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An unforgettable saga of love, loss, and exhilarating change spanning half a century in the lives of a restless family, from the author of the acclaimed novel The Law of Dreams.
Published: Pantheon Books on
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    This is a story about two generations in a family. The O'Brien brothers and sisters grew up in the Pontiac region of Quebec from the turn of the 20th century to the early 60s. This is apparently a sequel to an earlier book where the first O'Briens arrived in Canada but it isn't reliant on that so much that you couldn't pick this up and enjoy it. The main character is Joe O'Brien, the oldest brother. The children lose their mother to illness and have to deal with a stepfather who is an alcoholic. Two of the brothers, Joe and Grattan are the characters that continue through the story. The sisters are sent off to a convent and a third brother is sent to be a priest and we really don't see much of them again. Joe starts a business on the family property when he's only a teenager and builds up his businesses over the decades into a huge construction and engineering company. He meets Iseault in Venice, California. They marry and move to northern BC where Joe has a contract to build part of the Canadian Railway through the Rockies. This is the story of their life and family, their marraige which breaks down into bits several times. This is the story of their children's lives as well, and Grattan and his wife and daughter, through WWI, the depression and into WWII and beyond. The book is really well written and the characters of Joe and Iseault are very well developed, more so than the others because the book is from their points of view. It was easy to follow the various characters in both generations, something that's not always easy to do depending on the complexity of the writing but this author is very smooth with that. You really get a good sense of what life was like in Canada both in the remote rural areas of the mountains and in Montreal during the first half of the 20th century. Good characters, good dialogue. A good read.more
    Master storyteller Peter Behrens once again enthralls readers with the generation-spanning saga of "The O'Briens". Continuing the amazing story line that he began with "The Law of Dreams", Behrens moves into the late 19th-century lives of the Irish family who left their famine-ridden homeland to seek the land of dreams known as America. When young Joe O'Brien's father goes off to war, Joe becomes the man of the family at age fifteen. After his father's death, the man seeking to marry Joe's mother violates Joe's younger sisters. Seeking safety and a better life, Joe and his siblings leave the backwoods of the Canadian frontier and head toward the land of opportunity across the border. Joe O'Brien not only survives--he thrives. A fortuitous marriage and talent for making money propel Joe and his clan through a breathtakingly told tale of love, loss, and redemption, beginning in the remarkable era of the late 1800's. So much occurred during a relatively short period of time. Changes to technology, transportation, communications, social mores, religion, fashions, science and medicine, literature, art and entertainment. The American Civil War and its long-lasting aftereffects. The glory and grit of the American Old West. A very rich and revolutionary period in history. Later, the story moves into the 20th-century, depicting the thrill of the first flying machines, the sorrow of two world wars, and the election of America's Irish Prince, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, as president of the United States. In the 1970's, and on into the 80's, there were written wonderful, great big door-stopper books that depicted the epic lives of families such as the O'Briens. From those books, we were deluged with grand TV mini-series, which were celebrity-studded and star-making film extravaganzas. I miss those days! I was a young and impressionable reader and viewer, and I still remember those stories and series with a great fondness. I thank Peter Behrens for giving me back a sense of the splendor of those golden days. Review Copy Gratis Amazon Vinemore

    Reviews

    This is a story about two generations in a family. The O'Brien brothers and sisters grew up in the Pontiac region of Quebec from the turn of the 20th century to the early 60s. This is apparently a sequel to an earlier book where the first O'Briens arrived in Canada but it isn't reliant on that so much that you couldn't pick this up and enjoy it. The main character is Joe O'Brien, the oldest brother. The children lose their mother to illness and have to deal with a stepfather who is an alcoholic. Two of the brothers, Joe and Grattan are the characters that continue through the story. The sisters are sent off to a convent and a third brother is sent to be a priest and we really don't see much of them again. Joe starts a business on the family property when he's only a teenager and builds up his businesses over the decades into a huge construction and engineering company. He meets Iseault in Venice, California. They marry and move to northern BC where Joe has a contract to build part of the Canadian Railway through the Rockies. This is the story of their life and family, their marraige which breaks down into bits several times. This is the story of their children's lives as well, and Grattan and his wife and daughter, through WWI, the depression and into WWII and beyond. The book is really well written and the characters of Joe and Iseault are very well developed, more so than the others because the book is from their points of view. It was easy to follow the various characters in both generations, something that's not always easy to do depending on the complexity of the writing but this author is very smooth with that. You really get a good sense of what life was like in Canada both in the remote rural areas of the mountains and in Montreal during the first half of the 20th century. Good characters, good dialogue. A good read.more
    Master storyteller Peter Behrens once again enthralls readers with the generation-spanning saga of "The O'Briens". Continuing the amazing story line that he began with "The Law of Dreams", Behrens moves into the late 19th-century lives of the Irish family who left their famine-ridden homeland to seek the land of dreams known as America. When young Joe O'Brien's father goes off to war, Joe becomes the man of the family at age fifteen. After his father's death, the man seeking to marry Joe's mother violates Joe's younger sisters. Seeking safety and a better life, Joe and his siblings leave the backwoods of the Canadian frontier and head toward the land of opportunity across the border. Joe O'Brien not only survives--he thrives. A fortuitous marriage and talent for making money propel Joe and his clan through a breathtakingly told tale of love, loss, and redemption, beginning in the remarkable era of the late 1800's. So much occurred during a relatively short period of time. Changes to technology, transportation, communications, social mores, religion, fashions, science and medicine, literature, art and entertainment. The American Civil War and its long-lasting aftereffects. The glory and grit of the American Old West. A very rich and revolutionary period in history. Later, the story moves into the 20th-century, depicting the thrill of the first flying machines, the sorrow of two world wars, and the election of America's Irish Prince, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, as president of the United States. In the 1970's, and on into the 80's, there were written wonderful, great big door-stopper books that depicted the epic lives of families such as the O'Briens. From those books, we were deluged with grand TV mini-series, which were celebrity-studded and star-making film extravaganzas. I miss those days! I was a young and impressionable reader and viewer, and I still remember those stories and series with a great fondness. I thank Peter Behrens for giving me back a sense of the splendor of those golden days. Review Copy Gratis Amazon Vinemore
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