MEET MIMI MALLOY: A daughter of the Great Depression, Mimi was born into an Irish-Catholic brood of seven, and she has done her best to raise six beautiful daughters of her own. Now they’re grown, and Mimi, a divorcée, is unexpectedly retired. But she takes solace in the comforts of her new life: her apartment in the heart of Quincy, the occasional True Blue cigarette, and an evening with Frank Sinatra on the stereo and a highball in her hand. Yet her phone is arguably the busiest in greater Boston—it rings “Day In, Day Out,” as Ol’ Blue Eyes would say. Her surviving sisters love to gab about their girlhood, and her eldest, Cassandra, calls every morning to preach the gospel of assisted living. And when an MRI reveals that Mimi’s brain is filled with black spots—areas of atrophy, her doctor says—it looks like that’s exactly where she’s headed, to spend her days in one of those “storage facilities for unwanted antiques.”
Yet as Mimi prepares to take a stand, she stumbles upon an old pendant, and her memory starts to return—specifically, recollections of a shockingly painful childhood, including her long-lost sister, Fagan, and the wicked stepmother she swore to forget.
Out of the ashes of Mimi’s deeply troubled history, Julia MacDonnell gives us a redemptive story of the family bonds that break us and remake us. MIMI MALLOY, AT LAST! (Picador Hardcover / $25.00 / ISBN: 978-1-250-04154-8 / April 8, 2014) is an unforgettable novel, alive with humor, unexpected romance, and the magic of hard-earned insight: a poignant reminder that it’s never too late to fall in love and that one can always come of age a second time.
“A triumph and a delight!…I wouldn’t trust anybody who couldn’t fall for Mimi Malloy, At Last!” —Mary Kay Andrews, New York Times bestselling author of Ladies’ Night
“Julia MacDonnell has written a love letter to sisterhood, Frank Sinatra, late-in-life romance, and the enduring ties of family. The book’s narrator calls to mind a Boston Irish Olive Kitteridge, as peppery as she is big-hearted. Mimi Malloy, At Last! will make you laugh, cry and relive your own past.” —Sally Koslow, author of The Widow Waltz and The Late, Lamented Molly Marx
“I gulped down Julia MacDonnell’s juicy novel of revealed memories and startling characters….Mimi proves that some revelations take living long enough to have. Extraordinary.” —Molly Peacock, author of The Paper Garden
“Mimi Malloy, At Last! is funny, wise, and devastating. Julia MacDonnell writes with tender insight, letting Mimi’s old memories crack the defense of humor, allowing the buried truths of her family and childhood to shine through….I loved it.”
—Luanne Rice, New York Times bestselling author
“The end of life becomes an unexpected beginning in Julia MacDonnell’s moving, funny masterpiece about love, memory, and the family ties we sometimes need to untangle. Absolutely captivating.” —Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You and Is This Tomorrow
“I love Mimi! Such a feisty, endearing, hilarious character—yet also very vulnerable as the threads of her painful Irish-American past begin to unravel. Julia MacDonnell’s fluent writing beautifully observes the iniquities of old age and the complexities of family. But also the benefits of both. What a wonderful book.” —Hilary Boyd, author of Thursdays in the Park
“Humorous and poignant… MacDonnell captures perfectly the family dynamics between sisters, mothers, and daughters, as if she were sitting in on their gab sessions, taking copious notes. For readers who enjoy Maeve Binchy and Rosamunde Pilcher, this is a highly engaging family chronicle, with a healthy dose of Irish history laced in as well.”—Deborah Donovan, Booklist
“Lightened by her sharp wit, feisty Mimi’s saga is a sometimes troubling but ultimately triumphant tale of aging, the Boston Irish immigrant experience, and redemption. MacDonnell’s first novel in 20 years (after A Year of Favor) will appeal to anyone who loves a good story with a strong heroine.”
—Library Journal, Nancy H. Fontaine, Norwich Public Library
JULIA MACDONNELL’s fiction has been published in many literary magazines, and her story “Soy Paco” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her journalism has appeared in The Boston Globe, the New York Daily News, and the Columbia Journalism Review, among other publications. A tenured professor at Rowan University, she is the nonfiction editor of Philadelphia Stories. This is her first novel in twenty years.
Photo credit: Gabriel P. Chan
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