted" son, Kale Collins (who was so aptly named!) His indecisive nature often reminded me of a limp vegetable. He drove me up a wall an down the other with his conciliatory, noncommittal ways. His was one of the weakest characters in the novel. The plot needed a bit more work: I had a hard time suspending my disbelief regarding the reasons that Sunday left for Los Angeles. That whole scenario felt stretched out of shape like sticky pizza dough. However, I did enjoy listening to this very tall tale. It often resembled those night-time soap operas that started coming back into vogue a few years ago. That drudge of a daughter, Sunday, who was caught up in the web of family secrets! The pining, separated lovers! The looming menace of bankruptcy! The father's shady past in Ireland. Toil and trouble, everywhere you turned! Did I think this was a masterpiece of great writing and original storytelling? Not quite. There was too much repetition and rehashing of the same events by the various narrators. All the retellings by each of the Brennans, Kale, and the guileful Vivienne had me sighing with frustration towards the end. "Are we really going back there - again?" I groaned at each rehash. I did enjoy listening to this audiobook, and I couldn't wait to find out what happened in the end. I was entertained and - for the most part, it fully engaged my interest. But towards the end, the author seemed to be churning her wheels in the sand and I wasn't sure which direction this story would go. I thought it was odd that the author gave the eldest brother, Denny, the task of predicting for the reader Sunday and Kale's fate - he had gotten his family into such dire financial straights with his poor judgment. Couldn't understand why he never confided in anyone - that was a stretch! I'm giving this one a 3.8 out of 5 stars because I enjoyed the family dynamic: how all the siblings pulled together to support and protect one another. Did Kale deserve to be part of that protected circle? I certainly wasn't impressed with him, but the majority of the Brennans and the author seemed to think he was, so I'm staying out of that one. That said, I was satisfied with the ending. I wanted Sunday to choose - for once - herself and her happiness, and if that wilted cabbage of a man is ultimately what her heart pines for, who am I to stand in the way of true love? My thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for an advanced copy of the audiobook of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Absolutely wonderful!!!!!!! It’s a novel to savor…. ha, if possible, as I found it hard to put down. LOVE LOVED LOVED it!!!!! I’ll return to a review when I can. Surprise guests just showed up - will stay the night - Until I do …. I’ll leave a little excerpt to think about: “It wasn’t her grief he couldn’t take, it was the fact that he couldn’t grieve with her”. Terrific family novel!!!! I’ll be back when I can. RETURNING….to share a little more…..BUT….NO SPOILERS….. Meet the family….(a few tidbits ab Absolutely wonderful!!!!!!! It’s a novel to savor…. ha, if possible, as I found it hard to put down. LOVE LOVED LOVED it!!!!! I’ll return to a review when I can. Surprise guests just showed up - will stay the night - Until I do …. I’ll leave a little excerpt to think about: “It wasn’t her grief he couldn’t take, it was the fact that he couldn’t grieve with her”. Terrific family novel!!!! I’ll be back when I can. RETURNING….to share a little more…..BUT….NO SPOILERS….. Meet the family….(a few tidbits about each of them) *Sunday Brennan*…. ……twenty nine years old, had always been the voice of reason. There was a maturity and selflessness about her character. The only female sibling. She had good grades in school, ran cross country, worked on the high school newspaper, wrote stories….and generally things came easy for her. *Denny Brennan*…. …..oldest son, (who usually could do no wrong), was Sunday’s protector. At times, he could be quite controlling, yet there was no denying that everyone seemed to rely on him. Presently, Denny was in a Financial jam. Denny was married to Theresa. They had a six year old daughter, Molly. *Jackie Brennan*… ……[Sunday’s twin], was the executor of Sunday’s secret. …they had a special twin-bond. He was an artist (painted)…Sunday wrote stories. When the two were together talking about books and art…nobody could get in their way. *Shaun Brennan*…. ……was the youngest brother. He has always been the family barometer…..kind, helpful, wanted to please, and very lovable. He had learning developmental challenges and was intellectually slower than normal. *Kale Collins*…. ……was Denny’s business partner. He and Denny were in the middle of opening up their 2nd pub in Mamaroneck. Their first location was a local pub in West Manor (which won best local pub in Westchester for the past two year). Kale grew up with the Brennan family …. Denny was his best friend ….. Sunday was the love of life. *Maura Brennen* was Mom. Sunday was her prime caretaker when she was sick. *Micky Brennan* was Dad. For thirty years he worked in construction. He was a successful businessman—he had his hands in everything related to construction in his area….contract biding, Union negotiations, inspection approvals, etc. His earnings provided their family a beautiful home, nice clothes, extra cars in the driveway. Micky’s health was fragile. He had recovered from a heart attack and was showing early signs of dementia. *Vivienne*….. ……she was married to Kale. Physically she was model beautiful. They had a three year old son, Luke. When Kale married Vivienne, Sunday wasn’t sure if it was because he got sucked in by the superficial, or because he sought out someone so different from her. Other characters… …..Auntie Angie, Auntie Clare, Cousin Grail, Paul the bartender, Billy Wash > son of Frank and Lynn Wash (a local nearby family), Sharon Martin, (town gossip), Michael Eaton (a lawyer)…… So….what about “The Brennan’s”?…. They lived in New York. Micky and Maura came from Ireland. They were a tightknit Irish family. However, family bonds were tested as the fractious characters were fleshed out one by one. We get a vivid exploration of psychological family warfare….. It’s intimate….and DAMN GOOD!!!! There were a couple of times I wanted to cry…. Shame, and secrets were shattering love-relationships…… I found it incredibly sad that when a tragedy happened…asking a loved one for help, at a crucial time…..then getting turned away — well….. it has got to be one of the most heartbreaking devastations a person experiences. And… not asking for help when needed is also sad as can be. Tracey Lange, who comes from a large Irish family, wrote a standout - inimitable and prolific contemporary family novel. She captures the essence of love, loss, shame, …both past, present, and everlasting. Thank you Tracey….I enjoyed this book so very much. I can’t wait to read your next novel. Thank you Netgalley for the pleasure it was to read this novel….. …publish date will be in August. A novel not to miss. Thank you Tracey Lange!!! A special thanks to Celadon Books (especially after being such a turd expressing how overwhelmed I felt just being ‘asked’ to receive a gifted book), I had said no. It was a day I wanted to toss in the towel and bolt from everything….dealing with my own physical chronic pain.. But, my goodness…I’d sure take a physical copy of this book now. I have already told several of my local friends - they must read it. Some novels we just want to put in the hands of people we love. This is that book…..WONDERFUL!!!

  8. 5 out of 5

    JanB

    1.5 stars It’s been said that no two people read the same book and that’s certainly the case here. There are many positive reviews for this book, so do please check them out. I wrote a long rant but I deleted it and will just say this book was not for me. The characters and the plot were boring, stereotypical and predictable. The reason that one of the characters left for 5 years, cutting off all contact with her family and friends (including the supposedly love of her life), was so ridiculous i 1.5 stars It’s been said that no two people read the same book and that’s certainly the case here. There are many positive reviews for this book, so do please check them out. I wrote a long rant but I deleted it and will just say this book was not for me. The characters and the plot were boring, stereotypical and predictable. The reason that one of the characters left for 5 years, cutting off all contact with her family and friends (including the supposedly love of her life), was so ridiculous it made me want to throw the book across the room. The subtle victim shaming did nothing to endear this story to me. The narrator of the audio was excellent. * I received a print copy of the book from the publisher as well as the audio from NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dorie - Cats&Books :)

    ****HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY**** Reading this novel I can tell that the author, coming from a large Irish family herself, knows the ins and outs of family dynamics. This was a very enjoyable read that touched upon the complexities of family life, including secrets, trust, love, discovering that even your parents are not perfect, while still holding on to the strong family bonds formed as they were growing up. Sunday Brennan wakes up in an LA hospital after having hit a median in the highway while dr ****HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY**** Reading this novel I can tell that the author, coming from a large Irish family herself, knows the ins and outs of family dynamics. This was a very enjoyable read that touched upon the complexities of family life, including secrets, trust, love, discovering that even your parents are not perfect, while still holding on to the strong family bonds formed as they were growing up. Sunday Brennan wakes up in an LA hospital after having hit a median in the highway while driving while intoxicated. She recalls only a bit of the accident and is already feeling the shame when she finds her older brother Denny at her bedside. After seeing Sunday’s condition, a broken arm, cuts and bruises on her head and other places, Denny knows that he has to persuade his sister to come home. She had fled New York 5 years previously with little in the way of explanation to her family and her long time boyfriend Kale. When she arrives home she is welcomed with open arms. Denny and Kale are about ready to open a second pub. Kale has been part of the family since he was young and struggling in a one parent household with a father that was always intoxicated. A close friend of Denny, he is considered part of the family. Financing the new pub has been tough and Denny is the one trying to keep everything going as planned. Things have gotten out of control since a burst pipe ruined part of the foundation. Denny is constantly reassuring everyone that things will be fine, but they don’t know all of the secrets that he is hiding. Secrets that could ruin not only their business but their family as well!! In the 5 years that she has been gone Kale has married Viv and they have a son, Luke. On seeing Sunday, all of Kale’s feelings for her begin to resurface, jeopardizing the family life that he has created. He never knew the reason why Sunny left, no one did!! There are other siblings including Jackie, a low key kind of guy. He works at the pub and is a very talented artist still struggling to find his way. Shaun is the youngest, he has some intellectual disabilities, but has a job that he loves. He is ecstatic to see his sister home. The novel is told in the voices of the family members. This is a great way for the reader to know what they are thinking and feeling and not just what they are doing. Throughout the course of the novel we will learn many of the things that the siblings and parents have kept from each other. This only seems to strengthen them as they fight to keep the pubs and their family intact!! This is a strong debut novel that rang true for me. I will definitely be looking for more from this talented author. I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher, Celadon, through Edelweiss.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michael David

    Sunday Brennan wakes up in an L.A. hospital, bruised and unrecognisable, after getting into an accident while driving drunk. With no family close by, her brother, Denny, flies from NY to be by her side. Denny can’t believe Sunday drove while intoxicated, as that is not aligned with the Sunday he knows. But he doesn’t really know her anymore. 5 years earlier, Sunday left NY out of the blue, and has been estranged from her family ever since. Denny convinces her to come back to New York and help out Sunday Brennan wakes up in an L.A. hospital, bruised and unrecognisable, after getting into an accident while driving drunk. With no family close by, her brother, Denny, flies from NY to be by her side. Denny can’t believe Sunday drove while intoxicated, as that is not aligned with the Sunday he knows. But he doesn’t really know her anymore. 5 years earlier, Sunday left NY out of the blue, and has been estranged from her family ever since. Denny convinces her to come back to New York and help out at the family pub, Brennans. The family has been through some tough times, and needs all the help they can get. Sunday doesn’t realize this, but going back home may be the exact thing she needs to face her demons, be there for her family, and hopefully help save the family business. I really enjoyed getting to know this close-knit Irish family. I came to care about all of them, thanks to author Tracey Lange and her vivid and authentic writing. It was easy to get lost in the pages as secrets came to light. There’s tension, some twists, sadness, and love, and I couldn’t put this family saga down. The events leading up to the ending didn’t quite pack the emotional punch I was expecting, and the ending itself left a bit to be desired. Overall, it’s a wonderful and touching story, and now I can see why everyone is falling in love with this family. Now available from Celadon Books. Review also posted at: https://bonkersforthebooks.wordpress.com

  11. 5 out of 5

    Regina

    I’ve been reading a lot of annoying novels lately about backstabbing friends who can’t stand each other and incessantly gossip and scheme and betray one another, and the whole time I’m thinking, “Um, then don’t be friends.” But families, amiright?! I love me a good family melodrama, most likely because the really great ones get to the heart of the human condition. Trying to work through relationships and feelings of self worth and belonging amongst those we didn’t choose but somehow still manage I’ve been reading a lot of annoying novels lately about backstabbing friends who can’t stand each other and incessantly gossip and scheme and betray one another, and the whole time I’m thinking, “Um, then don’t be friends.” But families, amiright?! I love me a good family melodrama, most likely because the really great ones get to the heart of the human condition. Trying to work through relationships and feelings of self worth and belonging amongst those we didn’t choose but somehow still manage to know us better than we know ourselves - pure gold. That’s certainly the case with the cast of characters in Tracey Lange’s debut novel about a family of adult Irish Catholic siblings dealing with the legacy of their own mistakes as well as those of their parents. The style of the storytelling is nearly flawless, as each chapter transitions from one character to another. There’s a hint of mystery to the tale, which also keeps the reader engaged enough to never want to put the book down. (Or in my case, the audiobook, which is narrated by Barrie Kreinik. She nails the Irish accents when required and adds inflections that feel gender appropriate for all the characters.) I will absolutely been adding Lange’s future novels to my Must Read list. In the meantime, I highly recommend you add We Are The Brennans to yours. My thanks to the author and Macmillan Audio for the gifted advance listeners copy to review via NetGalley. We Are The Brennans is now available! Blog: https://www.confettibookshelf.com/

  12. 4 out of 5

    Val ⚓️ Shameless Handmaiden ⚓️

    4 Stars I love family dramas, especially ones involving siblings and secrets, so I was drawn to this when I saw it as a Book of the Month offering. Add in a little childhood romance drama? Sold. I enjoyed this book. Nothing about it was all that original or groundbreaking. It didn’t have any twists you couldn’t see coming from a mile away. Still, I love reading about familial characters that, while sometimes at odds, still have tight bonds. A great way to pass the afternoon.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lisa of Troy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Sunday, the only daughter in a large family, has been out living on her own in California, but that abruptly comes to an end when she gets into a car accident. Returning home, Sunday finds herself in the middle of a family in turmoil. Her father facing memory issues, her little brother, Shane, acting out, and Denny, who is struggling to keep afloat his family and family business. Sunday also has some unfinished business with her ex, Kale, which is made more complicated now that he has a wife and Sunday, the only daughter in a large family, has been out living on her own in California, but that abruptly comes to an end when she gets into a car accident. Returning home, Sunday finds herself in the middle of a family in turmoil. Her father facing memory issues, her little brother, Shane, acting out, and Denny, who is struggling to keep afloat his family and family business. Sunday also has some unfinished business with her ex, Kale, which is made more complicated now that he has a wife and son. This book was boring. The foreshadowing was so extremely heavy, and it took forever to unveil the "surprise." The underlying plot itself, the long-lost love trope, can be very interesting, but it wasn't very well thought out. I just could not relate. How could Sunday just leave Kale and not say a word about what she was going through if they have such an incredible bond? Maybe Sunday should have left because marriage or any long-term relationship has set-backs or disagreements. Let me be crystal clear about one thing: If a woman is drinking, she can say no. She has that right. There is no excuse for victim shaming. This book really perpetuates that myth. It doesn't matter if you drink 10 drinks. It does not give someone else the right to assault you. This book had no steam and was PG. The author should read The Turnout and The Hunting Wives. There were also so many characters in this book. I wasn't even sure who Clare and Grail were until the end. Finally, the book was so predictable, the classic HEA. The author did not push the envelope. Overall, this book is like a bad Lifetime movie. Stick a fork in me. I'm done.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    I was immediately drawn into this family saga. Sunday Brennan returns home to her family after a drunk driving accident in LA. She wasn’t living the life she’d been telling people as her brother discovers when he is called about the accident. But she’s not the only one keeping secrets. Told from multiple perspectives, I was curious about each one of the family members, along with Denny’s business partner, Sunday’s ex-fiancé. They all just seemed decent human beings making bad decisions. As an on I was immediately drawn into this family saga. Sunday Brennan returns home to her family after a drunk driving accident in LA. She wasn’t living the life she’d been telling people as her brother discovers when he is called about the accident. But she’s not the only one keeping secrets. Told from multiple perspectives, I was curious about each one of the family members, along with Denny’s business partner, Sunday’s ex-fiancé. They all just seemed decent human beings making bad decisions. As an only child, I’ve always been intrigued by large family dynamics. Lange obviously gets them - who gets tasked with carrying the most responsibilities, who gets away with the most. But also, how they’ll rally around each other even when they’re furious. But it’s more than the characters here, there’s a terrific story as well. I love the whole lost love theme and how there are consequences no matter which way life turns out. I wasn’t surprised by the ending but it didn’t dampen my enjoyment one iota. I highly recommend this one. My thanks to NetGalley and Celadon Books for an advance copy of this book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Angela M

    3.5 stars I love reading about flawed families. Aren’t all of ours flawed in some way? However, I can’t say I loved this book like so many of my Goodreads friends, nor did I dislike it so much like some friends who dnf it. I couldn’t stop reading it. It was like watching a soap opera, where things get worse with each episode and they did in this novel as things got worse with every chapter as another secret is revealed. I have to admit I was sucked into the melodrama, and it felt like a guilty p 3.5 stars I love reading about flawed families. Aren’t all of ours flawed in some way? However, I can’t say I loved this book like so many of my Goodreads friends, nor did I dislike it so much like some friends who dnf it. I couldn’t stop reading it. It was like watching a soap opera, where things get worse with each episode and they did in this novel as things got worse with every chapter as another secret is revealed. I have to admit I was sucked into the melodrama, and it felt like a guilty pleasure to keep reading. In alternating narratives we are made privy to the trials and tribulations of the Brennan family of New York. A drunk driving accident in California brings Sunday back home to her father, more than likely suffering from dementia, her three brothers, and ex fiancé who she left five years ago without an explanation. She’s not the only one with problems. Two of the brothers have issues of their own and of course, as mentioned above secrets all of which are slowly divulged in their individual narratives as the past sins and secrets creep into the present. I’m not going to go into the details here. You can tune in yourself if interested. I have to give it three+ stars because it definitely held my interest wanting to know what would happen to these characters, who grew on me. I received a copy of this book from Celadon Books/Macmillan through Edelweiss.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    I devoured this book! The story of an Irish Catholic family who live in a suburb of New York. Four adult children. Sunday, the only girl, 29 yrs old. Something happened to Sunday five years earlier and she left home suddenly leaving her high school sweetheart/fiancé,and the rest of her family behind to go to California. When this story begins, she has just had a terrible car accident and must return home to heal. Once back she has to face her ex who has since married, her brother’s business problem I devoured this book! The story of an Irish Catholic family who live in a suburb of New York. Four adult children. Sunday, the only girl, 29 yrs old. Something happened to Sunday five years earlier and she left home suddenly leaving her high school sweetheart/fiancé,and the rest of her family behind to go to California. When this story begins, she has just had a terrible car accident and must return home to heal. Once back she has to face her ex who has since married, her brother’s business problems with his pub, and secrets that demand answers. Quite an intense family drama with engaging characters! I enjoyed spending time with these people and each chapter is narrated by a different member of the family. Loved it! 4.5 rounded up I want to thank Celadon Books for the print copy of the ARC!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kaceey

    Family lives appear quite different when viewed from the outside looking in. The Brennan’s. A proud Irish American family who, through the toughest times, would always have each other’s backs. That’s just how it is. A horrible car accident leaves Sunday Brennan severely battered in the hospital. From the other side of the country, it’s her brother who rushes to her side to help pick up the pieces and bring her back home to the family. It’s what family does. Sunday does return, but the demons tha Family lives appear quite different when viewed from the outside looking in. The Brennan’s. A proud Irish American family who, through the toughest times, would always have each other’s backs. That’s just how it is. A horrible car accident leaves Sunday Brennan severely battered in the hospital. From the other side of the country, it’s her brother who rushes to her side to help pick up the pieces and bring her back home to the family. It’s what family does. Sunday does return, but the demons that chased her away are back and waiting to welcome her home. You must face the past in order to move forward. Told from multiple perspectives, each chapter flowed seamlessly into the next. I never had any issues figuring out who was narrating at that moment. A wonderfully written account of what family truly means. How you see yourself within that family, versus how those on the outside view you and yours. A quick read that kept my attention throughout. I was fond of all the characters and how they were portrayed. And most importantly, the strong, deep love within the family that continually shined through. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. A buddy read with Susanne Posted to: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend... Thank you to Celadon Books.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Fran

    **PUBLICATION DAY** Harboring a dark secret, Sunday Brennan fled to Los Angeles. Five years ago, she shocked her family and boyfriend when she disappeared from his life and that of her tightly knit Catholic family on Long Island. Why did she abandon those who loved her? In the middle of the night, older brother Denny received a call from LAPD stating that a drunk Sunday had hit a median flipping her car. Denny flew to L.A. to check on his hospitalized sister. He was able to convince her to return **PUBLICATION DAY** Harboring a dark secret, Sunday Brennan fled to Los Angeles. Five years ago, she shocked her family and boyfriend when she disappeared from his life and that of her tightly knit Catholic family on Long Island. Why did she abandon those who loved her? In the middle of the night, older brother Denny received a call from LAPD stating that a drunk Sunday had hit a median flipping her car. Denny flew to L.A. to check on his hospitalized sister. He was able to convince her to return to Long Island, short term, to convalesce in her childhood home. So much had happened in her absence. Denny Brennan and his almost brother Kale Collins ran a pub in West Manor called Brennans. The pub's financials had changed from black to red. Denny's preoccupation with "fixing it alone" made him unable to share the burden with his business partner, Kale. His woes and unwillingness to be forthright created a communication gap in his marriage. His wife had temporarily moved out with their four year old daughter in tow. Maybe Sunday could unravel the financial mess while Denny searched for a new bookkeeper. By coming home, Sunday would have to try to reconnect with her family, face Kale, and revisit the happening at the Penny Whistle Pub. For five years, Jackie Brennan had kept her secret. He had promised to keep it buried. "Kale was practically a Brennan...and spent the bulk of his time in their house." Kale and Sunday, a couple for eight years, were destined for each other when Sunday abruptly left, no explanation given, and secured a job in California. "One way to keep Sunday from leaving again was to find out why she left in the first place." When Kale saw her, "The urge to reach out and touch her was so powerful he took a small step forward before catching himself...". He had married and now had a four year old son. "There was nothing...to say without veering into dangerous waters. All the safe small talk was used up. "Listen Kale, I know this awkward and I'm sorry for...For so many things." "None of those questions, nor the answers she might offer, mattered anymore." Denny and Kale had been like brothers for twenty-five years. "This subject [Sunday] had the potential to rattle their friendship if they didn't tread lightly." The location for a second Brennan's restaurant and pub had been Denny's idea. Denny was always sure he knew best. Instead, it signaled potential financial ruin. Delinquency notes...back payments were due on the mortgage at the new Mamaroneck, New York location. A hard loan was secured by using their family home as collateral. A water main leak might compromise the new pub's foundation...."a continuous money suck". Denny would meet with "Belfast Billy" a school acquaintance who had floated Denny a quick unconventional loan. Would Billy agree not to exercise his option of putting a lien on the original pub in West Manor? Secrets, no matter how well buried, have a way of resurfacing. Query-Will the Brennan's be able to weather the storm as a family unit or will the past tear them apart? Unspoken words, mistakes, misunderstandings and foolish choices will color the outcome as layers of secrets are peeled back. "We Are the Brennans" by Tracey Lange is first and foremost a debut literary novel about the unbreakable bonds of an Irish Catholic family. Stretched to the limits of understanding, they must somehow find the way back to each other by having a willingness to walk a mile in a sibling or lover's shoes. An excellent read. Thank you Celadon Books for the physical ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sheyla ✎

    The Brennan’s will stick out in my mind for a while. They might have looked like a perfect Irish family growing up but they have flaws like everyone else. Meet the Brennans: Sunday Brennan: She left town five years ago. She moved to LA without a major explanation. No one understood her leaving, particularly her boyfriend Kale who loved her, and she had loved him back. Sunday has a secret and the secret is consuming her. She is barely making it in LA. After getting upset and drinking too much, she The Brennan’s will stick out in my mind for a while. They might have looked like a perfect Irish family growing up but they have flaws like everyone else. Meet the Brennans: Sunday Brennan: She left town five years ago. She moved to LA without a major explanation. No one understood her leaving, particularly her boyfriend Kale who loved her, and she had loved him back. Sunday has a secret and the secret is consuming her. She is barely making it in LA. After getting upset and drinking too much, she is involved in an accident and ends up in the hospital. Denny: He is the big brother. The one people relied on but he has made a mess of his life. He’s about to lose his business. He’s separated from his wife Theresa and only sees his child Molly a few hours a day. He has lied to his business partner and he is not sure how to fix any of it. Jackie: The artist. The son who had a run-in with the law. He can't help his brother with the Pub without breaking his parole but he will be there in other ways as the story unfolds. Shane: the gentle giant with a learning disability and who is protected by all his siblings in one way or the other. Mickey: Their father who is experiencing short-term memory issues with secrets of his own. He was a good provider and a good father. It was easy to feel invested with the Brennans. They had much to overcome and find a way back to being a family again. A chance for the secrets to come out instead of further destroying their happiness. As a debut novel, I thought this one was outstanding. Like I mentioned earlier, I won't easily forget the Brennans just like I won't forget the Pines. Cliffhanger: No 4/5 Fangs A complimentary copy was provided by Celadon Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. MrsLeif's Two Fangs About It | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews

    2.5 stars. Overhyped and underwhelming. This novel follows the Brennan family. Four adult siblings and their aging father. Sunday Brennan, the only sister, moves back to the family home after being away for five years. Tension builds and emotions collide when feelings from the past arise and family secrets are revealed. This book has a lot of hype which is what attracted me to it in the first place. It has been compared to Ask Again, Yes which I loved. Unfortunately, I didn’t find this nearly as i 2.5 stars. Overhyped and underwhelming. This novel follows the Brennan family. Four adult siblings and their aging father. Sunday Brennan, the only sister, moves back to the family home after being away for five years. Tension builds and emotions collide when feelings from the past arise and family secrets are revealed. This book has a lot of hype which is what attracted me to it in the first place. It has been compared to Ask Again, Yes which I loved. Unfortunately, I didn’t find this nearly as intriguing or well written. This novel wasn’t terrible for me, but it was borderline boring. It is an example of what I like to call “averagely enjoyable.” I kept waiting for something (anything!) to happen that would make me feel invested and understand the hype. I didn’t connect with (or like) any of the characters. Much of the plot was predictable and overdone. I enjoyed how the chapters flowed - each chapter switching characters and continuing on with the same dialogue from another’s perspective. Overall, this was just an “ok” read for me that I wouldn’t recommend. I believe all the hype set my expectations way too high for what this delivered. However, please note that I am the outlier so please read the many raving reviews before making your decision on this one.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    “We Are the Brennans” is literary domestic fiction at it’s finest. This is author Tracey Lange’s debut novel, and selfishly, I hope she writes more of the same quality fiction. The Bennans are a close-knit Irish family, three boys, one girl, and a larger-than-life father. The family is a noted family of their sleepy New York commuter town; the family was financially well-off. The boys were athletes, handsome and hard working. The daughter, Sunday, was devoted to caring for her family when her mot “We Are the Brennans” is literary domestic fiction at it’s finest. This is author Tracey Lange’s debut novel, and selfishly, I hope she writes more of the same quality fiction. The Bennans are a close-knit Irish family, three boys, one girl, and a larger-than-life father. The family is a noted family of their sleepy New York commuter town; the family was financially well-off. The boys were athletes, handsome and hard working. The daughter, Sunday, was devoted to caring for her family when her mother became frail. In other words, the Brennans were the envy of their town. The story opens with Sunday, out of character, getting herself in a car wreck in Los Angeles while driving under the influence. The LA police call the older brother, Denny, to come to the hospital. It is here that the reader gets an idea that there are some family secrets harboring in the Brennan lore. It is a mystery as to why Sunday is in LA instead of NY. Once Sunday is home, she learns of Denny’s marital problems. Denny asks Sunday to help with the bookkeeping of his pubs. Something is further awry in Denny’s pub business. But the story is really about the family and their interactions and relationships. This is a character driven story, told in third person from the different perspectives. We learn the backstory of the Brennan clan, including why Sunday left unexpectedly for Los Angeles. We learn of Papa Brennan’s life while his children were growing up. We learn of Mama Brennan and understand more of her marriage. As the reader learns of the Brennans, so do the Brennans. As with most families, there are layers of resentments, guilt, shame, and above all: love. There is also a time in most families, when the adult children “see” their parents as people, not as perfect deities. This is a story of a family, finally seeing itself, warts and all. Lange shows the ambiguity of “good” in life. She shows how a tight family circles the wagons when under pressure, after learning unflattering actions. In even moral ambiguity, the Brennans do their best.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    Despite the fact that all these characters made bad decisions, I really liked this book. Except for one thing. And that one thing is a spoiler, so you've been warned. (view spoiler)[Why in the world would Sunday up and move, leaving everyone and everything she knew behind, on the basis of what happened to her without telling anyone why for YEARS? I was honestly expecting something worse to have happened to her, and while what did happen was traumatic, it wasn't so traumatic that it made sense th Despite the fact that all these characters made bad decisions, I really liked this book. Except for one thing. And that one thing is a spoiler, so you've been warned. (view spoiler)[Why in the world would Sunday up and move, leaving everyone and everything she knew behind, on the basis of what happened to her without telling anyone why for YEARS? I was honestly expecting something worse to have happened to her, and while what did happen was traumatic, it wasn't so traumatic that it made sense that weeks or months later she still wouldn't have talked to someone about it. (hide spoiler)] Other than that, I liked this book almost because of all their inherent character flaws. They felt like a real family with real problems, even if most of them were of their own making. This reads a bit like a character study style book, with only the ending really veering into actual plot movement. So if you dislike that kind of thing, you might not enjoy this one as much. But it's definitely right up my alley :)

  23. 4 out of 5

    Larry H

    4.5 stars, rounded up. In Tracey Lange's upcoming debut novel, We Are the Brennans , a secret threatens to tear a family apart, even five years later. When Sunday Brennan wakes up in an Los Angeles hospital after a drunk-driving accident, she’s both surprised and unsurprised to find her older brother Denny at her bedside. He convinces her to come back with him to the Long Island town—and the house—where she grew up. Sunday left suddenly for Los Angeles five years ago without any explanation to a 4.5 stars, rounded up. In Tracey Lange's upcoming debut novel, We Are the Brennans , a secret threatens to tear a family apart, even five years later. When Sunday Brennan wakes up in an Los Angeles hospital after a drunk-driving accident, she’s both surprised and unsurprised to find her older brother Denny at her bedside. He convinces her to come back with him to the Long Island town—and the house—where she grew up. Sunday left suddenly for Los Angeles five years ago without any explanation to anyone—not her family or her long-time boyfriend—so her return stirs up a lot of questions and emotions. And as she settles back into her family, she realizes that they’re struggling just as badly as she has been all these years, and it's not too long before she falls into the all-too-familiar role of caretaker. But she really doesn't seem to mind. When she discovers that some financial decisions Denny has made threaten the survival of the family’s bar business and the family home, Sunday knows her help is needed more than ever. And that help means revealing the secret that sent her running away five years ago—but revealing the truth will have real ramifications, too. I don’t know what it is about family drama and secrets that draws me in, but it’s definitely a genre that appeals to me. We Are the Brennans was such a compelling, engaging story, and I was really hooked on these characters. It's hard to believe this is a debut novel! Celadon Books provided me with a complimentary advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making it available! We Are the Brennans publishes 8/3. Check out my list of the best books I read in 2020 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2021/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2020.html. See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    I loved this! I love a good family drama, and I was fully immersed in the Brennans’ story. Sunday Brennan wakes up in the hospital after a drunk driving accident she caused. She heads home to her family in New York, hoping for a fresh start. There’s baggage there, though. She left years ago and hasn’t kept in touch. Talk about a rocky homecoming, her brothers are not pleased to see her. The family has secrets of its own and a pub business that may be in jeopardy. This is where the drama builds for I loved this! I love a good family drama, and I was fully immersed in the Brennans’ story. Sunday Brennan wakes up in the hospital after a drunk driving accident she caused. She heads home to her family in New York, hoping for a fresh start. There’s baggage there, though. She left years ago and hasn’t kept in touch. Talk about a rocky homecoming, her brothers are not pleased to see her. The family has secrets of its own and a pub business that may be in jeopardy. This is where the drama builds for the family. This family s flawed, and the dynamics are complex; just how I love my family dramas. Overall, I’m already looking forward to Tracey Lange’s next book. Her debut is a solid, enjoyable, terrific storytelling at its finest. I received a gifted copy. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader

  25. 4 out of 5

    Brandice

    I am always drawn to family drama stories, a sure way to describe We Are the Brennans, a great debut novel by Tracey Lange. Sunday Brennan is 29 and wakes up in an LA hospital following a drunk driving accident she caused. Fortunately no one else was hurt. Her oldest brother Denny is there and encourages her to return home to New York — It’s been 5 years since she abruptly left her family and her ex-fiancé, with little explanation. Denny tells her they could use her help with things at home, whe I am always drawn to family drama stories, a sure way to describe We Are the Brennans, a great debut novel by Tracey Lange. Sunday Brennan is 29 and wakes up in an LA hospital following a drunk driving accident she caused. Fortunately no one else was hurt. Her oldest brother Denny is there and encourages her to return home to New York — It’s been 5 years since she abruptly left her family and her ex-fiancé, with little explanation. Denny tells her they could use her help with things at home, where they own a bar and are about to launch a second location. She reluctantly agrees, as her life in LA is fine, but nothing extraordinary. Going home is difficult for Sunday as she not only has to recover from her accident, but revisit past feelings, words left unsaid, and family secrets. Denny and her other brothers, Jackie and Shane, are each dealing with their own challenges, along with their father Mickey, and Denny’s best friend, Kale, who is also Sunday’s former fiancé. A lack of communication and some questionable decision making are front and center throughout this book, told from multiple POVs. That said, the deep bonds of the Brennan family are also evident and despite not agreeing with some of their choices, I was rooting for most of the characters by the end of the story. Thank you to Celadon Books for providing an advance reader copy of We Are the Brennans in exchange for an honest review.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Gabby

    This book was fine. I usually love reading family dramas but for some reason I found this book to be underwhelming and hard to pay attention to. The first half was good, but then I quickly got bored and I found the ending to be very anti-climatic. I kind of feel the same about this book as I do about Malibu Rising; super popular family drama books that follow a group of siblings that I wanted to love but I just personally don’t understand the hype.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    This is a Literary Fiction book that follows a Ireland American Family during a time a lot of secrets are coming out. This book starts out with a lot of drama, and it keeps the drama going through out this book. I think the little seeds of drama through out the book keeps you wanting to not put down the book. There are so bigger twists and turns in this book to. I have to say I normally do not read a lot of Literary Fiction books, but I really enjoyed this book. It was written very well, and if This is a Literary Fiction book that follows a Ireland American Family during a time a lot of secrets are coming out. This book starts out with a lot of drama, and it keeps the drama going through out this book. I think the little seeds of drama through out the book keeps you wanting to not put down the book. There are so bigger twists and turns in this book to. I have to say I normally do not read a lot of Literary Fiction books, but I really enjoyed this book. It was written very well, and if you like family drama book you should enjoy this book. I love that it shows it only takes one or two big events in a family to change the family. The characters in this book felt like real people, and the drama felt like something that could have really happen. Note: This was my July Book of the Month pick, and then I got approved for the audiobook from Netgalley. I listen to the audiobook while reading the book. The narrator of the audiobook was really good. I was kindly provided an e-audiobook of this book by the publisher (Celadon Books) or author (Tracey Lange) via NetGalley, so I can give an honest review about how I feel about this book. I want to send a big Thank you to them for that. https://www.mybotm.com/zr12wnytgc8?sh...

  28. 5 out of 5

    Melissa (LifeFullyBooked)

    This is a sweeping family saga that hit me in all the right places in my reading journey at the moment. I loved that we got a full, complete story told from multiple points of view, yet it is also only 288 pages. It takes some solid writing to convey a developed tale in under 300 pages, and Lange does an amazing job with it in her debut novel. It's the story of a big Irish family of which Sunday is the only girl. Their mother passed away just a couple of years previously, and five years before, S This is a sweeping family saga that hit me in all the right places in my reading journey at the moment. I loved that we got a full, complete story told from multiple points of view, yet it is also only 288 pages. It takes some solid writing to convey a developed tale in under 300 pages, and Lange does an amazing job with it in her debut novel. It's the story of a big Irish family of which Sunday is the only girl. Their mother passed away just a couple of years previously, and five years before, Sunday moved away from all of them in New York to head to LA. She left behind a confused boyfriend, Kale, and a fairly dysfunctional, yet close-knit family. Fast forward five years and Sunday is in the hospital after a drunk driving accident, the police call her brother Denny who is listed as her next of kin. She comes home with him to heal and has to deal with the aftermath of what she left behind and finally needs to give an explanation for what happened. There are so many times when reading a book I kind of roll my eyes when a "big secret" is revealed. It is typically either revealed too late to make a difference in the book or the secret isn't much of a big deal overall. However, this book defies the norm and actually has a decent secret revealed at the exact right time. How it affects each of the family members and reaches into the present from the past in different ways is well composed and engaging. Highly recommend this debut family saga. I listened to most of it as an audiobook and although there is only one narrator for multiple points of view (kind of a refreshing change from the large cast audiobooks as of late) she does a fantastic job conveying each of the many characters and I never felt lost. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kelly (and the Book Boar)

    BECAUSE FIVE STAR BOOKS GET A PUB DAY FLOAT. The blurb on the back of my paper copy of this upcoming release compares it to Ask Again, Yes. If your reaction to that novel was unfavorable like mine was, I suggest . . . . Mainly for the fact that these two stories are nothing alike at all. We Are the Brennans kicks off with Sunday pretty much being forced to go home again after a drunk driving incident leaves her jobless. Sunday left New York for the West Coast years ago and never looked back. N BECAUSE FIVE STAR BOOKS GET A PUB DAY FLOAT. The blurb on the back of my paper copy of this upcoming release compares it to Ask Again, Yes. If your reaction to that novel was unfavorable like mine was, I suggest . . . . Mainly for the fact that these two stories are nothing alike at all. We Are the Brennans kicks off with Sunday pretty much being forced to go home again after a drunk driving incident leaves her jobless. Sunday left New York for the West Coast years ago and never looked back. Now she might just finally have to face some painful memories from her past – including her former beau Kale who is not only married with a kid, but also business partners in the Brennan family pub which is getting ready to open a second location. That second location has some undisclosed details as well that only brother Denny knows about. Add to the mix dad Mickey and brother Jackie who also have some long-hidden secrets and – well . . . . . I mean I really can’t get enough of family stories and this was just the right amount of a little tragedy with a little shadybusiness to really sink my teeth into. I’m also a sucker for a quality gimmick and this had a good one. Each chapter was told by a different character, but they all began with the last sentence from the previous chapter. That was a solid idea for how to deliver this ensemble narrative and one that kept my butt firmly planted outside on the deck all day until I turned the last page. And now if you’ll allow me a moment of . . . . . This book arrived as a surprise from Celadon Books. I didn’t ask for it and had never even heard of it. I loved it so much it’s getting all the Starzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Talk about a lucky break! (‘Cause if you know me you also know there’s a serious chance this could have been a flop – my opinions are honest whether they are good or bad.) Highly recommended to anyone who likes to family dramas when this comes out in August. ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    Shame and guilt are like plagues. And we Irish wield them like weapons and wear them like medals. I like stories about complicated families whose love for each other transcends their foibles and, in this category, the Brennans shine. One of the clan has been hiding in LA, another is on probation with a felony record, and still another is in financial freefall and separated from his wife. When wayward daughter Sunday flips her car after a few too many drinks, steadfast Denny brings her home. Her ho Shame and guilt are like plagues. And we Irish wield them like weapons and wear them like medals. I like stories about complicated families whose love for each other transcends their foibles and, in this category, the Brennans shine. One of the clan has been hiding in LA, another is on probation with a felony record, and still another is in financial freefall and separated from his wife. When wayward daughter Sunday flips her car after a few too many drinks, steadfast Denny brings her home. Her homecoming ignites old resentments, relationships begin to unravel and secrets long buried bubble to the surface. And it’s not only the younger generation who has a few skeletons , missteps from the past haunt the present. What is unearthed over the course of the novel may bring them to ruination, their family bonds tested, but their loyalty to one another is never in question. Its structure enables us to see this family through each other’s eyes as perspectives change from chapter to chapter providing readers with a keen understanding of the characters. I enjoyed the writing, there is enough tension to keep the momentum going and enough emotion to feel connected. If you’re a fan of family drama (in fiction), then this is a debut not to miss. I loved the Brennans in all of their messy glory and I miss them already. My sincere appreciation to Celadon Books for the gifted copy of a book I had really looked forward to reading and which did not disappoint.

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