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The Parting Glass

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  64 ratings  ·  43 reviews
Devoted maid Mary Ballard’s world is built on secrets, and it’s about to be ripped apart at the seams, in this lush and evocative debut set in 19th century New York, perfect for fans of Sarah Waters’s Fingersmith and Emma Donoghue’s Slammerkin.

By day, Mary Ballard is lady’s maid to Charlotte Walden, wealthy and accomplished belle of New York City high society. Mary loves C
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published March 5th 2019 by Atria Books
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3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  64 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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Book of Secrets
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
THE PARTING GLASS is a beautifully written and heartbreaking tale of Mary Ballard, an Irish maid who becomes the unfortunate side of a love triangle with her mistress and her brother. The book is gorgeously written and well-researched, and really brings to life New York City in the 1830s and the struggle of Irish immigrants at the time. This is a strong character-driven novel that wraps up with a surprising ending. A bit long in parts, but well worth taking the journey with these unique characte ...more
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
What a lush and lovely book. I picked up The Parting Glass partially on a whim, but it captivated me practically from the first page. It tells the story of lady's maid Maire O'Farren, alias Mary Ballard, an Irish immigrant employed by the beautiful young mistress Charlotte Walden in 19th century New York. Maire is captivated by Charlotte to the point of obsession, but Charlotte is having an affair with the stable groom, who happens to be Maire's twin brother. Through this awkward love triangle o ...more
Katherine Riley
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Despite surface appearances, The Parting Glass is no historical novel of corsets and bodices. This is a novel of “the whalebone beneath” — of the women of the house playing against men like chess pieces. It is also a timely microscope on the cyclical struggle against racism that has imbued this country’s entire bloody history, in this case focusing on Irish immigrants and the brutality and subjugation they incurred in the century before they became simply white. But what raises this story to the ...more
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I find historical fiction stories fascinating when they are well written and researched. The Parting Glass was such a book.
This was a story of love...between an Irish brother and sister…and a shared love of an English heiress. But this was also a story where social class and racism were a part of everyday life…where Nativists and the Know Nothing party spread hatred and incited violence against immigrants and Catholics. It was not a time for a forbidden love to flourish, especially those harbor
Julia Phillips
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow. So lush and immersive, so intelligently written. I loved this. Found myself thinking of the characters hours after I finished reading, as if they were friends I cared for and worried about. Sharp, vivid, excellent
Kris Waldherr
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Just finished reading THE PARTING GLASS. Stunning writing paired with incredible research make for a lush, immersive read that's impossible to put down. Think Edith Wharton by way of Emma Donoghue—yup, it's that good! More to come closer to publication. Many thanks to the author and the publisher for the advance e-galley.
Martie Nees Record
Feb 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Atria Books
Pub. Date: March 5, 2019

This novel, set in the 1830s, has all the makings of great storytelling. You will read much about Tammany Hall (the name given to the notoriously corrupt Democratic political machine that dominated New York City politics during the 19th century. You will meet Maire O'Farrell and her twin brother Seanin. They are from Ireland and fresh off a boat that landed them in the poverty-stricken area known as The Five Points. You might
Jessica Woodbury
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars.
One very simple way to get me to read historical fiction is to make it gay. Put a Fingersmith comp in there and I am putty in your hands. THE PARTING GLASS is about a lady's maid who just happens to be desperately in love with her lady.

Mary dresses her lady, does her hair, washes her, and tends to her. She also leaves her window open once a week so her lady's lover can sneak into her room. Oh, and that lover just happens to be Mary's brother. Mary (real name Maire) and her brother Sea
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-work
Certainly the sexiest historical novel I’ve ever read but with an intense, fascinating political backdrop and fully realized, complex characters that make this hist fic of the highest order
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Review forthcoming!
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Disclaimer: I got an advance reader's copy from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

This is being billed as being tailored for those of us who love Fingersmith, so I had to pick it up; and I am not disappointed that I did.

Much like Fingersmith there are some twists and turns and an upstairs/downstairs romance, but I think that the setting here plaid a greater role. I quite enjoyed the descriptions of 19th century New York, especially after reading the author's afterword detailin
Arlennéa Savage
THE PARTING GLASS by Gina Marie Guadagnino

❝Oh, it is all very romantic to throw one’s pride away for love, but it is something else again to sacrifice one’s family on the altar of such a passion.❞
— Miss Charlotte Walden, The Parting Glass

Ethnically diverse • rich in language & immigrant culture • Shakespearean love, Shakespearean tragedy • LGBTQ+ representation that isn’t a hetero plot prop — The Parting Glass has secured its place in my heart as my second favourite work of fiction. Period.

Standing Ovation
⠀ ⠀⠀
Guadagnino takes you to, as lyrically s
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, it isn’t Sarah Waters. But then again any historical fiction with Sapphic undertones is probably going to draw those comparisons, which frankly just isn’t fair to the books themselves. For me there’s nothing quite like Sarah Waters books, but then again even some of Sarah Waters books aren’t Sarah Waters, which is to say her work is uneven, but when it’s good it’s sublime. But then again, this is a review of an entirely different book and a very good one in its own right. Parting Glass is ...more
Mar 02, 2019 added it
Shelves: 2019-ala, arc, read-2019
DNF 20%

I tried twice to fall into this story... just couldn’t.
Mar 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Piepie by: Jess G
Thank you, Netgalley, for this arc. The writing is beautiful, and the story is kind of a cross between Downton Abbey and Sarah Waters' Fingersmith. The ending was a surprise to me, as the book didn't conclude the way I would have imagined.
Paula Ptomey
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Have you ever wanted someone so badly, but knew that they were out of your reach? Mary Ballard in Gina Marie Guadagnino's The Parting Glass, can understand how you feel. She knows that if her employer knew her true background, she would be sent away. However she loves her mistress more than she can imagine. So much so that she keeps her mistress' secrets, even when it drives a wedge between her and her brother. So what does she do when her mistress' secrets maybe found out? Now that her mistress ...more
3.5 stars, full review forthcoming!
Mar 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
ooooooooh my heart has been squeezed. rtc!
Caroline Mea
Jan 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Gina Marie Guadagnino's debut novel is rich with history and imagery, and is unlike any historical fiction novel I have read before. The book stars a small cast of characters, narrated by Mary Ballard - aka Maire O'Farren. Mary is a lady's maid and has quite a few secrets of her own. By day she is prim, proper, and the perfect example of a lady's maid to her beloved Charlotte Walden. By night, she is Maire, a regular at the pub, drinking and swearing with the rest of the boys. This is all compli ...more
Crystal King
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A gritty, yet breathtaking dip into the world of 19th century New York. Meticulously researched, with great care given to depicting the racism of the time against the Irish, and to the love that bloomed between women who were often not well treated by the men of that world. It's a beautiful and heartbreaking book with passion woven into its very seams. I devoured this debut and can't wait to see what Guadagnino will write next!
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
My goodness, what a ride! Equal parts sensual, smart, and violent, The Parting Glass is a lavishly written, expertly detailed, historical drama. The cover blurb describes it as Downton Abbey meets Gangs of New York, which sums it up pretty perfectly. It’s also SO GAY. I’ve been on the hunt for stories that feature f/f relationships that do not somehow center around a man and this one fits the bill! Guadagnino has packed so much into her debut, seamlessly weaving several love stories together wit ...more
Paul Pessolano
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
“The Parting Glass” by Gina Marie Guadagnino, published by Atria Books.

Category – Fiction/Literature Publication Date – March 05, 2019.

In 19th Century New York Irish immigrants had a difficult time becoming a part of society. They found it difficult to find even minor jobs and often had to hide their identity.

Maire O’Farren and her brother, Seanin, find they must change their name to survive. Maire becomes Mary Ballard and Seanin becomes Johnny Prior. They find employment in the Walden househol
Mar 02, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This debut novel asks the reader to suspend belief in order to accept that Mary Ballard, an Irish immigrant, to New York can develop the skills needed to shed her Irish persona to become a lady’s maid to a debutante. There is no indication that Mary has come to New York with any experience as a lady's maid for a lady of the house. And Mary is able to speak like an educated woman with no trace of her native brogue. We are also asked to believe that the hard-drinking swearing-like-a-sailor Mary is ...more
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Maire and Seanin are twins, fresh off the boat from Ireland. They get work in the Walden's house, she as Charlotte 's lady's maid and he as a stable hand. Charlotte Walden is one of the most popular debutants in New York.  Maire or Mary as she is now known, must not let anyone know about her past. She has other secrets that cause her pain and that is her forbidden love for Charlotte. Mary holds her up as an untouchable goddess. Seanin knows she is blood and flesh and loves her. It kills Mary to ...more
Seema Rao
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Romantic ~ Evocative ~ Heartrending

tl;dr: Class often trumps love

This book tells of love affairs and friendships in Gilded Age New York between Irish immigrants and the American wealthy set. Mary's brother John and her employer Charlotte fall in love. The story is a well-done look into the America of the time, with all its classism and prejudice. Unlike some depictions, this one does a great job of centering the quiet power of women (like the ways that poor women have mobility) and also the ways
Feb 26, 2019 rated it liked it
I've seen a few reviews describe this book as 'lush' and that's so appropriate. Gina Marie Guadagnino has captivated Mary and Charlotte's world so fully and completely that it was hard to put this book down - because I wanted to stay inside this world.

Charlotte is a rich woman of means in early New York City and Mary is her lady's maid, and occasionally, closest confidant. On her night's off, Mary returns to her true self - Maire O'Ferren, an Irish exhile who find release in drinking and in the
Mar 06, 2019 rated it liked it
The Parting Glass by Gina Marie Guadagnino is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early March.

Intennnnnsely descriptive, both in first-person Mary’s by-rote, straitlaced life as lead lady’s maid and Maire’s devil-may-care, heavy drinking nightlife. Then, through Mary’s eyes in the third-person, is the lady of the house Charlotte’s daily routine, which seems to involve lying in, idling around the house, and being comforted often by Mary, who feels quite sensuous and devoted toward her. From the
Sherry Chiger
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I practically devoured this novel. It packs a lot in between its covers—a love triangle, class divisions, gender issues, the plight of the Irish—but the book never feels overstuffed, nor is any theme given short shrift. The pacing is perfect, 1830s New York well evoked, the characters multidimensional, and the few sex scenes wonderfully written. Just when you think you have the plot sussed, an unexpected but not far-fetched twist appears. The narrator comes across as somewhat unlikeable at first ...more
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An amazing book, well written and well researched. An engaging and enthralling book that you cannot put down.
I loved the well researched historical background, the descriptions of the city, and the strong and fleshed out characters.
The plot is enthralling, you cannot help rooting for the characters and being fascinated by their evolution and stories.
A very good reading experience, highly recommended!
Many thanks to Atria Books and Edelweiss for this ARC. I voluntarily read and reviewed this book,
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I picked up the pre-release of this book at the ALA midwinter conference and DEVOURED it on the flight home. When I saw the blurb on the front saying it was "Downton Abbey meets Gangs of New York" I was instantly interested and 100% not disappointed. The world that is created in this book is exquisitely detailed and captivating, and I could not put it down.
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Gina Marie Guadagnino's debut novel, THE PARTING GLASS, will be released from Atria Books in Spring 2019. Her previously published work includes three short stories: "Whisper in the Shadows," which appears in THE MORRIS-JUMEL ANTHOLOGY OF FANTASY AND PARANORMAL FICTION; "In the Sky She Floats," which appears in MIXED UP: COCKTAIL RECIPES (AND FLASH FICTION) FOR THE DISCERNING DRINKER (AND READER0; ...more