The Parting Glass by Gina Marie Guadagnino
English | 2019 | General Fiction/Classics | ePUB | 2.7 Mb
The Parting Glass : By day, Mary Ballard is dutiful lady’s maid to Charlotte Walden, a wealthy and accomplished belle of New York City high society. But Charlotte would never trust Mary again if she knew the truth about her devoted servant’s past.
On her nights off, Mary sheds her persona as prim and proper lady’s maid to reveal her true self—Irish exile Maire O’Farren. She finds release from her frustration in New York’s gritty underworld—in the arms of a prostitute and as drinking companion to a decidedly motley crew consisting of members of a dangerous secret society. Meanwhile, Charlotte has a secret of her own—she’s having an affair with a stable groom, unaware that her lover is actually Mary’s own brother. When the truth of both women’s double lives begins to unravel, Mary is left to face the consequences. Forced to choose between loyalty to her brother and loyalty to Charlotte, between society’s respect and true freedom, Mary finally learns that her fate lies in her hands alone.
“What? What don’t she deserve? I love her, Mar, and she loves me.”
His words cut me then, though I couldn’t quite say why. Certainly I had known, must have known that she loved him, for a well-bred lady like Charlotte Walden doesn’t go fucking her groom unless she’s convinced that it’s love. Perhaps it hadn’t occurred to me until just then that Seanin loved her back.
“Listen to you,” I said, with all the contempt I could muster. “She’s just a fine bit of stuff to you, and you know it. So cut the tripe and let her be.”
He should have been angry—I had been trying to make him angry just then—but he shook his head with an expression of vehement earnestness. “It ain’t tripe, Mar. Jesus, I swear it ain’t. I love her. God help me, but I do.”
“Seanin, you’re my only kin left living,” I whispered in Irish. “Don’t I love you too? And if you should be caught, they would surely hang you, and just as sure I’d die too for the grief of it.”
“Go on,” he said, much louder and in English.
“It can’t last, Johnny,” I said, squeezing his hand.
He squeezed mine back and said softly, “I know it.”
“Then end it,” I pleaded. “Now.”
He bit his lip, considering. “No.”
“Fuck you, Johnny,” I whispered, pulling my hand out of his.”