Presents a fictionalized account of the life of Typhoid Mary, an Irish immigrant who moved to New York at the turn of the century and became a successful cook, until the Department of Health noticed the trail of disease she left behind. - (Baker & Taylor)
*Starred Review* In this compelling historical novel, the infamous Typhoid Mary is given great depth and humanity by the gifted Keane (The Walking People, 2009). Irish immigrant Mary Mallon is eager to better her station in life and unafraid of hard work. When she is finally made a head cook, she is hired by some of the best families in Manhattan but unwittingly leaves a trail of disease in her wake. A "medical engineer" ultimately identifies her as a healthy carrier of typhoid fever and quarantines her on North Brother Island, where she is separated from her lifelong companion, Alfred Briehof, and forced to live in isolation. She is released three years later under the condition that she never cook again. But her inability to understand her condition, her passion for cooking, and the income she had become used to all conspire to lure her back into the kitchen. Keane not only makes of the headstrong Mary a sympathetic figure, she also brings the New York City of the early twentieth century to teeming life, sweeping readers into the crowded apartment buildings, filthy bars, and dangerous sweatshops of Upper Manhattan. Most movingly of all, she tells a great love story in depicting Mary and Alfred's flawed but passionate relationship. A fascinating, often heartbreaking novel. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.
Library Journal Reviews
The award-winning Keane "mixes literary imagination with historical fact to humanize" the notorious Typhoid Mary. A talented cook in turn-of-the-century New York City, Irish immigrant Mary Mallon also was a healthy carrier of typhoid fever. Although she promised never to cook again after medical authorities held her in isolation for three years, Mary found it difficult to give up a career that gave her independence and respectability. ¬Keane succeeds brilliantly in garnering the reader's sympathy for a difficult, headstrong woman who was a victim of injustice. (LJ 1/13)—WW (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Library Journal Reviews
In the early 20th century in bustling and grimy New York City, Mary Mallon (1869–1938) became a medical first when she was identified as a healthy carrier of typhoid fever. Unknowingly, the house cook was passing the disease to families around the city. Eventually, typhoid outbreaks were traced to Mary, and she was placed in isolation. She was released three years later on the condition she would never cook again, but that promise proved hard for her to keep. Keane's second novel (after The Walking People) tells the tragic tale of "Typhoid Mary" and the dangerous decisions she made while following her passion for cooking. The award-winning writer mixes literary imagination with historical fact to humanize the notorious Mary. Readers will question Mary's final choices but scrutinize the injustices committed against her and sympathize when she suffers. VERDICT Even for those who know the outcome, fiction fans will eagerly anticipate each new page where disease lurks behind every compassionate corner. Keane has replaced the "Typhoid Mary" cliché with a memorable and emotional human story. [Four-city author tour.]—Andrea Brooks, Northern Kentucky Univ. Lib.., Highland Heights
[Page 84]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.