Irish domestic worker Norah King's decision to ask her wealthy employer, Caroline Parker, for an elegant red coat that the Beacon Hill matriarch has marked for donation ignites a series of events that neither woman could have fathomed. The unlikely exchange will impact their respective daughters and families for generations to come, from the coat's original owner, marriage-minded collegian Cordelia Parker, to the determined and spirited King sisters of South Boston, Rosemary, Kay, and Rita. As all of these young women experience the realities of life – love and loss, conflict and joy, class prejudices and unexpected prospects – the red coat reveals the distinction between cultures, generations, and landscapes in Boston during the 1940s and 50s, a time of change, challenge, and opportunity.
Meet the proud, working-class Irish and staid, upper-class Brahmins through the contrasting lives of these two families and their friends and neighbors. See how the Parkers and the Kings each overcome sudden tragedy with resolve and triumph. And witness the profound impact of a mother’s heart on her children’s souls. Carlson brings us front and center with her knowing weave of Celtic passion – both tragic and joyful – words of wisdom, romance, humor, and historical events. Dive into Boston feet first! The Red Coat is a rich novel that chronicles the legacy of Boston from both sides of the city, Southie and the Hill.