Rare Objects: A Novel

Rare Objects: A Novel

by Kathleen Tessaro


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Rare Objects: A Novel by Kathleen Tessaro

In Depression-era Boston, a city divided by privilege and poverty, two unlikely friends are bound by a dangerous secret in this mesmerizing work of historical fiction from the New York Times bestselling author of The Perfume Collector.

Maeve Fanning is a first generation Irish immigrant, born and raised among the poor, industrious Italian families of Boston’s North End by her widowed mother. Clever, capable, and as headstrong as her red hair suggests, she’s determined to better herself despite the overwhelming hardships of the Great Depression.

However, Maeve also has a dangerous fondness for strange men and bootleg gin—a rebellious appetite that soon finds her spiraling downward, leading a double life. When the strain proves too much, Maeve becomes an unwilling patient in a psychiatric hospital, where she strikes up a friendship with an enigmatic young woman, who, like Maeve, is unable or unwilling to control her un-lady-like desire for freedom.

Once out, Maeve faces starting over again. Armed with a bottle of bleach and a few white lies, she lands a job at an eccentric antiques shop catering to Boston’s wealthiest and most peculiar collectors. Run by an elusive English archeologist, the shop is a haven of the obscure and incredible, providing rare artifacts as well as unique access to the world of America’s social elite. While delivering a purchase to the wealthy Van der Laar family, Maeve is introduced to beautiful socialite Diana Van der Laar—only to discover she’s the young woman from the hospital.

Reunited with the charming but increasingly unstable Diana and pursued by her attractive brother James, Mae becomes more and more entwined with the Van der Laar family—a connection that pulls her into a world of moral ambiguity and deceit, and ultimately betrayal. Bewitched by their wealth and desperate to leave her past behind, Maeve is forced to unearth her true values and discover how far she’ll to go to reinvent herself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062357540
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/12/2016
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 1,218,940
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Kathleen Tessaro is the author of Elegance, Innocence, The Flirt, The Debutante, The Perfume Collector, and Rare Objects. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband and son.

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Rare Objects 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my new favorites.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautiful story about addiction and the shame that comes along with feeling broken.
Honolulubelle More than 1 year ago
Favorite Quotes: “It’s a trick I learned from my mother – when in doubt, act like you know what you’re doing, and you’ll be treated like you do. And if you can convince others, there’s a chance that someday you might just be able to convince yourself.” “I used to wonder what it felt like to waste something; as a child I couldn’t imagine anything more delicious or sinful than the extravagance of throwing things away. I’ve wasted a few things since then; it’s not as liberating as I imagined.” “Almost everywhere else, time was an enemy; the thief that rendered food rotten, dulled the bloom of youth, made fashions passé. But here it was the precious ingredient that transformed an ordinary object into a valuable artifact – from paintings to thimbles. I’d never been around such extraordinary things.” “I was unused to praise, wary of it, especially from her. It often proved only the harbinger of some future disappointment gathering on the horizon.” “He made a girl feel like she was a diamond and he the gold setting, designed to show her off.” “If you want to know why you drank too much in the first place, try stopping.” “I thought about the ring, how untouched it was by everything that had happened around it and would happen… Selena was right. It would journey from hand to hand, continent to continent, decade to decade – a time traveler made of agate and gold. We were the fragile ones. The ones who, like Mr. Tresalion’s salvaged objects, needed to be rescued, reimagined, restored.” My Review: I seldom read historical novels as I typically become too annoyed and antagonized by how the women were treated to properly enjoy the story. However, despite the limitations the women in this story were constricted by in 1932 Boston, I could not put this book down. The characters and issues they faced continue to be relevant and real, despite the year or era. Kathleen Tessaro is a gifted writer who adroitly captured and depicted May’s frustration, desperation, and exasperation with her lot in life, while also painting a vivid and fascinating account of the world spinning around her. Ms. Tessaro’s characters were deeply flawed, smart, witty, feisty, selfish, likable, alluring, seductive, and well drawn. Her writing was crisp, well paced, keenly observant, and acutely insightful. I saw myself so clearly in these pages and instantly bonded to the character of May/Maeve, as we share many similarities. I had also yearned throughout my youth to flea and reinvent myself away from the rigidity of family, and I would swear the author based May’s iron fisted, judgmental, critical, controlling, stingy, stubborn, penny-pinching mother – whom she absolutely ached to rebel against… on a matriarch who shares my DNA. While I am not saying I have never made a misstep, May was the mistress of bad decisions and poor choices. Poor May, when she failed on her own and found herself returning to her mother’s apartment a broke and broken adult, she continued her attempts at rebellion in a self-destructive manner. Yet she had moxie, and I adored her, and I am deeply enamored with Kathleen Tessaro.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So very interesting. I absolutely enjoyed this story. Well written. I will Definitely recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings A quintessential historical fiction where a woman comes from the wrong side of the tracks and gets mixed up in the high life and loves it! Maeve returns home after a stint in New York city that did not work out and she is returning to Boston to put the pieces back together. She is reunited with an acquaintance from her days in New York who will turn her world upside down. I felt as though while I was reading that I had read this storyline before and I like it, but this one didn't outdo the others. I enjoyed Maeve as a character, but there were moments in this book that seemed repetitive and others that seemed slow or lacking of plot movement.
Mirella More than 1 year ago
Larger than life characters make this story resonate. Nice prose that flows easily at a good clip made this an easy enjoyable book to read. The main characters find themselves in believable dilemmas where they sometimes make very human mistakes. Plenty of conflict is what made this book so readable while an interesting era and setting added great ambiance and social background. I would definitely read another book by this author. A rich story filled with plenty of conflict and interesting turns. Thank you to the author and publisher. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Visit my blog, http://greathistoricals.blogspot.ca, where the great historical fiction is reviewed! For fascinating women of history bios and women's fiction please visit http://www.historyandwomen.com.
SherreyM More than 1 year ago
Rare Objects is the story of Maeve Fanning, a young woman on a journey of self-discovery. All too often, Maeve’s journey leads her in the wrong direction. Kathleen Tessaro is an extraordinary writer, and having read her earlier work, The Perfume Collector, I wanted to take part in this tour and review Rare Objects. Her characters are strongly drawn, and without a doubt, the reader comes to know them intimately. Descriptive language of time and place keeps the reader fixed in the setting. However, in Rare Objects, unlike The Perfume Collector, I felt there were too many small stories attempting to pull the larger, main story apart. I wish the author had spent more time on unfolding and sharing with the reader Maeve’s life as she struggled to become her own person. Focusing on Maeve and the realities of coming from an impoverished background and wanting to find a way out of not only the “neighborhood,” but also the troubles she has suffered would have certainly strengthened the story and not all the tidbits hanging alongside the main plot. If Kathleen Tessaro had a reason for writing this story the way she did, it was lost on me. Fans of Boston in the 1930s and historical fiction will enjoy the background and the sounds and smells brought to life in this book. Fans of antiquities will enjoy some of the items Maeve comes to love and sell in her job. Others who enjoy Kathleen Tessaro’s earlier works may see the book in a different light and enjoy it very much. *** FTC Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via TLC Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed are mine.
Penmouse More than 1 year ago
Rare Objects by Kathleen Tessaro is a well-written book as the author knows how to turn a phrase. I wasn't thrilled with the implementation of the plot as the plot seemed a bit dark. I read the Perfume Collector, by the same author, and I liked that book much more than Rare Objects. Recommend with caveats given. Review written after downloading a galley from Edelweiss.