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Monday, August 5, 2019

Bethlehem by Karen Kelly

Historical fiction coupled with a family story and the build up of relationships between adults, especially when it is a joint family. Rather unusual I thought for America.

We have Joanna from a middle class background with her two children moving to Bethlehem with her husband to a home where her in laws live. She has to find a fine balance of keeping her values and especially her parenting ideas intact, in the face of somewhat more lenient attitudes especially since money does not seem to be a problem.

Joanna is fearful that she is no longer a wife or a mother in her own right. That she is losing her identity and her spirit and she wanders away from the marriage dispirited. That is her story of the 1960s. Then we have the story of Susannah her mother in law, reserved and reticent, not really allowing anyone to get too close. There are too many secrets in the family and she is used to burying them deep underground hoping that the scandal will never be revived.

The two time lines were handled well. The two women were different in character, but both were strong women who handled issues head on. It was the women who were the main characters in the story.

The story was very well told and you do want to know how it is going to end.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of St. Martin's Press.


  1. I have heard about this book and been interested. Now I am even more intrigued. Thanks.

  2. Sounds really interesting! I'm glad to hear that the two timelines were well crafted. Great review!