We meet Mary as she is fixing breakfast for her family. The cozy scene is described in rich detail, all the way down to the yogurt with granola and the purple flowers. But it turns out that Mary, with her nice home, sweet husband, and loving daughters, has issues. Huge issues, most of them stemming from an angry, senile old woman who lives with her, who may or may not be Mary's mother. From there, the book follows Mary's story and is supposed to unravel the mystery of her life as a little girl in Ireland who was given away at age 5 to a couple in America, and the ensuing trauma she endures as a result of this catastrophic change.
The book does a fairly good job with the chronological timeline, but I was frequently irritated with the wordiness on trivialities and the lack of detail in the parts that really mattered. For instance, when she met her husband to be and suddenly realized she loved him, they talked and " hours later, they shut the restaurant down." Much more was said about the weather on Mary's walk to the restaurant than about the conversation that established her relationship with her husband. There were several parts like that.
After some years of marriage, Mary meets Sally, and they become friends. Sally endures Mary's rudeness, her mood swings, her anger. And Mary confides in her. The story unfolds as Mary opens up to Sally, and the mystery of Mary's younger life comes to light. Included in this enlightenment was her conversion, but the cliched Christian phrases just came across as trite and pat, almost as if the author knew they needed to be included.
I wanted to find reasons to like the book, but it just never took off. I felt bogged down by Mary's incessant negativity and after a while, sadly, I stopped caring.