Ask Again, Yes

Ask Again, Yes

by Mary Beth Keane

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**The Tonight Show Summer Reads Pick**

“One of the most unpretentiously profound books I've read in a long time…modestly magnificent.” —Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air

“A beautiful novel, bursting at the seams with empathy.” —Elle

How much can a family forgive?

A profoundly moving novel about two neighboring families in a suburban town, the friendship between their children, a tragedy that reverberates over four decades, the daily intimacies of marriage, and the power of forgiveness.

Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope, rookie cops in the NYPD, live next door to each other outside the city. What happens behind closed doors in both houses—the loneliness of Francis’s wife, Lena, and the instability of Brian’s wife, Anne, sets the stage for the explosive events to come.

Ask Again, Yes is a deeply affecting exploration of the lifelong friendship and love that blossoms between Kate Gleeson and Peter Stanhope, born six months apart. One shocking night their loyalties are divided, and their bond will be tested again and again over the next 40 years. Luminous, heartbreaking, and redemptive, Ask Again, Yes reveals the way childhood memories change when viewed from the distance of adulthood—villains lose their menace and those who appeared innocent seem less so. Kate and Peter’s love story, while haunted by echoes from the past, is marked by tenderness, generosity, and grace.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781982107000
Publisher: Scribner
Publication date: 05/28/2019
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 80
File size: 6 MB

About the Author

Mary Beth Keane attended Barnard College and the University of Virginia, where she received an MFA. She has been named one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 under 35,” and was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship for fiction writing. She currently lives in Pearl River, New York with her husband and their two sons. She is also the author of The Walking People, Fever, and Ask AgainYes.

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Ask Again, Yes 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Anonymous 4 months ago
Anonymous 5 months ago
Excellent book. Very well developed characters and plot line. I hope the author will be publishing more books in the future.
Anonymous 21 days ago
Anonymous 21 days ago
MaryND 7 months ago
Mary Beth Keane’s engrossing new novel, “Ask Again, Yes,” begins as NYPD rookie Francis Gleeson waits for fellow rookie and temporary partner Brian Stanhope prior to starting their shift in 1973. Their relationship is cordial although not necessarily friendly, but when the house next door to the Gleeson’s home in the Westchester suburb of Gillam becomes available, Francis lets Brian know and the Stanhopes move in. Thus begins an uneasy connection between the two families that deepens when their children, classmates Peter Stanhope and Kate Gleeson, forge a close friendship. Just as that friendship is about to blossom into something more, however, the shattering events of one spring night change everything and connect the families in ways none of them could ever have imagined. Spanning almost 50 years, “Ask Again, Yes” tells the stories of the Gleesons and the Stanhopes from the alternating perspectives of several members of each family, sensitively dealing along the way with mental illness, alcoholism and the ways families build and test their capacity for loyalty, compassion and forgiveness. I really enjoyed this book; the writing is fluid and assured, the plot never veers into melodrama or sensationalism (which it easily could have) and the story and polyphonic format reminded me a lot of Ann Patchett’s last book, “Commonwealth,” which I also recommend. Great pick for readers looking for a literary family drama to get lost in this summer. Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for providing me with an ARC of this title in return for my honest review.
Rachel Bennett 7 months ago
Ask Again, Yes is a beautiful family drama that takes a hard look at generational trauma, diseases and mental illness, and the overall difficulties of being a part of a family. So I can get it out of the way, the one thing that really bothered me about this book was the huge jumps forward in time. I'm the type of reader that wants to spend slow, quality time with the characters so that by the time I leave them, I feel like I'm walking away from a friend. Because the scope of this story is so broad, Keane does not give a lot of attention to small, unimportant moments, which to me are what really makes a book a lot of the time. This isn't so much a criticism, as I understand why she made the choices she did, but an explanation of why this wasn't a 5-star favorite for me. I did appreciate that we got to walk with Peter and Kate through 30 years of their life, but I just kept wanting more details about events that were glossed over! But the good...and there is so much good! This is, through and through, a story about family. A story about parents and the ways that their decisions can make or break their children. A story about marriage and romantic love and the difficulties that come along with making a lifelong commitment to someone who can never be perfect. A story about found family, and the relationships we make with people outside our nuclear family that can become more important to us than anything else in the world. A story about disease, and the way that illnesses of the mind and body get passed down through generations. A story about forgiveness, and the fact that if you want to live in a family, forgiveness is going to be necessary. A story about in-laws and the family that are forced upon us that we don't choose or even want. I could go on and on. But I felt like Keane really found her story and then took it apart, examining it from every angle, before she put it back together, and what resulted was a really successful family drama. Oh, one more thing. That "violent event that separates the neighbors" (in the plot summary, not a spoiler!)....prepare thyself!
Anonymous 1 days ago
I enjoyed the book, the characters were real and the storyline seemed to span many years of their lives.
GraceJReviewerlady 10 days ago
This is a solid read, demanding full attention and not a book you can lightly skip through. Moving out of the city, newlyweds Lena and Francis look forward to settling into their new home in the suburbs and raising a family there. When another young couple move into the house next-door, Lena makes friendly overtures but finds herself swiftly rebuffed. However, as both their children grow up, their lives are bound to overlap and mingle - with unforeseen consequences for them all. This is a packed read. Full of information and detail, it's one I found myself really absorbed into in a very short time. Not only did I like the characters and found that they interested me, I was also interested in each of them and where it was all heading. Could I have guessed? No, definitely not. This is very much a family saga but with lots of extras and I found it both mysterious and surprising, holding my focus all the way through. If you love a good saga, then you can't go far wrong with this one. It's certainly brought Mary Beth Keane to my attention and I'll be keeping an eye out for any future novels from her. I consider this easily a four star read.
Bookish_Anki 13 days ago
One of the most emotional story I may have read this year which actually got me to think if someone can really be so forgiving despite all the tragedies that can hit. A coming of age story that deals with all sorts of issues lie mental health, alcoholism, marriage & how each character deals with them as the story moves ahead. At first the story starts with slow pace but you have to be patient when reading domestic/family fiction since it takes time for the characters to develop but after few pages I was totally in it. Francis & Brian both their families were neighbors and living their life normally until one mistake by Anne; both the families are struck with tragedies and everything goes haywire. I admire the devotion of Lena towards her husband Francis & I felt Kate derived her strength from her mom to deal with her life problems. I felt sympathy for Anne towards the end for whatever happened it was not her complete fault. I felt so connected to each of the characters except Brian who for some reason I couldn't connect much maybe because his side of the story was not emphasized like the others & I didn't like him as well. The most adorable characters for me were Kate & Peter, their love story was spell bounding and how they relationship thrived over the decades is amazing. When I read a book I always want to see how the title is connected to the story and I was so pleased to read the title when I came to that part of the page, it was almost like a silver lining. I love reading such stories from which you can definitely take something and implement in your life. I feel so good that I spent my time reading an amazing story of Hope, love, hardships, forgiveness & strength. This is the book you should not miss. Thank you Scribner Books for gifting me this book
Renwarsreads 14 days ago
This is one of the best book that I've ever read. A beautifully written book about the things that happen in two families, rookie cops who become neighbors and how their families grow and interact. This book touches on mental illness, alcoholism, young friendship and love and how these things change these families lives forever. Such a heartfelt book, a must read!
CuppaWords 23 days ago
I've heard so many things about this book and was truly very excited to be offered a review copy. Unfortunately, after about 10 attempts at trying to get through this, I had to finally give up. I normally really like family drama type novels, but I felt like this was slogging along without any real intriguing purpose. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a review copy.
Anonymous 27 days ago
Ask Again Yes by Mary Beth Keene is a multigenerational tale of two families. Once neighboring families during the early days of each of the marriages, the children grow up together and have a strong bond with each other. A tragedy occurs and the children are torn apart from each other, and the story alternates between various points of view during the aftermath and even farther into the future. This story kept my interest, but despite the tragedies, hardships, and brokenness of the characters and their lives, it did not captivate me as much as I had hoped. The narrative was rather flat and despite the characters experiencing heartbreak, it was told in a fairly 'moving right along' fashion that did not necessarily move me. The book was very plot driven and I was more invested in the dynamics and relationship but the characters felt secondary to me. The characters were developed well but it just went nowhere for me. The title is referenced briefly, but I think another title would have sufficed. I would like to thank NetGalley for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I rated this book 3 Stars on Goodreads. Happy Reading!
Anonymous 27 days ago
Great read, highly recommend this one. Goes to show how one event has come to shape a family for generations. The topic of mental health is one of the underlying themes but it makes you think about all the officers who put their lives on the line daily. It's so important to try to understand your neighbors but at the end of the day, nobody every really knows what happens behind closed doors. Couldn't put this one down!
seasaltdaydreams 3 months ago
“‘I’ll give you a hint,’ she said, squeezing his hands until he looked up to meet her eyes. ‘Then and now, I say yes.’” This novel was simply spectacular. It follows two families across five decades, and takes sharp looks at each character at many points in their lives. Written in the third person, each chapter focuses on the perspective of a different character. It is written in a linear timeline but often includes memories spanning the course of the characters lives. Major themes include mental illness, addiction, and forgiveness. Simply put, I adored this book. I read it on a trip in planes, trains and cars, and I hated having to put it down to continue on my journey. The characters are dynamic and incredibly relatable. My one criticism was that the character of Peter was much better developed than his female counterpart Kate. Oftentimes Kate felt like a placeholder in a story about Peter and his family, rather than a story of two neighboring families and the relationship between their children. Overall it was a beautiful book, and I can’t wait to read other works by Mary Beth Keane.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Anonymous 3 months ago
A beautifully written story that truly allows you to empathize with each and every character while tackling tough topics of mental health, alcoholism, and dysfunctional families. It explores the lasting effects of mental illness not only on the individual, but their family and those close tot them. Ask Again, Yes is a multigenerational story of the Gleesons and Stanhopes from when they meet to the birth of their children, and the subsequent relationships that follow. A story of heartbreak and forgiveness that shows the familial bonds that cannot go unbroken. Easily one of the best books of 2019. The beautiful writing truly allows readers to empathize with the characters, even at their lowest points.
Piney10 4 months ago
4.25 to 4.5. Heart wrenching tale of two neighboring families in the New York suburbs, both fathers New York City cops, two of their young children who develop an emotional bond to each other that grows over the decades, and the intertwining of their lives through the years. One tragic event touches all of their lives. A very powerful and provocative read with themes of forgiveness, redemption, courage, love, and mental illness. The characters are extremely well defined and the writing very concise. This is a book that kept me thinking about it for days.
Anonymous 4 months ago
I really wanted to like this book but I found myself struggling to even finish it. I couldn't connect with any of the characters. I am glad I will never have to read this again!! Such a disappointment.
Bern425 4 months ago
A Beautiful, Touching, Emotional and Profound Read! Mary Beth Keane's novel, Ask Again, Yes is ultimately about family, love, mistakes, forgiveness and being able to move forward in life, to move past tragedy and embrace our lives - both the good and bad moments. This is also a story that sheds light on some of the darker aspects of family life - alcoholism, mental illness, abuse and infidelity. Brian Stanhope and Francis Gleeson are rookie cops who meet at the academy and are then assigned to the same precinct. Years later they find themselves living next to each other, their children becoming friends and the families forever intertwined. On a night when young Peter Stanhope and Kate Gleeson sneak out to be together, tragedy strikes causing a huge rift between the two families. The two teenagers are ripped apart from each other despite their love for each other. Can their love survive distance, time and familial obligation? I loved Kate and Peter so much! I was fully invested in their story and how it evolved over time. Though this was a slow moving novel (which I'm typically not a huge fan of), I found myself coming back to it every chance I got. The characters were well fleshed out and Keane wrote about mental illness with sensitivity. What I enjoyed most was that the relationships were not fluffy and easy - they were messy, complicated and deeply moving. This thought provoking book is one that should not be missed!
ReadingIsMyCardioBookClub 4 months ago
I loved this book. I did not want to put it down until I found out what happened to characters I quickly became attached to but also didn't want it to end. A multi-generation family saga, "Ask Again, Yes" begins with Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope, two rookie NYC cops who are partnered together in the 1970s. When they also become neighbors in a suburban town, their lives are inextricably linked through circumstances I won't spoil and the novel continues to follow what happens to the men and their families in the decades that follow. This book is on so many summer must-read lists for a very good reason - Mary Beth Keane writes about a world and people who you'll care about, root for and, in some cases, curse. The story covers everything - the immigrant experience, marital issues, first love, teenage strife, mental illness, alcoholism and more - but to me, it's the story of family and how one perseveres through tragedy, forgives, finds happiness and more importantly, peace.
HollyLovesBooks4 5 months ago
Epic Family Saga of Love and Forgiveness - I absolutely adore this book. So much so, that I chose it as my BOTM pick in addition to already having it on NG to read and review. This is a gorgeously written, beautifully flowing family saga that has a little bit of everything. I love the Romeo and Juliet story line through part of it as well as the basis of the connection between the two central families. My husband's family are from New York and originally from Ireland so many of these themes rang completely true to character for me. There was an interesting level of psychopathology of both sides of the family that could have led to any number of outcomes. I enjoyed the pacing of this novel and the themes that ran throughout. This will be a book club pick for me for our group in the future! Highly recommend! #AskAgainYes #NetGalley
BigReader7860 5 months ago
I had a very hard time reading this book or even understanding it. It dragged to the point of skimming many parts. I cannot honestly say I’d recommend it. Why Peter became an alcoholic was ???. Yes he had issues with his parents but he got the one thing he had always wanted- Kate. At any rate, thank you NetGalley for allowing me the read this book in exchange for an honest review. Just sorry my review couldn’t be better.
LGandhi 5 months ago
I think you should know before picking up this book that this is a story that will really make you think, make you question choices you would make in the same situation and will sit with you for awhile. And none of those things are bad. The blurb they write to give you an idea of what this book is about doesn't do it justice. That is just the tip of the iceberg for this deep story that keeps having layers upon layers added as you get into the trenches of it. This is a family drama that spans over almost four generations and will tug so strongly at your heart strings. This is not your average love story and this is definitely not your normal family drama. Mary Beth Keane has developed characters that are just as strong as the storyline she has written. She takes you on a beautiful journey of friendship, love, tragedy, growth, redemption and forgiveness. Some very true and realistic issues are addressed and you see how these issues not only effect the lives of each individual character but also the domino effect it has in their lives and their families. And the author handles this delicately and with compassion. It's emotional and dramatic, but very realistic and one you will become invested in. I came to honestly care about each of the characters and what happens to them (I don't want to give any spoilers away). You will run through every possible emotion reading this book. For me, that is rare for an author to accomplish and it be an overall enjoyable read by the end much less a 5 star read!! And there are some great lessons to be learned from reading this and searching your own personal truths of how you would respond in this scenario. I truly enjoyed this book. It's one I will definitely recommend and I think it would make an excellent book club read. This is a fantastic book for discussion. And this is an author I would like to read more of. My thanks to Mary Beth Keane, Scribner and Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous 5 months ago
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Simon & Schuster through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. This is a story about two families who live next door to each other in a small town, Gillam. Intricate details are provided of the characters creating an understanding of bipolar disorder, alcoholism, family life living with a police officer, and living with dysfunctionality. It is a multi-generational book that the reader can easily become entrenched. I really enjoyed this book and couldn’t wait to get back to it when I had to stop reading. I honestly didn’t want to put it down. I highly recommend this book.