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Formats
Paperback Details
  • 07/2022
  • 978-0984129263
  • 376 pages
  • $16.00
Ebook Details
  • 08/2022
  • B0B8LG4NFL
  • 378 pages
  • $5.99
Susan Barrett Price
Author
KItty's People

Adult; Other Nonfiction; (Market)

KITTY'S PEOPLE is a biographical novel following the Flanagan family as they grapple with disease, organized crime, alcoholism, fires, a wicked stepmother, abortion, and cold-blooded murder between 1885 and 1934. Born in Chicago, Kitty experiences the utopian community of Leclaire, Illinois, before the family settles in St. Louis. This saga is Kitty Flanagan's origin story from her youth as the daughter of Irish immigrants, through her years as a tragedy-plagued young mother and businesswoman, till her rise as the woman-in-charge—confident, organized, fierce, and supremely generous. Kitty was my grandmother and a role model for our times.
Reviews
Centered on the life of an Irish American woman and family who persevere in the face of every hardship America could throw at them between the 1880s and the Great Depression, Price’s sweeping historical novel stands as an engaging story of grit, determination, and love, bringing fresh life to the memories of past generations’ with painstaking research and a novelist’s imaginative power. Price draws from the life of her own grandmother, the model for Kitty Flanagan, the “generous woman” (and eventual “bearcat”) that Kitty’s People follows, from hopscotching in LeClaire, Illinois, to a teen running the register at a market in St. Louis during the First World War, to facing personal tragedy and holding the family together at the height of the Roaring ‘20s and beyond.

The lives of Kitty and her people are bumptious, as early on scandal inspires a move to St. Louis, where they work in mills and as mechanics and bookkeepers, and also find some success, as father Moses, a planner and supervisor, helps build the 1904 World’s Fair. (Young Kitty screams “We’re rich!” when the family gets a car in 1907.) Eventually, they seize the opportunity of opening a grocery, all as they face wrenching travails: natural disasters, mental and physical health issues, a rowdy brother’s temptations toward a life of crime, tragedies personal and public, and even a literal wicked stepmother.

“The blood pumping through the marvelous mechanical heart of this new world is Irish,” Kitty’s father notes, early on, and both Kitty and Price’s love for this family, their lineage, and their era shines through a novel that at times emphasizes thoroughness over narrative momentum. But readers fascinated by Irish-American immigrant life will relish the telling as Kitty—whose people tilt between Mass and respectability on the one hand and Egan’s Rats and after-hour lid clubs on the other—perseveres toward a satisfyingly happy ending. The book is an act of love.

Takeaway: This historical novel, an act of love, digs into an extraordinary Irish-American woman’s life and family.

Great for fans of: Kerby Miller and Patricia Mulholland Miller’s Journey of Hope: The Story of Irish Immigration to America, Pamela Records’ Tied With Twine.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A

Formats
Paperback Details
  • 07/2022
  • 978-0984129263
  • 376 pages
  • $16.00
Ebook Details
  • 08/2022
  • B0B8LG4NFL
  • 378 pages
  • $5.99

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