Crossing Brooklyn Ferry: A Novel

Crossing Brooklyn Ferry: A Novel

by Jennie Fields
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Crossing Brooklyn Ferry: A Novel by Jennie Fields

Escaping the narrow, wealthy life she led in Manhattan, Zoe Finney moves her family to a brownstone in working-class Park Slope, Brooklyn. A poor girl who has married into money, Zoe finds comfort and familiarity in the close-knit neighborhood. She hopes the change will reinvigorate her profoundly depressed husband and provide a happy place for Rose, her young daughter, to grow.

Her arrival in the neighborhood alters the lives around her. The handsome schoolteacher next door, Keevan O'Connor, is deeply drawn to her, and despite Zoe's initial hesitation, they begin to fall in love. Rose is thrilled, recognizing in Keevan the warm, fun-loving father hers can never be. But others don't want this relationship to thrive: Keevan's unhappily married sister-in-law, Patty, who has secretly fallen in love with him; and Zoe's husband, who wakes from his depression to see his wife slipping away. Is it right for Zoe to turn from the man who's been her life for so long and start a new life with Keevan? But then again, how can two people so perfectly matched not spend their future together?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780688145897
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/23/1997
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.38(w) x 9.51(h) x 1.19(d)

About the Author

Jennie Fields is the author of Lily Beach and The Middle Ages. She received a master's degree from the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa. She is a senior vice president of a New York advertising agency, and she lives with her daughter in Brooklyn, New York.

Read an Excerpt

One by one, beneath an April evening sky, the brownstones and butcher shops and vegetable markets of Park Slope, Brooklyn, begin to light. The Lucky Pub's manager plugs in the aging neon Budweiser sign with the lop-eared dog. At the Korean market, the owner switches on the bell-shaped lanterns that sway from his red-and-white awning. Commuters spill from the subway onto Seventh Avenue and stop for a moment at the top of the stairs to breathe in the evening air. It is as though the air of Brooklyn is perfumed with relief, the scent of home. Not much has changed since the subway was built in 1930, rattling the cellars beneath Ninth Street. Cordeiro's Market has been there for fifty years. And the Lucky Pub recently put in new paneling, but the crowd hasn't changed in character since World War II. Nor has the display behind the bar: faded shamrocks, pressed between glass and cotton, that Paddy Dunfey found in Prospect Park somewhere between 1930 and 1950. But now, in 1989, there are new stores, which cater to the recent arrivals in the neighborhood. A video store. A cheese store with fresh mozzarella and sun-dried tomatoes. A muffin shop. A comic-book store. Already their awnings have tarnished in the city air, their windows are cluttered in a familiar way. And though not many houses have sold in other neighborhoods since the market crashed two years ago, in Park Slope real estate is still moving, and every third store along Seventh Avenue is an agency displaying slick pictures of renovated brownstones. If you turn right at the Lucky Pub you'll be on Eighth Street. Walk into its silence. Feel it: the rich solidity of the hundred-year-old blue stone sidewalks, the slope of thehill as it eases up toward Prospect Park, the Norwegian maples, which in summer are so thick the rain doesn't come through. And the houses, a soldierly sameness that can't help but please you, beginning to light now, with tables being set for dinner, mail being read. Every house on the block was built in 1886, by the same builder. On the north side of the street they are three-storied. On the south side, four. Symmetry a hundred times over, and yet, inside, there is no symmetry at all. The O'Neill teenagers are at war in 664. Darlene Kilkenny Sheehan's long-awaited new baby cries out in 621, and Darlene also cries as she rocks him, because her husband, Donald, is getting drunk down at the Lucky. Old Mrs. Reilly watches you from her window in 621. Somehow their lives fit into these narrow houses: seventeen feet wide, clad in brownstone, and each lit window marks a history of birth, love, and death. Row after row of brownstone stoops line up, row after row of wrought-iron gates mark the entrances with fleurs-de-lis. You could easily walk by your own house and not know it. People do every day. Even though they know their own gardens or garbage cans or trees, the sameness of the gates and houses is a lulling, sweet drug. You can catch glimpses of the interior detail: floral medallions on the ceilings, etched-glass doors. So beautiful for houses that have long been working class, affordable. Read the names on the mailboxes. Names that have been on these mailboxes for decades. Ryan, O'Connor, Kilkenny, O'Shea. Some since 1917, 1911. And the new names: Hartman, Jarvis, Epstein, DeLee. No Irish ring to these names. No long Brooklyn history here. People whose cars are new, whose jobs are unstable but even in a bad economy pay shockingly well. People who buy and sell in a day, who worry about preschool, install soaking tubs, own Volvos, have tax shelters. People who five years ago wouldn't have been caught dead in Brooklyn.

Excerpted from Crossing Brooklyn Ferry. Copyright ¨ 1997 by Jennie Fields.

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Crossing Brooklyn Ferry 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The first half of this book is very exposition-heavy in setting up the backgrounds of the characters. We are told their backgrounds rather than shown them, which I found disappointing. I found the main characters unlikeable, particularly Keevan, who acts like a sulky teenager when he doesn't get his way, treats his sister-in-law in a deplorable fashion, and throws around the 'c' word with regard to the women in his life. What on earth Zoe saw in him, I have no idea. Zoe herself is no prize, dragging her 6 year old daughter into her extramarital affair. The premise was interesting and the author writes well, but all in all this novel was mediocre at best.
Guest More than 1 year ago
very touching, very moving... you could almost see yourself in the actual setting of the story. GRAB A COPY NOW!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Really good story! The characters were portrayed amazingly... Rose was absolutely adorable and heartwrenching.. children know the pains of life when they dont even understand it(i thought it was so cute how she insisted on calling him Kevin haha). Zoe and Keevans relationship is sensual and romantic but totally crazy... I like that Jamie left Zoe so they were happy but it was out of nowhere and kind of too 'happily ever after' but in any case this was a beautiful story.. i especially enjoyed how all the characters of the neighborhood were presented.. Maggie was just adorable she was the busy body of the street and Patty amused me after she left Jim i was like 'Go for you girl!' lmao
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, right from the beginning. The characters were wonderfully written, as well as the the storylines. I was sad when the book came to an end because it was so charming. I would definately recommend this book to others, and will. I wish Jennie Fields would write more books... she's a fantastic writer, and I can't wait to read her other two books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this was a good story - very involving, but I couldn't help but get over some inconsistencies. Maybe I'm mistaken, but I thought the story was supposed to be set in the 80s...but the author talks about things like Somoa Girl Scout cookies - wasn't the name then 'Carmel Delight?' Also, the author refers to Paxil, Zoloft and Prozac...I didn't know the first two were available in the 80's. Again, maybe I am mistaken, or being too picky, but these details were distracting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read a lot of books, and I'm rarely impressed. This book knocked me out. It's so involving. The characters are wonderfully real, and it's very very sexy. But more than that, it's beautifully written. I love the world it depicts, and I was sad when it was over. I'd recommend this book to anyone who loves Anita Shreve, Maeve Binchy or Sue Miller. In my rating system, this book surpasses five stars.