This was one of those books that had been sitting on my shelf forever and I finally forced myself to read it. AND it was one of those books that, once started, I hit myself on the head, because it was so good, I couldn’t believe I put off reading it!
The Given Day is the first in a series about the Coughlin family, a Boston Irish police family in the early 20th century. When the book begins, World War I is at it’s close and Danny Coughlin is an underpaid, overworked beat cop sent to the docks to help retrieve dying and dead sailors from a recently docked ship. Influenza is contributing to the death toll in Boston, and people are afraid, and rightly so.
From this opening narrative, Dennis Lehane captured my interest with this page-turner, incorporating both historical fiction and crime. The entwined stories of the Coughlin family, their Irish housemaid and their black serving man (along with baseball star Babe Ruth!), set the stage for a drama about class, working conditions and those that would fight for fairness in society. There’s plenty of action and emotion in this fantastic work. I highly recommend it!
4 1/2 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2008