It’s 1917 and Babe Ruth is 24 years old when his train, on its way to his next game, is delayed by mechanical problems. He disembarks and finds a pick-up game of baseball and this begins the story of Luther Laurence and Danny Coughlin, as well as their respective families and friends - not to mention enemies.
The story weaves back and forth between Luther and Danny until their stories mesh seamlessly. The author’s detailed description of the times and the atmosphere conveyed rings true, and a cursory search of the internet will reveal to the reader that minor characters really did exist and major events depicted actually did take place. Throughout the novel, Babe Ruth makes several seemingly gratuitous appearances - he doesn’t have much to do with the plot – but it’s interesting to see the sometimes chaotic history though the eyes of a character not personally involved.
Dennis Lehane’s A Given Day is an excellent story – one of those contradictory novels that both compels you and makes you almost afraid to turn the page to find out what happens next. I was delighted to receive this as an ARC.