Rare Objects by Kathleen Tessaro
Everyone in this story has something to hide. We meet Maeve Fanning while in a psychiatric hospital because she is wild and miserable and loves her bootleg gin a bit too much and had an abortion. That’s a lot to hide if you are Irish in 1930’s Boston. She meets there a young woman who is a mysteriously miserable young lady.
Maeve is released from the hospital and goes home to her mother in the Italian neighborhood of Boston and is determined to remake herself with a job and opportunities that will get her out of said neighborhood. Despite being in the middle of the Great Depression, she uses her wily personality to change her appearance and finds a job at an elite antique establishment that caters to the very moneyed of Boston and New York museums. After delivering a purchase to the Van der Laar family, she recognizes their daughter Diana as the young troubled woman she met in the hospital. And this is where Maeve’s real remaking begins.
Diana is determined to bring Maeve into her life, though she can’t wait to escape it. Maeve is star struck by the money and privilege Diana enjoys, but trying to live a double life is exhausting and rarely handled sober. When she is at work and home and in her neighborhood she is one person. When she is with Diana’s family she is another, and when she is with them she might as well be on the moon.
As I said, everyone has something to hide and eventually it all comes to play, some with better results than others.
I was mistaken about what I thought might be a story that for me was overly light. Like the characters, the story hid it’s message well, but that made the hunt more enjoyable.