• The Bossy Bookworm

Review of We Are the Brennans by Tracey Lange

Lange's Irish family story centers around Sunday Brennan, who has returned home to her New York hometown where her own secrets--and others'--are exposed.

In Tracey Lange's new novel We Are the Brennans, twenty-nine-year old Sunday Brennan wakes up in a haze. She's hungover and horrified: she was the cause of a drunk-driving accident in her adopted town of Los Angeles the night before.

She's hit rock bottom and she knows it. Without other options, she skulks back to her hometown in New York. Five years earlier she'd abandoned her family and friends and anyone tied to her past, including her high-school sweetheart, but now she needs the support of people who truly know her. Will they take her back in without asking her to explain the reasons for her sudden disappearance?

The longer Sunday spends at home, the more she realizes that her people need her too. As secrets become unraveled and threaten the solidity of all she thought she knew about her hometown and her big Irish family, Sunday must decide whether to flee again or to stay and find a way through the turmoil.

This is a quick read, and I liked the extended-family loyalty and the revisiting of a seemingly ill-fated love. The villains in We Are the Brennans are largely easy to identify and to dislike. I found it interesting that within the almost mythological family that is based upon so much lore, the deceased mother is far from a martyr; her weaknesses and failings are laid bare.

There's a minor mystery in the book, and Lange generally delivers resolutions that aren't always surprising but that I was glad to see coming. There's a final loose end and it seems assured that it will be wrapped up, but the specifics aren't laid out, and the very end of the story felt a little bit abrupt.

I received a prepublication digital edition of this book courtesy of Celadon Books and NetGalley.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

This is Tracey Lange's first book, and I look forward to future novels from her.


Do you have books you love about Irish families?