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Rare Objects: A Novel
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Published:
Harper 2016
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Available from OverDrive
Description

In Depression-era Boston, a city divided by privilege and poverty, two unlikely friends are bound by a dangerous secret in this mesmerizing novel by the New York Times bestselling author of The Perfume Collector.

Maeve Fanning is a first generation Irish immigrant, born and raised among the poor, industrious Italian families of Boston's North End by her widowed mother. Clever, capable, and as headstrong as her red hair suggests, she's determined to better herself despite the overwhelming hardships of the Great Depression.

However, Maeve also has a dangerous fondness for strange men and bootleg gin—a rebellious appetite that soon finds her spiraling downward, leading a double life. When the strain proves too much, Maeve becomes an unwilling patient in a psychiatric hospital, where she strikes up a friendship with an enigmatic young woman, who, like Maeve, is unable or unwilling to control her un-lady-like desire for freedom.

Once out, Maeve faces starting over again. Armed with a bottle of bleach and a few white lies, she lands a job at an eccentric antiques shop catering to Boston's wealthiest and most peculiar collectors. Run by an elusive English archeologist, the shop is a haven of the obscure and incredible, providing rare artifacts as well as unique access to the world of America's social elite. While delivering a purchase to the wealthy Van der Laar family, Maeve is introduced to beautiful socialite Diana Van der Laar—only to discover she's the young woman from the hospital.

Reunited with the charming but increasingly unstable Diana and pursued by her attractive brother James, Mae becomes more and more entwined with the Van der Laar family—a connection that pulls her into a world of moral ambiguity and deceit, and ultimately betrayal. Bewitched by their wealth and desperate to leave her past behind, Maeve is forced to unearth her true values and discover how far she'll to go to reinvent herself.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
04/12/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780062357564
ASIN:
B00OG904Q6
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Kathleen Tessaro. (2016). Rare Objects: A Novel. Harper.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Kathleen Tessaro. 2016. Rare Objects: A Novel. Harper.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Kathleen Tessaro, Rare Objects: A Novel. Harper, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Kathleen Tessaro. Rare Objects: A Novel. Harper, 2016. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 17:12:07
Date Updated:
Dec 06, 2020 20:39:33
Last Metadata Check:
Sep 12, 2021 09:04:10
Last Metadata Change:
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        Kathleen Tessaro is the author of Elegance, Innocence, The Flirt, The Debutante, The Perfume Collector, and Rare Objects. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband and son.

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shortDescription

In Depression-era Boston, a city divided by privilege and poverty, two unlikely friends are bound by a dangerous secret in this mesmerizing novel by the New York Times bestselling author of The Perfume Collector.

Maeve Fanning is a first generation Irish immigrant, born and raised among the poor, industrious Italian families of Boston's North End by her widowed mother. Clever, capable, and as headstrong as her red hair suggests, she's determined to better herself despite the overwhelming hardships of the Great Depression.

However, Maeve also has a dangerous fondness for strange men and bootleg gin—a rebellious appetite that soon finds her spiraling downward, leading a double life. When the strain proves too much, Maeve becomes an unwilling patient in a psychiatric hospital, where she strikes up a friendship with an enigmatic young woman, who, like Maeve, is unable or unwilling to control her un-lady-like desire for freedom.

Once out,...

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title
Rare Objects
fullDescription

In Depression-era Boston, a city divided by privilege and poverty, two unlikely friends are bound by a dangerous secret in this mesmerizing novel by the New York Times bestselling author of The Perfume Collector.

Maeve Fanning is a first generation Irish immigrant, born and raised among the poor, industrious Italian families of Boston's North End by her widowed mother. Clever, capable, and as headstrong as her red hair suggests, she's determined to better herself despite the overwhelming hardships of the Great Depression.

However, Maeve also has a dangerous fondness for strange men and bootleg gin—a rebellious appetite that soon finds her spiraling downward, leading a double life. When the strain proves too much, Maeve becomes an unwilling patient in a psychiatric hospital, where she strikes up a friendship with an enigmatic young woman, who, like Maeve, is unable or unwilling to control her un-lady-like desire for freedom.

Once out, Maeve faces starting over again. Armed with a bottle of bleach and a few white lies, she lands a job at an eccentric antiques shop catering to Boston's wealthiest and most peculiar collectors. Run by an elusive English archeologist, the shop is a haven of the obscure and incredible, providing rare artifacts as well as unique access to the world of America's social elite. While delivering a purchase to the wealthy Van der Laar family, Maeve is introduced to beautiful socialite Diana Van der Laar—only to discover she's the young woman from the hospital.

Reunited with the charming but increasingly unstable Diana and pursued by her attractive brother James, Mae becomes more and more entwined with the Van der Laar family—a connection that pulls her into a world of moral ambiguity and deceit, and ultimately betrayal. Bewitched by their wealth and desperate to leave her past behind, Maeve is forced to unearth her true values and discover how far she'll to go to reinvent herself.

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Rare Objects A Novel
crossRefId
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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Hazel Gaynor, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Came Home and A Memory of Violets
      • content: "A beautifully written, thoroughly absorbing novel, full of rich historical detail and intriguing characters. A delight from start to end."
      • premium: False
      • source: Charles Belfoure, New York Times bestselling author of HOUSE OF THIEVES AND THE PARIS ARCHITECT
      • content: "Excellent. . . Tessaro has the skill to transport the reader to another time and place. She put me on the streets of Boston's North End. But her description of places and sensations throughout the book are wonderful."
      • premium: False
      • source: Library Journal
      • content: "Period details, exquisite antiques, and Maeve's resilient immigrant community enhance this understated story. Tessaro's sixth novel (after THE FLIRT) will please her fans as well as historical fiction readers seeking a detailed sense of place and a character's journey."
      • premium: False
      • source: Stephanie Lehmann, author of Astor Place Vintage
      • content: "Set in Depression-era Boston, Kathleen Tessaro's lovely novel about prized possessions, slick façades, broken lives, and a young woman with a past is a treasure!"
      • premium: False
      • source: Adriana Trigiani, New York Times bestselling author of All the Stars in the Heavens
      • content: "Rare Objects is a delicious novel by the imaginative and deft Kathleen Tessaro, who creates unforgettable worlds, and within them, compelling characters who stay with the reader long after she reaches the end."
      • premium: False
      • source: Isabel Wolff, author of Ghostwritten
      • content: "I love Tessaro's novels and Rare Objects does not disappoint. A glamorous tale of ambition and deception, it is beautifully written, meticulously researched and so vividly characterised that I felt I knew Diana and Mae. A wonderfully absorbing and diverting read with a clever twist in the tale."
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly
      • content: "Tessaro's complicated heroines—and the shattering reveal of secret after secret—will keep readers guessing until the final page."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        February 15, 2016
        Tessaro’s (The Perfume Collector) sixth novel navigates a complicated friendship between two damaged young women in 1932 Boston. After finishing secretarial school, Maeve Fanning moved to New York to seek her fortune—a venture that lasted less than a year and ended with a stay in a mental institution. Now she’s returned to her native Boston, and in order to put New York behind her, she decides to reinvent herself. She dyes her red hair blond, shortens her name to the less Irish-sounding May, and fibs her way into a job as a sales clerk at Winshaw and Kessler Antiques, where her penchant for embellishment proves to be an asset. May’s cover is nearly blown when young socialite Diana Van der Laar recognizes her from their shared time in the mental institution. Bound by this secret, May and Diana become fast friends, and May’s suddenly swept up in the wild social scene of Boston’s upper crust. An illicit affair with Diana’s dashing older brother complicates the friendship, as does Diana’s own secrets. To varying degrees of success, Tessaro overlays a historical setting and antiquated moral code onto some very modern-feeling situations. An intriguing correspondence between May and the shop’s mysterious absentee co-owner brings further entertainment and character insight, though it doesn’t fit seamlessly into the rest of the plot. Still, Tessaro’s complicated heroines—and the shattering reveal of secret after secret—will keep readers guessing until the final page. Agent: Jennifer Joel, ICM Partners.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        April 1, 2016

        In the early 1930s, Maeve Fanning leaves her stifling and impoverished life in Boston to make her way in New York City. Things don't go as planned, and she ends up being committed to a psychiatric hospital after a suicide attempt. Upon release, she returns home to start over, still battling an addiction to alcohol. Disguising her red hair and Irish heritage, she secures a job at an antique shop filled with extravagant goods and wealthy customers. Maeve quickly realizes one of the customers was a fellow patient at the hospital and is blackmailed into an uneasy friendship with Diana Van der Laar. Maeve also fights her attraction to Diana's arrogant brother and starts an intimate correspondence with the antique shop's absent co-owner in an inevitable love triangle. Only by getting help and learning to rely on her own strength will Maeve be able to reinvent herself and truly realize a better life. VERDICT Period details, exquisite antiques, and Maeve's resilient immigrant community enhance this understated story. Tessaro's sixth novel (after The Flirt) will please her fans as well as historical fiction readers seeking a detailed sense of place and a character's journey. [See Prepub Alert, 1/5/15.]--Emily Byers, Salem P.L., OR

        Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        February 1, 2016
        In the waning days of Prohibition, a young woman derives life lessons from artifacts of the ancient world. In Tessaro's (The Perfume Collector, 2014, etc.) latest novel, Maeve, whose childhood was overshadowed by her father's early death, escapes her North Boston neighborhood for New York City. But soon she's back, defeated by stints as a taxi dancer and, after a hooch-fueled suicide attempt, asylum inmate. Living with her embittered mother and looking for work at the worst possible time--in the middle of the Great Depression--Maeve dyes her red hair blonde to avoid anti-Irish prejudice and stumbles onto a job in an antiques shop, Winshaw and Kessler Antiquities. Co-owner Mr. Winshaw appears to be permanently absent, off on archaeological digs, occasionally sending back treasures such as a Harrow Painter Greek vase, circa 480-470 B.C.E., which is acquired by the mysterious Van der Laar family. Maeve, who now goes by May, is sent by Mr. Kessler to complete the sale at the Van der Laars' seaside mansion, where the daughter of the house, Diana, recognizes her--they were co-residents of the asylum, although Diana was in the affluent wing. May and Diana form a friendship that is complicated by several factors, not least Diana's playboy brother James' interest in May and the fact that Diana's wealth and connections expose May to unlimited alcohol. Although purporting to be Diana's protector and May's potential rescuer, James is mostly absent pursuing the family's obscure and possibly criminal dealings in South Africa's diamond trade. After May turns up drunk at Diana's in-town pied-a-terre, her friend conducts the 1930s equivalent of an intervention. Now May confines her drinking to trysts with James. Another subplot involving May's Italian neighbors highlights the stark contrast between May's rootlessness and the allure of conventional domestic life. However, too often the quandaries and inner turmoil May experiences are described rather than shown. This novel meanders more than the Odyssey to which it frequently pays homage.

        COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        April 1, 2016
        Maeve Fanning has returned to Boston's cold and crowded North End neighborhood after a disastrous stay in New York, but she's fairly certain that her luck is about to change. A tall, striking Irish lass with street smarts and a sharp tongue, Maeve bleaches her hair and invents a believable backstory as May from Albany. May lands a job at a posh antiques store, surrounded by gorgeous wares, eccentric collectors, and exotic travelers. The store attracts an incredibly wealthy clientele, and high society is very intrigued by the new girl. Suddenly, May's fresh start seems to be haunted by ghosts of her past, and her web of secrets and lies is threatening to collapse. Tessaro's eye for historical detail is impressive, blending the fashion, music, and cultural attitudes of 1930s Boston into a richly layered story. Readers of her previous work will recognize the author's spin on the fish-out-of-water trope, cleverly crafted with a beguiling heroine amid sumptuous scenery. Rare Objects examines the fragility of self-preservation and the power of personal reinvention.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2016, American Library Association.)

subtitle
A Novel
popularity
478
publisher
Harper
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