Bethlehem

Bethlehem

by Karen Kelly

Hardcover

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Overview

With the atmospheric storytelling of Kate Morton and Lisa Wingate, Karen Kelly weaves a shattering debut about two intertwined families and the secrets that they buried during the gilded, glory days of Bethlehem, PA.

A young woman arrives at the grand ancestral home of her husband’s family, hoping to fortify her deteriorating marriage. But what she finds is not what she expected: tragedy haunts the hallways, whispering of heartache and a past she never knew existed.

Bethlehem is a multigenerational saga that weaves together the lives of two prominent families during the historic steel boom era of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Inspired by the true titans of the industry, Bethlehem is a mystery, a love story, and a tragedy. It is a story of temptation and regret; a story of secrets and the cost of keeping them; a story of forgiveness. It is the tale of two complex women: the dynamic and beautiful Susannah Parrish Collier and her daughter-in-law, the outsider Joanna Rafferty Collier. Thrown together in the name of family, they will unravel mysteries long hidden and complex that have threatened to tear apart a dynasty.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250201492
Publisher: St. Martin''s Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/09/2019
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 21,131
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Karen Kelly has a BA in English from Vanderbilt University, and lives in Edina, Minnesota. She is the author of Prospice and Bethlehem.

Christina Delaine is a SOVAS Voice Arts Award and multiple AudioFile Earphones Award-winning narrator who has recorded over 100 audiobooks. She is also an Audie Award nominee. An accomplished stage and voice actor, Delaine has appeared on stages across the country and has voiced scores of commercials and video games.

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Bethlehem 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
wjane 9 days ago
Bethlehem by Karen Kelly is a wonderful story of family, secrets and love that endures. Historical fiction about a family in the 1920‘s to 1960‘s surrounded by romance, tragedy and mystery.. I enjoyed the suspense of the situations involving the characters and how their lives are affected. I loved this book so much I immediately searched for other books by Karen Kelly and purchased her first book. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. I appreciate the opportunity and thank the author and publisher for allowing me to read, enjoy and review this book.
JeanK 9 days ago
Karen Kelly presents a story of temptation and forgiveness that alternates between the 1920s and 1962. When Frank Collier’s father dies, he decides to move his wife Joanna and their two children back to Brynmor, the home where he grew up. All of the possessions that reflect Joanna’s personality have been left behind and living with Frank’s mother and grandmother is sometimes uncomfortable. Passing the local cemetery on a walk with the children, Joanna encounters Doe, a friend of the family. Doe’s grandson Daniel has recently moved in to help with the maintenance of the cemetery. Daniel is sympathetic and willing to listen to Joanna and she finds herself drawn to him. Frank’s mother Susannah Parrish grew up at Brynmor with her sister India and brother Kit in the 1920s. The Parrish family was close to the Collier family and the two Collier sons, Chap and Wyatt, spent their time with Susannah and her siblings. From their early childhood, Wyatt has been in love with Susannah. As they grow older and Wyatt goes away to college he makes his intentions clear to Susannah, but in his absence she is drawn to someone else. When tragedy strikes, it is Wyatt who is ther for her and offers his support. Susannah’s past makes her more sympathetic toward Joanna’s situation than she realizes. Her support ultimately helps Joanna see the path that she must take. You watch these two women grow and mature as the story progresses. You are presented with moments of joy as well as sorrow as you feel yourself being drawn into their lives. This is a story that is beautifully written and one that I can highly recommend. I would like to thank NetGalley and St Martin’s Press for providing this book for my review.
Reader4102 9 days ago
While this debut novel is hard to classify and define, it is a read that should be savored for the story-telling abilities of its author, Karen Kelly. The opening chapters where Kelly introduces a plethora of characters are slow going and can be confusing because of the sheer number of characters. However, the bottom line this is about three generations of women, Joanna, a mother of two and the young wife of Frank Collier, Frank’s mother Susannah, and his grandmother, who are all living in the Collier family home. As Joanna struggles with raising her two children alone since her husband is seldom at home, she must also deal with her disappointment at being uprooted from her own home and plunked down with the other two women. The author’s story is developed slowly and with deliberation. Her descriptions of both time and place are precise are well written. The story line, while certainly not new, is unique. If you are looking for a traditional historical story book, this isn’t the book for you because the time line isn’t set in a single year or decade. But if you are looking for a well-written book featuring families, secrets, strong women, with a bit of mystery thrown in for good measure, and some time spent in the 1920s, then this will be a book you’ll want to put at the top of your to-be-read list. My thanks to thanks to St. Martin’s Press and Edelweiss for an eARC.
Patsy-S 9 days ago
Bethlehem by Karen Kelly is a very interesting book. It centers on a group of families connected by the Steel Industry in Bethlehem Pennsylvania. It switches between Bethlehem in the 1920’s and the 1960’s. It may take a few chapters to get the different generations sorted but after you will love the story. You will see how the characters evolve with the times. You also discover those people you feel you had nothing in common with may understand you the most. In the end, you will love going along journey with these families.
GGGeiss 4 days ago
This book, so thoroughly enveloped me, like a cozy blanket. I enjoyed it from start to finish. Karen Kelly is a skilled and fluent writer, able to convey a well constructed tale. This novel is thoughtful, intriguing and heartfelt. I loved every one of the characters, along with some of the well kept secrets and aching longings. I do not write about the story line in my reviews, that can be gleened from the book flap. The intimacies shared, along with the tragedies, wove a truly ruminative narrative. I highly recommend this book. It’s one of the finest I have had the privilege to read as an ARC from Netgalley. Thank you Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press.
Mimiphilly 7 days ago
Oh, this was gorgeous I loved the switching beween time periods - 20s and 60s. Well written, hauntingly told story - characters you really care about I'd not read any Karen Kelly but would absolutely recommend and will be watching out for more This would make a great book club book and also a fantastic holiday read My thanks to netgalley for ARC - a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review - absolutely loved it
lsmoore_43 9 days ago
This was such a good story. It jumped from the 1960s to the 1918s. It flowed so smoothly and was told in such a way that you really felt you was there in each time frame. Great characters and so well written. I truly enjoyed reading this book. It was a very quick read for me and so enjoyable. This was a first for me by this author and I hope to read more. A 4.5 star book for me and I highly recommend it. Thank you to #NetGalley, #St Martin’s Press for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
jbarr5 9 days ago
Bethlehem by Karen Kelly Always been fascinated by the steel industry in our travels. Enjoyed this read from a new author to me for many reasons. I learned new words, love hearing of the location that we've by many times, the mine stories and the history. Drama of the women and who they marry, their lives before and after as they grow older. Secrets kept and pain they do cause over time. Very detailed descriptions I can picture the scenes in my mind. Would like to read more from this author. Received this review copy via the publicist from St. Martin's Press via NetGalley and this is my honest opinion. #NetGalley
lauriesophee 9 days ago
I truly enjoyed this novel about a wealthy family from years passed in Bethlehem Pennsylvania. The chapters span from the 1920's to the 1960's. Though it is a bit hard to follow all that is happening in the beginning of this book, it will all nicely come together as the story progresses. Joanna lives in a beautiful old mansion in Bethlehem Pa with her husband, two children, Mother- in-law and Grandmother in- law. It is not easy! Joanna is not used to a life of privilege. She is not in charge of her own home any longer, but living with two matriarchs who dominate this home. Susannah, her mother-in-law though lovely and polite, is just not a warm and fuzzy woman. Why? As time goes forward, the truth and secrets long buried, will come forth and the family relationships will grow and change. I absolutely loved this quote from the story: "The fact that some skin doesn't show scars does not mean there haven't been wounds." A message to take away, that is true in each person we meet daily.
teachlz 9 days ago
Linda Zagon's review Jul 08, 2019 · edit really liked it Linda's Book Obsession Reviews "Bethlehem" by Karen Kelley, St Martins Press, July 9, 2019 Karen Kelly, Author of "Bethlehem" writes a Fiction novel, with some Historical Background. There are two storylines from around 1918 and 1962, two timelines that eventually connect. There is suspense, secrets, betrayals, romance, and twists and turns. Karen Kelly describes her characters as complex and complicated. The author discusses the importance of family, forgiveness, love, and hope. The Historical part of the story describes the upstart of Bethlehem Steel, and the importance of the use of such materials, as well as the wealth it provided some families. The story is also described in the cemetery and the caretakers who know the history of the town. I would recommend this suspenseful and surprising novel.
CynB 1 days ago
Bethlehem, by Karen Kelly, is a family saga that is situated in Bethlehem, PA, home to Bethlehem Steel. It focuses on two prominent and intertwined families, two time periods, and two women. In the 1960’s, Joanna moves with her husband and two children into the ancestral home of her in-laws, including her mother-in-law, Susannah. In the 1920’s, we meet the young Susannah, a debutante and a young woman in love. Both women are complex, mysterious, and struggle to figure out what values and whose needs are most important. Although there is a mystery that is resolved, this story is driven almost entirely by the character study of the two women. Unfortunately, the complexity of these two women is somewhat obscured by the deluge of minor characters and the pace of the first half. While Kelly writes beautifully and evokes the landscape of Bethlehem and Lehigh University (where I once taught), location does not seem to matter all that much to the plot. Also, it is noteworthy that the 20’s and 60’s were both times of great social, political, and economic upheaval that deeply impacted the lives of women. Yet, neither woman seemed to be touched. I am not sure I would characterize this novel as historical fiction. Nonetheless, I recommend this novel. Joanna and Susannah will stay with me for a long time. They reinforce the message that our lives are often determined by random events which we control only in the way we respond. Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read an electronic ARC in exchange for an honest review.
KerryACroucier 2 days ago
A Dazzling Debut! With a dual timeline focusing on two strong female characters, the family saga focuses on the intertwined Parish and Collier families. Beginning in 1960, Joanna and Frank Collier and their two children move into Frank’s family home after his father’s death, joining his mother and grandmother. Joanna is from a working-class family and has a tough time adjusting to the wealth of her husband’s steel-magnate family. In her explorations, she befriends the cemetery caretaker and her grandson, finding a bit of normalcy and a few secrets, which send us back in time to find more about the family history. A slow-burning story, you won’t realize you are hooked until you can’t put it down. This is a well-written story with characters that are realistic and intricately drawn. A novel of family, secrets, love, and more tragedy than I expected, the wrap up was beautiful and heart-breaking. #Bethlehem #KarenKelly #StMartinsPress
bamcooks 4 days ago
*Between 3 and 3.5 stars This is a family saga set in Bethlehem, PA and centers around three generations of matriarchs, grandmother, mother, and daughter-law, which is told in two alternating timelines: 1918 and 1962. The story gets off to a rather slow start, which is perhaps its greatest flaw. I was surprised there wasn't a more dramatic lead-in to the story before plunging into the mundane everyday lives. About midway through, I was pleased to find myself totally immersed in the story so I was glad I had the patience to hang in there. Lots of trials and tribulations, and what some may call a bit of melodrama, but with a strong cast of supporting characters to see them through with unconditional love: "I'm never here to judge you; I'm only here to help you." I found myself liking these women very much. I received an arc of this book from the publisher via netGalley for an honest review. Many thanks for the opportunity.
CatesBookshelf 7 days ago
As a nearly lifelong resident of the Lehigh Valley I was extremely excited to see a book that takes place in my back yard! I will say, there were a few times I was disappointed in some geographical inaccuracies, but the actual story was fascinating. I found myself getting lost in and consumed by the stories and characters.
Aqswr 8 days ago
Moody and romantic, this historical fiction moves on two timelines that dovetail neatly to provide inspiration and closure for two families intertwined across generations. Author Karen Kelly does a good job recreating both time periods, 1962 and 1918, and her principal characters are engaging and absorbing. The only stumbling blocks for me were the inclusion of extra family members who were only walk-on characters, at best, and oh so many nicknames! I realize the habits of this particular social group is to nickname themselves like crazy but with the addition of so many needless walk-ones, I almost lost sight of the plot. The book gets really good about half way through and becomes impossible to put down at that point. Don’t give up on the slow start, it’s worth the effort. I received my copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
nfam 8 days ago
Family Secrets Shadow the Lives of Three Generations of Women With the death of Frank Collier’s father, he takes on the responsibility for management of the family’s steel company in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Frank’s extended trips leave Joanna alone with the two children. This situation is putting strain on their marriage, so Joanna agrees to move to the estate owned by Frank’s family. The house is already occupied by Frank’s mother, Susannah, and his grandmother. Although the women are friendly, Joanna feels increasingly out of place. The mansion reeks of tragedy. Although Joanna thought the move would bring her closer to Frank, she finds that her loneliness is driving them further apart. If you enjoy books with haunting mansions, family secrets, and romance, this is a well done book. The opening is a little hard to get through. Many characters are introduced all with both nicknames and given names which are used throughout the text. However, the characters are compelling. The stories of Joanna and Susannah are told in the time periods of the 1920’s and the 1960’s. I found Susannah’s story more dramatic, but Joanna’s story of trying repair her marriage is also interesting. The background is mostly about the family, but we get glimpses of the steel industry particularly in the 1820. The ending is the part that makes the book. It’s surprising and thoroughly satisfying. I received this book from St. Martin’s Press for this review.
CharlotteLynnsReviews 8 days ago
Karen Kelly is a new author to me so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I found Bethlehem to be a book that kept me wanting to turn pages to learn more about the characters and the town of Bethlehem. The story of Frank and Joanna who go to live at Frank’s family home along with their two children are set in the 1960s. In the home resides the two matriarchs of the family, Frank’s mother and grandmother. This leaves Joanna feeling like she is a visitor in her home, decisions are made without her being asked, her children are given freedoms and without her consent, and Frank is always at work. Joanna feels like she is losing herself. The mother-in-law, Susannah, also gets to tell her story that starts in the 1920s and leads to the revealing secrets that she has kept close to the heart to not cause any family problems. I felt that the start was a little hard to follow because there were so many characters introduced at one time. I struggled to keep them straight and to follow who’s story I was reading. As the story continued it became easier to figure out and I grew more attached to both the characters and the story itself. Bethlehem is a woman’s historical fiction. It tells of life in a town that is supported by the U.S Steel industry but goes on to show the bond between a mother and daughter and the struggles of marriage. The cover should draw your attention but the storyline will keep you entertained.
The_Brown_Bookloft 8 days ago
Summary: Joanna Collier recently moved into her husband’s family home in Pennsylvania with her two young children, Charlie and Daisy. Frank Collier moved them there to help his aging mother after his father died. With her husband working and traveling most of the time, Joanna is feeling at loose ends, not quite sure of her place in the Collier family’s overly-large house or her relationship with her aloof mother-in-law, Susanna. On a walk with her children, Joanna meets Doe, one of the caretakers of the local cemetery. Doe is a charming, if someone fey woman, who gives Joanna a much warmer welcome than she feels at home. Doe’s grandson, Daniel, is also on the premises. Joanna is drawn to the laconic, gentle man, who listens to her far more than her husband does. Loneliness drives Joanna to make a serious mistake that could potentially destroy her marriage. But she finds an unexpected ally in her mother-in-law, who has secrets of her own. Comments: This novel takes place in two time periods, the 20’s and 60’s. Joanna’s is the more current story, but the more compelling, complex tale is the older one–that of two families whose lives are entwined for generations. I found the novel interesting and enjoyable, but not riveting. I did like the setting, having grown up on the east coast and experiencing the boom and bust of the steel industry. Recommended for readers of General Fiction and those who enjoy family sagas.
Christianfictionandmore 9 days ago
Bethlehem is set in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in the 1920s and the 1960s. It is the story of relationships within and among two prominent families, and the lengths they would go to to maintain those relationships. It is a story of loss, of secrets, and of forgiveness. Karen Kelly paints the story with masterful strokes deepened by the beauty of the language with which she paints. The painting has a darkness to it, but the colors are rich, and the final strokes bring light to her canvas. While this book differs from the Christian fiction I typically review, the language is not offensive and, while there is great passion, there are no passionate scenes that one would take offense to. The book, though not Christian fiction, points to Jesus by demonstrating how attending church out of duty or to meet societies expectations without coming to know Jesus as Lord and Savior is often self-destructive. I would recommend Bethlehem to my friends, and am grateful to St. Martin's Press for providing me with a copy in exchange for my honest opinion. I was under no obligation to write a positive review and received no monetary compensation.
HomeSweetHouser 9 days ago
Bravo to my fellow Vanderbilt graduate, Karen Kelly, on a beautifully written novel! This one is a sweeping family drama that takes place over several generations. In this way, it reminded me of Kate Morton's The Clockmaker's Daughter or Sarah Blake's The Guest Book, both of which I adored. So I'm happy to be able to add Bethlehem to these incredible titles. A woman and her family move into her husband's family home to watch over his mother and grandmother after his father passes away. And family secrets will be revealed as the past is uncovered. I'm hesitant to give any more of a synopsis because you need to read this one for yourself to appreciate Karen Kelly's storytelling. The one thing that was a tad difficult for me was getting all of the names and relationships straight for the first 20% or so of the book. But, there is a really nice family tree drawn in the front of the book that helped me get everything straight. Once I had a handle on the family relationships and dynamics, it was smooth sailing the rest of the book. I would highly recommend if you tend to like sweeping family dramas! -I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Karen Kelly, and St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to review.-
Jolie 9 days ago
I almost didn’t accept the invite to review for Bethlehem. The blurb didn’t sell the book. I also decided to read some of the reviews on Goodreads before making my decision. What made my decision for me was the cover. I thought it was beautiful. I thought that Bethlehem was well written. The author did a great job of bringing the characters to life. The writing was descriptive and drew me right in. I love it when a story does that. My issue with the book fell with the characters. While they were well written, I couldn’t connect with them. I must connect with at least one character in the book. I did like the plotlines. I thought that they were well written and flushed out. I was able to immerse myself in the plotline. I also liked the dual plotlines. There were dropped storylines and characters that seemed to disappear. The storyline that I am referring to was the one with Daniel and Joanna. I did think that it was going in a specific direction. Then it was dropped, and Daniel was never heard from again. Drove me nuts. I needed to know what happened to Daniel!! I didn’t like Joanna. She didn’t try to cultivate a relationship with Savannah or Hedy. She kept to herself. She pursued a relationship with Daniel instead of focusing on fixing the one with her husband. She flipped out when Gigi gave the kids their Christmas presents. Her attitude was horrible. She did start to change about halfway through the book, but I couldn’t change my view of her. I did figure out what was going on with Susannah about halfway through the book. I did think that it was sucky what she did to Wyatt. But, at the same time, she did remain true to herself. The end of Bethlehem didn’t sit well with me. It seemed rushed. Joanna’s change of heart was not believable. I did like how the author brought together the main storylines. That wasn’t rushed.
Kaleena 9 days ago
"I've learned a thing or two in my antiquity--chief among them that things are seldom what they seem. Often the person who appears the most...impenetrable...is, in truth, the most fragile." I'm going to be honest: I requested this one for the cover. I am a sucker for art deco aesthetic and while I don't read a lot of historical fiction these days, I was intrigued. The book wasn't quite what I expected - this was more Women's Fiction to me, and I struggle to connect with these kinds of stories. Looking at the synopsis again now, this is really my bad here. This one was a slow starter, friends. Kelly has quite a cast of characters spanning two different timelines and the first several chapters are spent acquainting the reader with the family tree and how they are all connected. It took until almost the halfway mark for the plot to really pick up for me, but I liked how Kelly wove the story and I was eager to see how the characters' lives intertwined. This is a well-written family drama that follows Joanna in the 1960s and her mother-in-law Susanna in the 1920s. Joanna's a mother of two small children and the family recently relocated to her husband's family home in Bethlehem, with Susanna and her grandmother-in-law Hetty still in residence. The pieces come together slowly but when the plot really got going I was in for the long haul! I enjoyed Kelly's writing style quite a lot and that is primarily what kept me reading. It's a solid debut and one I would recommend to readers who enjoy Women's Fiction. Ultimately this book wasn't the story I was looking for, but I enjoyed reading it. Many thanks to St. Martins Press for sending me an eARC via Netgalley for my honest review! Quotations are taken from an uncorrected proof and may change in final publication.
Deana3452 9 days ago
Calling all historical fiction fans! You're going to love this one! This is a "time slip" novel, going back and forth between generations and their trials and tribulations. Joanna marries into the prestigious Parrish family and has problems adapting to her new opulent surroundings after having a more humble upbringing. She spends most of her time with her two children, her mother in law, Susannah and husband's grandmother, Helen. Joanna's husband, Frank, spends endless hours working at Bethlehem Steel. The story switches from Joanna's new life, to Susannah's history and her life with her brother, Kit, sister India and family friends Wyatt and Chap. Wyatt and Chap are from the Collier family. Their father, Charles, Sr., works closely with Susannah's father, Hollins and the two families are forever connected both in love and in tragedy. While Joanna has issues living in grandeur, and at first believes she will never connect with her mother in law or her husband's grandmother, she learns that sometimes the people who we relate to are the ones we least expect. And, Susannah also finds that forging a relationship with Joanna might be her saving grace. I loved this story. For one reason, I like historical books, especially when there are things in there that interest me enough to do a little more research. For example, there is a reference to an old time band in the book and I found out they were, in fact, a real band back in the times of Susannah's youth. When I read, I automatically imagine what I am reading. This book made it really easy to do. Also, sometimes, when I am reading something I don't enjoy so much, I look at the remainder left and I am sometimes discouraged when I see so much left when I don't think there's all that much left to say. However, with this one, I was shocked when I would look down at the remainder of this one and was upset when I saw I was almost finished (lol)! I wanted this story to go on longer! This was one of my favorites in awhile
TJReads 9 days ago
I would call this book a sleeper, from the description I did not expect such a haunting, timeless story of secrets, true love and temptations. The story is told in two timeframes, we start out with Joanna, she has recently moved to her husband’s large estate in Bethlehem after the death of his father. They move into his childhood home which is inhabited by his mother and grandmother. Joanna has given up her personal belongings and home to move with her children and husband so he can be closer to the family’s steel business. She is restless, lost and struggling to fit in to this type of lifestyle. The other timeframe we follow is the life of his mother, nicknamed Sass, her early life adventures and escapades growing up with close friends and family. She was full of life and headstrong. This is the true story of the book, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. At one time, I was wondering where the tale was headed, but the last half of the book picked up and tied up all the loose ends. I didn’t even realize how invested in the story I had become until it all starts coming together. Oh, how a wicked web of lies and deception had been designed. Touching, the ending was truly touching. I highly recommend this story, well worth my time spent with this family, Frank, Daisy, Joanna, Chap, Kat, Susannah, Doe, Baby Evans and all the others. Comes in with 5*****’s. I thank St. Martin’s Press and Net Galley for allowing me the privilege of reading this book for my honest review.
lee2staes 9 days ago