Reviewed by: BigAl
Approximate word count: 60-65,000 words
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Prolific author Sean Sweeney has written several novels in multiple genres including science fiction, fantasy, and thrillers. He lives in North Central Massachusetts where he also works as a sportswriter for local newspapers.
Set in Boston in the 1950s and early 1960s, Eminent Souls is a story of love between a boy and a girl, and their love of a place.
In many ways Eminent Souls is a story you’ve heard before. Boy and girl meet and fall in love. Their backgrounds are different. You could insert many things for the differences here: different religions, races, or social classes are the most obvious. One or both parents don’t approve and keep them apart. In this case, we have Charlene, a rich, waspy, upper-crust lawyer-to-be, who meets Joe, a working-class Italian musician. Charlene’s rich, powerful, and politically connected father takes exception to their relationship, and does whatever it takes to keep them apart
However, Eminent Souls is also hard to nail down. Is it a romance? Possibly; the obvious genre conventions seem to be met, yet it doesn’t read like a typical romance novel. It is historical, but is well outside the period a historical romance reader would expect.
Almost as big a part of the book is another love story Joe and Charlene have with Scollay Square, an area that was once the epicenter for entertainment and nightlife in Boston. During the period covered by Eminent Souls the city, with financial help from federal redevelopment funds, demolished over 1,000 buildings and displaced at least 20,000 low-income residents, replacing the historical buildings and their unique architecture with a series of sterile government buildings, renaming the area Government Center.
For me, Eminent Souls’ main appeal is in the Boston history: not just of the Scollay Square area, but sports, politics, and the mores of a different time.
Minor adult situations and some adult language.
A small number of typos and other proofing problems.
Rating: **** Four stars