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Ashes of Fiery Weather

Cover of Ashes of Fiery Weather

Ashes of Fiery Weather

One of Brooklyn magazine's 100 Books to Read for the Rest of 2016
One of Book Riot's 100 Must-Read New York City Novels

"A remarkably authentic portrait, rich in memorable detail, with characters that come so vividly to life one forgets one is reading a novel . . . An impressive feat. Anyone Irish will face an uncanny recognition in these pages; everyone else will be enthralled meeting such captivating figures. Prepare to settle in." — Matthew Thomas, New York Times best-selling author of We Are Not Ourselves
Firefighters walk boldly into battle against the most capricious of elements. Their daughters, mothers, sisters, and wives walk through the world with another kind of strength and another kind of sorrow, and no one knows that better than the women of the Keegan-O'Reilly clan. In Ashes of Fiery Weather, debut novelist Kathleen Donohoe takes us from famine-era Ireland to New York City a decade after 9/11, illuminating the passionate loves and tragic losses of six generations of women in a firefighting family.
Here is a tour de force in the tradition of Let the Great World Spin. Exquisitely attuned to the language, humor, and history of her own firefighting family, Donohoe presents portraits of seven unforgettable characters—laying bare the many ways we search for each other, and the many ways we hope to be rescued.

"A stunning and intimate portrayal of four generations of New York City firefighters . . . Extraordinary. Ashes of a Fiery Weather somehow manages to be part Alice McDermott, part Denis Leary, and ultimately a worthy addition to the canon of great New York ethnic novels." Irish America

One of Brooklyn magazine's 100 Books to Read for the Rest of 2016
One of Book Riot's 100 Must-Read New York City Novels

"A remarkably authentic portrait, rich in memorable detail, with characters that come so vividly to life one forgets one is reading a novel . . . An impressive feat. Anyone Irish will face an uncanny recognition in these pages; everyone else will be enthralled meeting such captivating figures. Prepare to settle in." — Matthew Thomas, New York Times best-selling author of We Are Not Ourselves
Firefighters walk boldly into battle against the most capricious of elements. Their daughters, mothers, sisters, and wives walk through the world with another kind of strength and another kind of sorrow, and no one knows that better than the women of the Keegan-O'Reilly clan. In Ashes of Fiery Weather, debut novelist Kathleen Donohoe takes us from famine-era Ireland to New York City a decade after 9/11, illuminating the passionate loves and tragic losses of six generations of women in a firefighting family.
Here is a tour de force in the tradition of Let the Great World Spin. Exquisitely attuned to the language, humor, and history of her own firefighting family, Donohoe presents portraits of seven unforgettable characters—laying bare the many ways we search for each other, and the many ways we hope to be rescued.

"A stunning and intimate portrayal of four generations of New York City firefighters . . . Extraordinary. Ashes of a Fiery Weather somehow manages to be part Alice McDermott, part Denis Leary, and ultimately a worthy addition to the canon of great New York ethnic novels." Irish America

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  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 20, 2016
    This breathtaking first novel spans several generations of Irish-American women whose lives revolve around the Glory Devlins, the Brooklyn fire company of which their loved ones are members. In 1983, we meet Norah O’Reilly, whose firefighter husband, Sean, has just died in a fire, leaving her to raise four children on her own. The story then travels back and forth in time, introducing Sean’s mother, Delia Keegan O’Reilly, a closeted lesbian; Annie-Rose Devlin Keegan, Delia’s mother, who loses two young sons to the influenza pandemic of 1918; and Sean’s adopted sister, Eileen O’Reilly Maddox, one of the FDNY’s first female firefighters. The story builds up to Sept. 11, 2001, as Sean’s daughter, Maggie, a graduate student in Irish literature studying in Ireland, tries desperately to learn news of her family. It all ends with Katie McKenna, the 20-year-old daughter Maggie gave up for adoption at birth, trying to find her biological roots 11 years after her adoptive mother died in the South Tower. The child of a family of Irish-American firefighters, the author shows how tradition, sorrow, and love of the old country bind these lives together. Her depiction of 9/11 is by far one of the best fictional accounts by that terrible day in which 343 members of the FDNY perished. In the end, her novel is a moving testament to the men and women who risk their lives every day.

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    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Ashes of Fiery Weather
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Kathleen Donohoe
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