In a little Irish town like Kenmare, there's no need to worry whether people will discover your secrets. They already have.
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.
McPartlin's second novel (after Pack Up the Moon) follows the unlikely story of two tormented people who come together in a small Irish town. Mary has survived the deaths of her mother, her first love and her five-year-old son, earning her the nickname "Mary of the Sorrows" from the residents of Kenmare, Ireland. When Sam Sullivan, a music executive from New York, moves in next door, the town would like nothing more than for handsome Sam to bring her happiness. Mary, however, is happy to keep things as they are and tend to her best friend Penny, recently brokenhearted and turning to drink, and Ivan, her cousin who is lonesome after his wife left him. Sam isn't looking for love either. Instead, he has traveled to his grandmother's birthplace seeking refuge from his demons. Despite their best efforts, Mary and Sam grow close, and through their friendship they find the strength to build their lives again. McPartlin presents a realistic and complex story of love in its many forms without piling on the melodrama, and an unexpected conclusion helps elevate this sophomore outing.