The Ninth Hour a story by Alice McDermott is well written vivid and an interesting insight into 20th Century Irish Catholic Brooklyn and while I found the book well written prose wise I did find the novel quite disjointed and at times difficult to follow.
The Story starts out quite strong with Jim a young Irish immigrant recently fired from his job as a subway motorman takes his own life in the Brooklyn apartment he rents with his pregnant wife Annie. Sister St. Saviour from the Little Nursing Sisters of the Sick appears on the scene and takes the young widow under her wing.
The life of the Little Nursing Sisters was to go out in the very Catholic Brooklyn community and nurse those who were sick or suffering and I found this really interesting and informative in the book. Their nursing went far and beyond what was normal duties for a nurse as the sisters would also cook, clean, take in laundry, provide company, and sustenance for people in need. The sisters contributed immensely to the community they worked in and it was nice to see that portrayed in this story as there are many wonderful caring nuns who dedicate and have dedicated their lives to the poor and suffering.
There is much to like about this novel and I could possibly rate the writing 5 star as the scenes were vivid and so well written and yet the book dragged for me and became a little bit of a chore. I liked the characters and yet I never felt I got to know them or connected with them. A short novel and yet a book that became a long read and therefore a 3 star rating from me.