Apart from the Crowd
For Mary, that means being remembered for her tragic losses, even if she'd rather get on with her life. For her cousin Ivan, as close as a brother, the gossip is all about how his wife took the kids and ran off with her new lover. For Mary's friend Penny, it's an old romance that didn't work out quite right, and a current affair with a bottle of vodka.
Then Sam Sullivan rents the cottage next door to Mary, and within hours the whole town is talking about the film-star-handsome American. When Sam hurts his back while helping his new neighbor and spends the next week confined to a mattress on her floor, gossip runs rampant. But neither Kenmare nor Mary know about the secrets Sam is so successfully hiding....
For Mary's circle of friends, Sam's arrival marks more than one change. And Mary -- whose unlucky history has kept her apart from the crowd much of her life -- has finally found a man with whom she feels she might truly connect. But so long as both are captive to memories they dare not reveal, the past is a barrier that will keep them forever alone.
In this powerful novel, Anna McPartlin perfectly captures the drama, the emotion, and the laughter of a small Irish community, for those who fit in -- and those who don't. Apart from the Crowd mixes wit and insight to create an engrossing tale that will keep you reading to the very last page.
Reading Group Guide
In a small town in Ireland called Kenmare, where everyone’s secrets are everyone’s business, five people begin a journey towards a renewal of love, faith, and hope. Mary is both beloved and whispered about in the town; the loss of her first love and her first child prove to some that she is marked by sorrow. Still, Mary is determined to find joy in her simple life and in those around her, especially her father, her beloved dog Mr. Monkels, and her best friend, Penny. Mary and Penny have been the closest of friends since Mary reached out to a lonely Penny when they were young girls at school, and Mary knows all about Penny’s secret affair with a married man – Adam, the same man that has loved Penny since she was a girl of twelve. However, even Mary doesn’t suspect the depth of Penny’s pain when her relationship with Adam ends – a pain that begins Penny’s slow spiral into addiction.
Sam, the mysterious American who moves in next door to Mary, knows about addiction all too well; he’s come to this quiet Irish town to escape the private—and public—demons of his past, and to learn to accept himself, flaws and all. All Sam really wants is some nice, quiet isolation—but he finds himself irresistibly drawn to Mary and to the people of Kenmare. Mary’ see more