Book Spotlight | “The Parting Glass” by Gina Marie Guadagnino

Posted Tuesday, 5 March, 2019 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Book By: In January [2019] I was approached about two Spring releases of Historical Fiction – each of them were uniquely different than each other but they each held a curiosity of interest in me to be read. The two titles were the following “The Parting Glass” and “The Lost History of Dreams”. This first novel is set the 19th Century and spins a uniquely evocative tale which involves class and the boundaries of society whilst also examines a closer view into Women’s topics of interest.

I received a complimentary ARC copy of “The Parting Glass” direct from the publisher Atria Books (an imprint of Simon & Schuster) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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The reason reading ‘”The Parting Glass” appealled to me:

* In regards to “The Parting Glass” – the sociological and psychological examination of society views, social norms and the influences of lifestyle choices. I do like finding literature which delves into the sociological choices of people who are choosing to live alternatively to what society might consider either taboo or outside the regular sequence of living. I was also drawn to the character Liddie as it is rare to have an openly LGBTQ+ character in Historical narratives; there are a few but it is not very often you find writers are including their representation.

* I was further impressed with what the author wrote about how her story takes a literary stance on sexuality and does not cross the line into erotica but rather is presenting an honest representation of sexuality from the POV of the two lead female characters in her story. I appreciate writers who are up front about this as one thing I am most critical about is when fiction sidelines into Erotica and/or when your not prepared for what is inclusive to a story prior to reading it. I have read an up front and interpersonal exploration of an individual’s sexuality previously from a feminine POV and it was executed brilliantly as it was one woman’s search for sexual identity and sexual freedom. It appears this is the case for this narrative as well.

* This fits in well with my search for Feminist Historical Fiction narratives which I describe as the following on my Review Policy: a healthy appreciation for Feminist Historical Fiction; including Women’s Suffragette Movements and Women’s Rights – any Historical Fiction narrative that continues the conversation for Intersectional Feminism and the pursuit of Equality for All; including but not limited to African-American, Latino and Native American women pioneers in their chosen industries or women leaders who either developed a movement or inspired forward motion for Women’s Rights

* As much as my interest in LGBTQ+ stories: Open to reading m/m, f/f and *trans narratives as I’ve read these previously, however any story which is considered inclusive to LGBTQ+ narratives are ones I am seeking out to read

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Book Spotlight | “The Parting Glass” by Gina Marie GuadagninoThe Parting Glass
by Gina Marie Guadagnino
Source: Direct from Publisher

Posing as a lady’s maid in 1837 New York City, Maire O’Farren must tread carefully. The upper echelons of society despise the Irish and Maire, known to her employers only as Mary Ballard, takes great care to conceal her native lilt and lineage. Nor would the household be pleased with a servant who aids her debutante’s midnight assignations with a stable groom. Least of all would they tolerate a maid who takes a stronger liking to her charge than would be deemed entirely suitable for her sex.

Maire tends to wealthy young heiress Charlotte Walden’s every whim and guards her every secret. Though it pains her, Maire even delivers her brother Seanin to her beloved’s bed each Thursday night, before shedding her clandestine persona and finding release from her frustration in the gritty underworld around Washington Square. Despite her grief, Maire soon attracts the attentions of irreverent and industrious prostitute Liddie Lawrence, who soothes Maire’s body and distracts her burning heart.

As an English baron and a red-blooded American millionaire vie for Charlotte’s affections, Seanin makes calculated moves of his own, adopting the political aspirations of his drinking companions and grappling with the cruel boundaries of class and nationality. As Seanin rises in rank in a secret society and the truth of both women’s double lives begin to unravel, Charlotte’s secrets soon grow so dangerous even Maire cannot keep them. Forced to choose between loyalty to her brother or to her lady, between respectable society or true freedom, Maire finally learns that her fate lies in her hands alone.

Genres: Historical Fiction

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1501198410

Published by Atria Books

on 5th March, 2019

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 320

 Published By:  Published By: Atria Books (@AtriaBooks)
{imprint of} Simon & Schuster (

Converse via: #ThePartingGlass, #HistNov and #HistFic
+ #19thC along with #Debut19

Available Formats: Hardcover, Audiobook & Ebook

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I was quite taken with the narrator of “The Parting Glass” – her accents and her ability to transition in/out of them per each new character she is voicing to life is quite wicked brill! I had hoped to have a bit of a go at listening to this lovely new release before my review went live however, Scribd didn’t have the audiobook. I listened to the sampler which happily begins at Chapter One and within its short expanse I was rather charmed with the performance by Cassandra Campbell.

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About Gina Marie Guadagnino

Gina Marie Guadagnino Photo Credit by L.M. Pane

Gina Marie Guadagnino holds a BA in English from New York University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the New School. Her work has appeared in the Morris-Jumel Mansion Anthology of Fantasy and Paranormal Fiction, Mixed Up: Cocktail Recipes (and Flash Fiction) for the Discerning Drinker (and Reader). She lives in New York City with her family.

Photo Credit: L.M. Pane

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why I am spotlighting this noveL:

I did quite a bit of research ahead of reading this novel – in fact, this is why I had such a strong sense of what I might have found within the narrative itself. As previously disclosed I had listed key plot points which drew me inside The Parting Glass and were the key points I was hoping to see explored within the story-line itself. However, as I was reading the ARC – there were quite a few reasons why this narrative was taking me outside of its thoughtful pacing and giving me an immeasurable amount of thoughts to consider about the story. To the point where I was simply not finding this to be a story I would enjoy reading.

Maire is a hard character to sort in the opening bits of the novel – hard to know the inner workings of her mind and what makes her who she is in the evolving sense of the story. What we do know of her is that she’s a hard worker, a tough as nails Irish woman and she likes to get smashed on her days off; partially you might think to ease off the grit of her job but perhaps there is more behind her hardened exterior than the confining hours of her job as a lady’s maid?

As we move through her hours as a mad to Charlotte, we see how selfishly she and Marie’s brother Seanin are about going about having an illicit affair. The interesting bit about it is how they both think they are invisible to the consequences – of being able to get away with the affair as a whole and how they might never be found out. As we observe Maire having to deal with both sides of the affair – from aiding her brother’s arrival to having to tuck away evidence of their rendezvous in the mornings, you start to see more of who Maire is as a person. She’s frustrated to the hilt with her position as her obligation to Charlotte and to her brother are straining her resolve. It comes out as she’s mad at drink – trying to drown out the memories of the goings on under her nose whilst attempting to look towards a future where lives might not be as delicately edged with danger.

It was quite curious – Charlotte and Seanin were ill concerned with the foils of their romance – if anything, they were each equally guilty for giving into their lust for one another as they forsaked everything else in their lives to be together.

Before I could find myself invested in either Charlotte and Seanin’s love affair or the consuming self-criticisms of Maire who was not living a life she wanted to lead – I found myself questioning how this story was evolving for the reader. Although it was quite despairing how the two siblings had set themselves up to live in New York City – part of me questioned why they were still anchoured together in such a way as they had been. At some point, it felt more natural if they had go off to live their own lives without having to be singularly focused on one another. And, yet, despite that observation – it did have merit that Maire might want to be close to her brother as she was uniquely different than most who were living during this era of time.

Sexuality and alternative lifestyles during the 19th Century are not always explored in Historical Fiction and despite the fact I do regularly read LGBTQ+ narratives of interest – what I couldn’t find is an emotional connection to Maire. Her character felt rather cold to me and she was distanced a bit from my perspective. The hard bit about reading a story is if you cannot draw a measure of a connection to the lead or supporting cast – therein finding it harder to gain traction into the evolving landscape of where the novel will take you.

Before I even reached the middle of the novel – I found myself unable to continue reading. There just wasn’t enough in the opening bridge to give me a reason to stay rooted in the flow of the discovery of what was driving Maire to live this kind of a life. I had hoped to feel more connected to her and to want to see how her life would resolve as time moved forward but to be honest, I don’t believe this story was as good as a fit for me as a reader as I had hoped it would be. I think it would be better suited for readers who like the grittier side of the 19th Century – where it takes longer to feel connected to the characters and to where the evolving story-line(s) are not as finely connected to each other as you would have hoped.

Fly in the Ointment: Content Note:

This novel is written with a rather blunter edging to it than I would have preferred – not just the language, but the context of what is happening within the lives of the characters as well. The language choices are rough and they are equal to how everything is described for certain scenes wherein I was a bit surprised by how we arrived inside them without a lot of lead-in or foreshadowing. Overall, I found it to be a grittier read than I was thinking it would have been and thereby part of the reason I was not connecting to the content of the story.

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Whilst I read this novel, I listened to the Ambient Music Playlist via Spotify which not only worked well with the emotions of the story but it gave a fitting background to my reading.

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This Book Spotlight is courtesy of:

Atria Books / Simon & Schuster

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Be sure to visit my fellow book bloggers I was able to find
– wherein you can gather different perspectives on behalf of the novel:

Book Review of “The Parting Glass” | Royal Book Review

Interview with Gina Marie Guadagnino | Reading the Past

Book Review of “The Parting Glass” | Leave Me Alone I Am Reading

(*) note – though it is a bit tricky to find my fellow book bloggers who are receiving this novel for review from the publisher, I do try to seek them out and list their reviews for you to enjoy reading – whilst further gauging if this is a story you’d like to be reading yourself.

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 I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary! Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst readers who gravitate towards the same stories to read. Bookish conversations are always welcome!

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Reading this novel counted towards some of my 2019 reading challenges:

2019 HistFic Reading Challenge banner created by Jorie in Canva.

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2019 New Release Challenge created by for and is used with permission.

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{SOURCES: Book covers for “The Parting Glass”, book synopsis for “The Parting Glass”, author biography and author photograph of Gina Marie Guadagnino were all provided by Simon & Schuster (courtesy of Atria Books) and used with permission. Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Audiobook sampler of “The Parting Glass” was provided by embed codes provided by SoundCloud. 2019 New Release Challenge badge provided by and is used with permission. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Book Spotlight, Historical Fiction Reading Challenge banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2019.

I’m a social reader | I tweet my reading life

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Tuesday, 5 March, 2019 by jorielov in 19th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Historical Fiction, Simon & Schuster

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