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Decanted Truths

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4.57  ·  Rating details ·  14 ratings  ·  12 reviews
For Irish immigrant families like the Harrigans and Gavagans, struggle has been the name of the game since they arrived in Boston in the nineteenth century. For twice-orphaned Leah Gavagan, who comes of age in the Depression, the struggle is compounded by bizarre visions that disrupt her daily life -- and sometimes come true. She has difficulty fitting in with her surround ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published November 4th 2018 by Mountain Lake Press
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4.57  · 
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 ·  14 ratings  ·  12 reviews


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Stanley McShane
Amazing study of two Irish families as they assimilate into American life early nineteenth century, specifically Leah Gavagan, deftly kept within the "family." The Harrigans have had a catastrophic reversal of fortune and the families connect to hold it together. Leah has "visions" as if her life isn't difficult enough and sets her apart from peers as well as within her own circle--the one she thought was hers.

It is Margaret, pseudo-matriarch of the Harrigan family who, upon her death, leaves sh
...more
Jen
Jun 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
In 2015, I read Melanie Forde's Hillwilla, a book that I very much enjoyed, so I was eager to read this one. Decanted Truths is very different from Hillwilla and depicts the assimilation of Irish families as a process that takes a couple of generations.

"It is easy to forget how unwelcome Irish immigrants were and how the only jobs they were offered were menial. Many who came after 1845 (the potato blight famine) were desperately poor.
It is estimated that as many as 4.5 million Irish arrived in
...more
Jacqui Huntley
May 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
An intriguing and complex Irish-American family saga of sorts. The first half of the book, set in the Great Depression with prohibition in force, is told by Leah, just into adulthood but reminiscing a bit about her childhood - moving from trying-to-remain-genteel-having-come-down-in-the-world Aunt Margaret to independent, world-wise but damaged Aunt Theo and her twin brother Leo.. The older generation are complex, interesting characters and none of which can be said to be 'typical' . Leah has "t ...more
Virginia Daum
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Decanted Truths grabs you in the first chapter and doesn't let go. It's the story of Leah Gavagan, Irish-American, looking for her place in the sun during the Great Depression and Prohibition. That involves the family history of generations past, history Leah thinks she knows. To complicate matters orphaned Leah has the curse -- or is it a blessing -- of second sight. Some family members think she is "titched in the head," and needs to get over herself and learn a useful occupation. Trouble erup ...more
Deb
Jun 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Decanted Truths by Melanie Forde

If you like family sagas, this turn of the 19th century family tale is well thought out and well told. The story is staged in Massachusetts and is a blend of three families: the Gavagans, the Harrigans and the Costellos.

Secrets are kept, truths are revealed. There are marriages started, marriages ended, births, deaths and tragedies. What struck me most was the care and love this author takes in creating her characters. You may like some better than others, but th
...more
T.S.
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In Decanted Truths, Forde constructs a brilliant historical family saga populated with colorful characters and successfully evokes the Great Depression era. It tells the story of two Irish immigrant families seen through the eyes of Leah Gavagan.

Twice-orphaned Leah has always found it hard to fit in with her surroundings. A death in the family unravels shocking secrets that upends Leah’s life and sends her on a journey of finding her place in the world.

The novel is slow to start but soon the p
...more
Miriam
Jun 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Florence
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The first chapter is a true marvel, the story telling is well crafted, and the rest of the book does not disappoint.
The quality of English and the quality of the narrative builds up as the plot evolves. The complexity of the crossing of destinies makes all the value of the story.
I've read this book courtesy of the publisher and the author in exchange for a fair review.
I must admit I took great pleasure in reading such good literature and such a captivating story !
Jessica Bronder
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the story of two Irish Families, the Harrigan’s and the Gavagan’s initially around the time of the Depression. The first part kind of centers around Leah Gavagan who is an orphan and raised by her aunt and uncle. Leah is turning 18 and her aunt wants to send her to school in New York so she has some training to make a living.

While Leah is in New York, tragedy strikes and Leah ends up leaving school and returning home. This tragedy strikes Leah’s Aunt Margaret with the loss of her son. M
...more
Kelly-Jo Sweeney
Feb 06, 2019 rated it liked it
This was quite an unusual book. To begin with, it isn't really completely obvious who the main subject of the story is and where it is going to go. We are introduced to Leah fairly early on and while in many ways this is her story, it isn't only her story. By learning more about her family and where she comes from, we learn more about her. The book follows the course of the lives of a number of different members of a family and the other families around them that are connected through marriage a ...more
Paula Ptomey
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received a free copy of Decanted Truths by Melanie Forde from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
I loved this story. Set in the Depression era in Boston, you meet the Harrigans and Gavagans families. You get to see their lives and how the past and future intertwine with each other. Leah Gavagan is an orphan raised by her aunt and uncle. She often has visions, including one about a crystal decanter. Then she sees the decanter from her visions in her aunts house. What is the history be
...more
Melanie
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Bonnye Reed
May 01, 2019 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Netgalley, BooksGoSocial
Pub date November 4, 2018
received May 1, 2019D
Street Books, Mountain Lake Press
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For most of her writing career, Melanie Forde ghosted on international security issues. She published her first novel, Hillwilla, in 2014, followed by On the Hillwilla Road in 2015. Her West Virginia trilogy culminates in Reinventing Hillwilla, published in 2018. 2018 also brought forth her Irish-American family saga, Decanted Truths, 20 years in the making.