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Mary Beth Keane Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Mary Beth Keane is a bestselling American author of Irish ancestry. She has written successful standalone novels in the historical fiction, contemporary, and fiction genres such as Fever; The Walking People; Ask Again, Yes; etc. Keane was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship in 2015 and in 2011, she was included in ‘5 under 35’ by the National Book Foundation. In 2018, Keane penned an essay in Vogue magazine in which she has talked about her decision of leaving the Catholic Church. Ask Again, Yes is her latest novel and has featured on the number five spot on the Bestsellers list of the NY Times. After the book garnered close to a million audience votes in 5 days, it was selected as the Summer Reads Choice on The Tonight Show and Keane was called on the show to talk about the book with Jimmy Fallon.

Author Keane was born in New York City. She was brought up in Pearl River, New York, and completed her earlier studies from Immaculate Heart Academy and Barnard College. Later, Keane joined Columbia University and earned her bachelor’s degree in 1999 in English Literature. She also attended Virginia University to obtain an MFA in 2005 in Fiction. Keane’s writing has featured in The Chicago Tribune, Antioch Review, New York Times, The Recorder, Vogue, The Daily Beast, Baltimore Review, etc. Currently, she is happily married and resides on the outskirts of New York City along with her beloved husband and two sons. Starting with her most recent novel, Keane has brought together a team with an all-Irish ancestry for the publication of her books. This includes herself, her editor, her publisher, and her agent. Though all the books of author Keane are filled with Irish characters, each one of them has significant differences.

In her debut novel, The Walking People, she has described the story of an immigrant Irish girl having a secret past. Her second novel is a historical story about Typhoid Mary. In her recently released novel, Keane has mentioned the stories of 2 families living as next-door neighbors in New York City. Both families have fathers working as NYPD officers. After coming across each other in 1973 as rookies, they rise to the rank of officers and get stationed in different precincts. Their children, Peter Stanhope and Kate Gleeson, become the best of friends. After a violent incident, the families get divided and Kate and Peter think that they are not going to see one another again. The novel is described over a course of 45 years and shows what all things that the central characters have to go through to finally meet after growing up. Author Keane says that the first time she realized she wanted to become a writer was when she was 5 years old.

When she would get tired of writing, she would ask her mother to write for her while she dictated. Keane has set up an office in her basement, which is the ideal place for her to work on her novels. However, most of the time, she finds herself glued to her kitchen table as she hardly gets time away from her household chores. The strangest job that Keane ever had was when she worked at Monticello right after finishing her MFA. She expected to be a fun-filled job but it turned out to be an intense job and she hated every bit of the 6 months that she spent there.

The debut book written by author Mary Beth Keane is entitled ‘The Walking People’. It was released by the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt publication in 2009. Keane has set this book in Ireland and New York State and has depicted the lead characters in the roles of Greta Cahill, Johanna, Michael Ward, and a few others. Initially, it is depicted that Greta Cahill never thought she would move out of her village located in west Ireland. She boards a ship and heads for New York, leaving behind her past life. Greta spends the next fifty years of her life in a foreign country and keeps Ireland only in her memories. Her children realize that their mother still longs to see her village, they conspire to unite the two worlds that she has kept separate for so long. Greta is labeled as a ‘softheaded goose’ by the members of her family.

After moving to America, she discovers that she can earn her living, fall in love, and raise her family. Greta wishes to move back to Irelands and meet the people who she is very close to. She wants to show them how she has changed her life through hard work and dedication. But, Greta has a secret about her past life that she has kept hidden from her children. This hidden secret forces her to keep her new life in America separate from the one she lived in Ireland. As a result, she is torn apart from all those people whom she loves very much. This novel depicts a beautifully written old-fashioned story that keeps the readers intrigued from start to finish.

Another popular book penned by Keane is called ‘Fever’. It was released in 2013 by the Scribner publication. The primary character of this novel in Mary Mallon. This intriguing and spectacularly bold novel revolves around Mary Mallon or ‘Typhoid Mary’, as she is notoriously known. She is the first person in the United States to be identified as Typhoid Fever’s healthy carrier. Initially, it is mentioned that Mary Mallon moved to New York City from Ireland at the start of the 20t century when she was just 15 years old. She is introduced as a headstrong, brave woman and aspiring to become a cook. Mary begins at the lowest rung and fights her way up to finally achieve her dream. After working her way in the kitchen, she discovers her true talent as a chef. As it was rare for a woman to be as independent and successful as she was at that time, the aristocracy of New York starts chasing her.

A determined medical officer notices that Mary Mallon left behind a trail of typhoid wherever she worked. It was not before she was identified as the asymptomatic carrier of the Typhoid Fever. With the preposterous theory of the medical officer, Mary Mallon was made into a hunted woman. The Department of Health takes her into custody and keeps her in isolation on the North Brother Island between 1907 and 1910. She is released on the condition that she will not take up the cooking job again. But, as Mary is passionate about her job and proud of her status as a successful cook, she chooses to defy the edict.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Mary Beth Keane

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