SOME REVIEWS for
If you are Irish, and of a certain age, you will have much with which to identify with this story. If you are Catholic, so much the better. This is a look back through to childhood of a 60-something woman negotiating a reckoning with what was perception and what was real about her family's story. She is the youngest of four girls in an Irish-Catholic family replete with a relative called to the priesthood. The author takes a hard look at her journey, the family dynamics, and the influence her growing-up years have had upon her own adult life. Poignant, interesting, and truthful. A worthwhile read, without a doubt.
I liked it very much. It was a swift read, a good story, well written and each word was meaningful. No needless scenes which is my highest praise of a movie and transfers well to a memoir. You paint a clear picture with your descriptions. I particularly like the scene in the nursing home when you get excited because your father asks you for a cigarette; quite poignant. You pull the opening chapters into the closing chapters well and I see precisely why you chose to involve your readers in them.
This book forced me to focus on the beauty of a life that has been lived and lived fully. Finding strength and levity in these stories allowed me to leave my own body, to inhabit another, to experience the intricacies of a life that I can never fully understand, and ultimately to sympathize and integrate those experiences and lessons into my person. That is what reading is all about and that is why I loved this book.
All the main people in this book gave up so much for love. It is sometimes very sad, but very inspiring. It is a reminder that we never really know another person’s secrets and we all have them.
I spent yesterday afternoon reading Tablecloth Nights! I loved it’s emotionally charged pages filled with truth and candor. It was raw at times, heart wrenching most of the time.....a page turner.
I finished your book last night and enjoyed and appreciated it thoroughly. I could relate to so many of the stories about growing up Irish in Queens. Many of the comments made, particularly by your mother, were heard in my own home. Must be in the Irish genes! My heart went out to you as you spent
so many years finding your own truth.
What a roller coaster ride you took me on in this book. I breathed a sigh of relief when you finally got to Woodstock and found your people. My heart felt heavy more than once in reading your story. But I always sensed your resilience and your spirit and your sense of humor through it all. It's a love story to your father, to your family, and ultimately to yourself. It's told with compassion and understanding, even to people who've done you wrong.
The pages are captivating, funny, sad, heartbreaking, and really raw!
SYNOPSIS, TABLECLOTH NIGHTS, A MEMOIR
A core of resiliency, a touch of humor, and a backwards glance into family relationships, follow Kathleen from Queens, NY, in a family fueled by too much alcohol and too little love. Early marriage, divorce, another relationship, motherhood, and several chaotic years later, she gains her independence.
She moves to the Catskills, adapting a new persona and a more relaxed way of life. With time to reflect, Fern confronts her nagging suspicions about Uncle John, a Catholic priest, and an important part of her childhood. Pursuing answers to questions about the past, she discovers a secret that has been hidden for decades. With the knowledge comes validation and an unexpected bonus.
Kathleen Fern Suess was born and raised in Queens, New York, the youngest of four girls, and spent summers on Long Island. She raised her two children in Northwestern NJ, freelanced for a local newspaper, then moved upstate to the Hudson Valley. She founded a poetry group, publishing two chapbooks, while painting and working for a non-profit arts organization. She began writing her memoir after an unexpected family revelation.
She takes photos wherever she goes, likes to write in the local coffee shop (pre-pandemic), has made fourteen quilts, installation art, and mixed media collages. She is an avid reader of a wide spectrum of genres, including memoirs, Irish authors, first time novelists, and Stephen King. She is currently working on a cozy mystery novel that takes place in an historic small town in the Catskills.