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The Parting Glass

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  310 ratings  ·  92 reviews
Downton Abbey meets Gangs of New York…a gem of a novel to be inhaled in one gulp” (Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author) about a devoted maid whose secretive world is about to be ripped apart at the seams—a lush and evocative debut set in 19th-century New York that’s perfect for fans of Sarah Waters’s Fingersmith and Emma Donoghue’s Slammerkin.

By day, Mary Ballar
Hardcover, 311 pages
Published March 5th 2019 by Atria Books
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Average rating 3.56  · 
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 ·  310 ratings  ·  92 reviews

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Diana • 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
Mel (Epic Reading)
Sep 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm surprised that more people don't put this into the Romance genre. Surely it's Historical, taking place in the early 1900's in New York City (think Gangs of New York movie timeline and you're perfectly in its place); but it's got some steamy lesbian moments and the majority of the story revolves around our characters having infatuations with one another.

Easily the best part of The Parting Glass is the lesbian representation. It's honest and sincere. Gina Marie Guadagnino has also gi
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 migh
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
Deanne Patterson
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Eager to hide her past, she must after all being Irish at a time in history when they were so discriminated against and there were no jobs for them. She is able to hide her Dublin accent in New York and become a lady's maid to a rich and accomplished woman of high society.
Her brother isn't as lucky and deals in the cities seedier side. She must also hide the fact she is related to him. The setting is lush and very descriptive.
Her secrets seem safe as long as she can keep them.
Published March 5th
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
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
Lauren Conrad
Jul 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book. I loved that every character was fictional. I loved the characters and their complexities. The period detail, the heartbreak, and especially the voice were spectacular. The voice seemed similar to The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly, which you'll also love if you enjoyed this book and vice versa.
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.
This is beautifully detailed, imaginative historical fiction, featuring longing and secrets and a kaleidoscope of overlapping love triangles. The book is not as melodramatic as the existence of multiple love triangles makes it sound; no two sides of any of those triangles is the same kind of love, they're all at different angles, and the result is a complicated portrait of love, obligations, and human care (or not). I liked this a lot.

While the publisher comparisons to Fingersmith and Slammerkin
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this book!

I am surprised that it isn't more popular.

What I loved most about this book is that it was so raw in the emotion and character development.

Guadagnino isn't trying to get you to love the main characters by showing the flaws with each. To me, it made it more real.

Highly, highly recommend to readers who love Historical Fiction but are growing tired of the same stories about unconventionally strong women who claimed to be happy single but somehow ends up with a gentleman
Mar 02, 2019 added it
Shelves: read-2019, arc, 2019-ala
DNF 20%

I tried twice to fall into this story... just couldn’t.
Jul 10, 2019 marked it as to-read
sounds Right ™ up my street Yes Please
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
If only this could have been the work of someone who actually knows how to write novels.

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!
Dec 30, 2018 rated it liked it
I struggle to review this because I enjoyed the author's writing style, historical accuracy, and descriptive language. However, be forewarned that the sex scenes are graphic and in my opinion, gratuitous.
Lauren Hopkins
Apr 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Charlotte woulda fucking died in Dublin.
Also Marie doesn't deserve Liddy.
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
A novel set in 1830s New York City starring Mary Ballard, lady's maid to elegant young heiress Charlotte Walden. The Parting Glass is the sort of novel that really wants to beat the reader over the head with its theme, which in this case is: everyone has secrets. Mary's secret is that she's in love with Charlotte. Also that's she really Maire O’Farren, and her English accent and previous experience as a lady's maid are all lies. Charlotte's secret is that she's sleeping with the stable boy, John ...more
Tracy (The Pages In-Between)
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you Atria Books for sending me an E-ARC, in exchange of an honest review. All opinions are my own. This review was supposed to post a while ago, however, something in must have glitched, and it never posted, so I am having to re-write my initial review.

I give this book a 4 out of 5 Stars.

This is another one of those books, that serves of a reminder of how much I love Historical Fiction Books. And it made me question why I do not read more. T.P.G. was a beautiful story. Well written, and to
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
Mar 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
ooooooooh my heart has been squeezed. rtc!
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
tw: sexual assault

I was drawn in by the comparisons to Fingersmith and, as mentioned by others, woo boy that sort of callout is not super fair to any author because that book is a lot to live up to! And this one...didn't. Throughout this book I was never really sure where anything was going - were we supposed to want Maire and Charlotte to end up together? At no point did I understand why Maire was so in love with her; there just simply wasn't much to Charlotte to love. Not that I was expecting
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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

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