Good morning, everyone! Today I'm a stop on the TLC book tour for Kathleen Tessaro's latest, Rare Objects.
Maeve Fanning always wanted more. Clever and educated, she nonetheless found herself in a situation of her own creation that demanded escape. And escape she did, all the way to New York City. There she worked as a dancer, partying and drinking away the evenings after work. Unfortunately Maeve's grand adventure ended with her being committed, something she'd never admit to. Instead, she spun a lie that she'd been employed as a secretary for an eccentric and wealthy man whose demands were such that the had no time for writing or visiting home.
Now, in 1932, Maeve is one of many qualified women searching for work that will allow her to eke out a living. But it's hard enough considering the current Depression, and being Irish doesn't make it easier. With a bit of a lie and a bit of bleach, though, Maeve transforms herself into May, earning a spot as a salesgirl at an antiques dealership. It's there that a new world opens up to her, one that offers connections and opportunities she could never dream of. It's a glimpse inside the world of the rich and elite, one whose doors open to her due to a surprising connection of her own - someone she met in her darkest days in New York.
Rare Objects is essentially a tale of friendship and of the dangers of keeping up appearances. The time period in particular amplifies the issues, but they are not foreign to what some face even today.
Maeve has marks against her: the economy means less opportunity for everyone, even those in a better position than most. Maeve's own education and qualifications make her suitable for any number of jobs but that simply doesn't matter when there are no jobs to be found! The fact that she's Irish makes it worse considering no one in Boston wants to hire them and Maeve's red hair stands out as an undeniable marker of her heritage. But Maeve's own past is her enemy as well. She's dissatisfied with the life around her. She has secrets she'd rather those around her not know - secrets that could ruin every chance she and her mother have worked for. And her time as a patient at Binghamton State Hospital is certainly not something she's interested in sharing.
Which is why she finds something of a soulmate in Diana Van der Laar. Their reunion is purely coincidental, but their shared shame is a bond that trumps all of their other differences.
Their friendship is one that could save them both, if they'll allow it. But both women bear deep emotional scars that could, if they bend to weakness, ruin them both. And of course both of them must, at all cost, ensure that their carefully built facades remain unquestionable and unshakable. The stress of that alone is enough to threaten each girl's grip on reality!
I love Tessaro's work! I've mentioned in past reviews how graceful and fantastic her writing is and how alive her characters are on the page. Rare Objects is definitely no exception. From the start, Maeve's story had a hold on me that begged for attention. I couldn't put this book down until I knew how things would turn out for her. And of course, as with any great story, hers is one that still had me in its grip well beyond the final page.
To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here. For more on Kathleen Tessaro and her work you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook.
Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble