• The Bossy Bookworm

Review of The Parting Glass by Gina Marie Guadagnino

There's a love triangle and fantastic details that bring the era1830s to life. The Parting Glass has both substance and lovely lighter elements like romance.

Well well well! A lady’s maid in love with the lady, racy scenes, angst, wonderful details of a life in service to a wealthy family in 1830s New York, immigrant challenges, Irish gangs, people pretending to be different than they are, shifted expectations, true friendship—I loved this debut from Guadagnino!


In this upstairs/downstairs novel, set in nineteenth century New York, Mary Ballard is a lady’s maid to high society's wealthy and respected Charlotte Walden. But on her own time, Mary is Irish exile Maire O’Farren, and she keeps mixed company as part of a secret society of rabble-rousers.


Meanwhile, privileged Charlotte has her own secrets, and when both women's true situations begin to be revealed and to unravel, Mary finds that she and her brother are in jeopardy.


But there's a love triangle and there are fantastic details that bring the era to life. The Parting Glass has both substance and lighter elements like romance.

Any Bossy thoughts on this book?

Guadagnino offers powerful looks at the widespread nineteenth century prejudice against the Irish and other immigrant groups, as well as introducing a heart-wrenching unrequited love of one woman for another--an attraction forbidden at the time.


This book was mentioned in the Greedy Reading List Six Historical Fiction Books I Loved Over the Past Year.