BOOK CLUB: We Are the Brennans

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Tracey Lange’s debut novel, We Are the Brennan’s is a family saga full of secrets, drama and intrigue.

At the age of twenty-four Sunday Brennan walked out on her fiancé Kale, father Mickey, and her two brothers Denny and Jackie to pursue a writing career in Los Angeles. Now 29, she is working as a waitress struggling to get her work published, living alone in a one-bedroom apartment.

Moving five years ago she did not envisage her life to be like this, especially now as she lies hurt in a hospital bed from driving intoxicated and crashing into a barricade.

Suffering a broken arm, multiple wounds and bruising her older brother Denny is at her bedside, shocked by her appearance he knows he must persuade her to come home so she can get the care she needs to fully recover. Grudgingly she agrees to go home.

Upon her return, Sunday is welcomed with open arms by her family. Denny encourages her to work at the family pub Brennan’s, he and Kale are in the midst of opening a new pub but when a burst pipe occurs and ruins the foundation finances are tight, Denny is hiding a secret that could ruin both businesses.

Being back home Sunday is dealing with her emotions, no one knows the reason she left and seeing Kale married with a son is hard, especially when Kale’s feelings for her resurface threatening the life he has created.

we are the Brennans

Will he ever know the truth and is there enough to fulfill her being home?

I really enjoyed Sunday’s character; she is an absolute mess. You will love her and hate her and root for her the whole time. She’s brave and bright and she’ll show you that it’s not success that makes a person strong and admirable but rather the way they respond in the face of failure.

There are wonderful supporting characters in the book: Denny the oldest son who everyone relies on to be the protector of all, married to Theresa with a six-year-old daughter, Molly. Sunday’s twin Jackie is an artist and holder of secrets, they have a special twin-bond. Shaun, the youngest brother is loveable and kind, he suffers from a learning disability.

Kale Collins, Denny’s business partner and best friend and Sunday’s ex. As the reading audience, you get to know these full characters, and feel for their situations, the distance between them, their relationships, obstacles and struggles.

Tracey Lange has a wonderful way with dialogue, pace, and conflict, she delivers a story that will hold readers until the end. There are twists and turns, secrets and lies that will keep you on your toes but most importantly there is family. Tracey highlights the strength of having loved ones around, so you don’t suffer alone when everything is falling apart.

We Are the Brennan’s does not limit itself to the complications of human relationships, it is a look into the secrets of a family that, at least on the surface, always seemed so normal. Leading the reader through tragedies, the author weaves a plot that opens readers’ hearts. Each chapter is narrated by a different character that gives the novel an authentic touch.

I highly recommend this novel which you could happily read more than once.

Thank you, Beauty and Lace and Pan Macmillan AU for the opportunity to read and review.

Author: Tracey Lange
ISBN: 9781250796226
Copy courtesy of publisher: Pan Macmillan AU

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading We Are the Brennans by Tracey Lange. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

9 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: We Are the Brennans

  1. Thanks for the opportunity to read We Are the Brennans by Tracey Lange.

    Wow what a great book – such an engrossing story of a family where everyone has issues, starting with the parents impacting the entire family.

    Sunday abandoned her fiancé, father, and brothers five years ago, to fulfil her dream of a writing career in LA but all is not what it seems. When she gets drunk and wrecks her car and injures herself her brother Denny brings her back to the family home and business. Her former fiancé is now married and working in the family business.

    A different character narrates each chapter and provides a different perspective and background on the issues within the family and helps the story to flow smoothly. The secrets that the characters keep from each other and their impact makes this a great read. The truth is out there!

    Great characters and an interesting story make this a wonderful book for your summer reading!

    Thanks again.

  2. “What you need is your family. And right now, they need you too.”

    Debut novelist Tracey Lange has penned a complex family drama with We Are the Brennans. A complicated tale of familial ties, miscommunication, long standing secrets, unsaid truths, love, loyalty and passion, We Are the Brennans is a tension filled family saga, that does take some time to develop.

    It is always a relief to take a step back from your own family dramas, especially over the heightened Christmas period and revel in the secrets of another family unit. We Are the Brennans by debut novelist Tracey Lange introduced me to a family completely contrasted to my own, in a very different part of the world to where I live. It was great to get lost in the various issues, conflicts, turmoil and tragedies of this fictional Irish-American clan. On the whole I found We Are the Brennans to be a very slow burn style read. Whilst I enjoyed observing the melodrama surrounding this family unit and I connected to some of the problems highlighted, I felt it travelled a bit too slow for my liking.

    Lange employs a shared form of narration in her debut release. This framework sees each chapter in We Are the Brennans narrated by a different character. All the narrators featured are a core part of the Brennan clan, with some protagonists featured being related by blood, while others are by marriage or business. As a collective, Lange does a good job of outlining her cast and she grants the audience direct access to their flaws, fears and strengths. I did root for lead female protagonist Sunday from the start and I hoped that she would be able to rectify her huge drink driving mistake. There was a rather large build up to a devastating secret involving Sunday, but once it was revealed, I wasn’t sure that the huge emphasis on finally airing this secret was really worth it. I did feel the slow pace of this one from the very start. This being the case, I feel that We Are the Brennans is at its heart a character driven novel, with a few key events slotted in to keep the cogs turning so to speak.

    Lange includes a number of connective, poignant and affective themes in We Are the Brennans. These include illness, memory, disability, abuse, blackmail, resentment, relationships, breakdown, violence, secrets, careers, finances, marriage, sibling relations, jealously, passion, infidelity, trust, loyalty, shame, miscommunication, confusion and protection in her debut novel. The weight of difficult choices made to ease the guilt of past movements directs much of Tracey Lange’s We Are the Brennans. This one didn’t really grip me intrinsically, but I am sure those who gravitate towards substantial family sagas will find Tracey Lange’s first novel of interest.

    *I wish to thank Beauty & Lace/Pan Macmillan for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  3. Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Pan MacMillan I was lucky enough to review “We Are the Brennans” by Tracey Lange.

    “They would do everything they could to protect their father, and each other, because that’s what family did. They all screwed up, made mistakes and hurt one another. But in the end they all came together”.

    A story of Sunday Brennan, her father, brothers and ex-fiancé. A family so strong nothing seems to break their bonds no matter how much they go through.

    Sunday leaves her fiancé and family suddenly and heads to LA to hopefully start her writing career. After 5 years things are not as they seem and after a drink driving incident and forced to return home to face her demons.

    After returning home secrets that have been kept for years begin to surface and troubles start to brew, but in the end nothing stops the Brennans from sticking together and working through things.

    I loved this book and highly recommend it, great story that is easy to follow and keep up with. Keeps you wanting more each chapter you read.

  4. Thank you @macmillanaus and @beautyandlacemag for the opportunity to read this delightful book. This novel literally hits the ground running. It jumped right into action and a significant event occurs within the first few pages. We are introduced to a great number of characters from the get go. All characters are very relatable, enduring the ups and downs of both single and family life. I found it difficult to keep track of all the characters and their history with each other, but it did not detract from the story. Well done Tracey Lange.

  5. Thankyou for this read. I really enjoy a family drama. It was a really well written debut.
    The Brennan family were a fabulous mix of characters all with their own charm and back stories.
    I enjoyed Sunday as a complex female character, and I was rooting for her and Kale throughout the whole story.

  6. Thank you so much Beauty and Lace, Pan MacMillan, and Tracey Lange for this fantastic read.
    Apologies for the late review!
    I started slow reading this one and at first I wasn’t sure how I felt about the book…however, I’ve rated it 5/5 stars, I really enjoyed it!
    Family drama huh ! Who doesn’t relate in some way, this was especially good to read over the Christmas break whilst interacting with own family dynamics and personality types.
    I liked reading the differing perspectives, quirks, lifestyles, and family bonds.
    I will be recommending this book to friends and family!

  7. Thank you so much Beauty and Lace, Pan MacMillan, and Tracey Lange for the opportunity to read this book.
    Starting in LA, the reader gets introduced to Sunday Brennan who has an accident and her brother Denny comes across the country as her emergency contact and to get reacquainted with the sister that left the family 5 years earlier. He convinces her to return home to the family.
    The rest of the story unfolds and other family members are introduced and the family dynamic revealed, along with the secrets that have been kept.
    A family saga that is endearing and well written.

  8. Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Pan MacMillan for the opportunity to read and review We Are the Brennans by Tracey Lange.

    What a fantastic book! I absolutely loved it! Very well written and held my attention the whole way through.

    Highly recommend!

  9. Thank you for allowing me to read and review We Are The Brennans by Tracey Lange. Her debut novel hits the ground running. Straight into the family drama. This book is action packed and and was hard to put down loved it from start to finish and can’t wait for the next book.

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