Ask Again, Yes Summary – Explores the Power of Forgiveness

Explore love, loss, and the transformative power of forgiveness in Ask Again Yes Summary. Join the journey of two families forever linked by tragedy.

  • Writer: Mary Beth Keane
  • Genre: Domestic fiction
  • Published: May 28, 2019
  • Published by: Scribner
  • Setting: suburban town in New York State.
  • Length: 384 pages
  • Translated: over 20 languages.

Do you know It is Keane’s seventh novel?

Short  Ask Again Yes Summary

In the gripping novel Ask Again, Yes, two neighboring families in a suburban town find their lives forever intertwined by tragedy. As rookie cops and neighbors, Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope become entangled in a web of secrets and forbidden connections. 

Meanwhile, their children, Peter and Kate, forge an unbreakable bond that sustains them through the challenges of adolescence and beyond. As they navigate love, loss, and personal struggles, the transformative power of forgiveness emerges as a guiding light, leading them to confront their past and discover a path to healing and a brighter future.

3 Sentence Summary

In Ask Again, Yes, two neighboring families are forever changed by a tragic incident. The bond between their children, Peter and Kate, withstands the test of time as they navigate the complexities of life. Through love, loss, and the power of forgiveness, they find strength and discover that healing is possible even in the face of deep wounds

One-Line Synopsis

Ask Again Yes explores the intertwining lives of two neighboring families, highlighting the enduring power of forgiveness.

Ask Again Yes won the 2020 Alex Award from the American Library Association

The Tone of the book

The tone of Ask Again, Yes is a poignant and introspective exploration of the complexities of human relationships, with a focus on themes of forgiveness, resilience, and redemption.

Main Characters

Francis Gleeson

A rookie cop in the NYPD, whose life is forever altered by a tragic incident.

Lena Gleeson

Francis’ wife, is a devoted stay-at-home mom.

Brian Stanhope

Francis’ fellow officer and neighbor, whose family becomes intertwined with the Gleesons.

Anne Stanhope

Brian’s wife, a nurse, whose actions set off a chain of events.

Peter Stanhope

The son of Brian and Anne, who forms a deep bond with Kate Gleeson.

Kate Gleeson

The daughter of Francis and Lena, whose friendship with Peter is tested by the events that unfold.

Michael Gleeson

Francis and Lena’s son, whose life is impacted by the aftermath of the tragedy.

Do you know that The book has been adapted into a film, which is set to be released in 2023?

Detailed Ask Again Yes Summary and Review

In the captivating novel Ask Again, Yes, the lives of two neighboring families in a suburban town intertwine in ways they could never have imagined. As their children form a deep friendship, a tragic event sends shockwaves through their lives, setting off a chain of events that will shape their futures forever.

Chapter 1: A Suburban Encounter that Ignites Fate

In this opening chapter, we are introduced to Francis Gleeson, a rookie cop in the NYPD, and Brian Stanhope, his fellow officer and neighbor. Their chance encounter on the job leads to a connection that will bind their families together. Little do they know that this initial meeting will set in motion a series of events that will define their lives.

Chapter 2: Forbidden Connections & Unraveling of Secrets

As Francis and Brian become close neighbors, their wives, Lena Gleeson and Anne Stanhope, form an unexpected bond. However, beneath the surface of their seemingly harmonious relationship, dark secrets lurk, waiting to be revealed. Tensions rise, and a shocking incident occurs, forever altering the dynamics between the families.

Chapter 3: Childhood Ties that Withstand the Test of Time

Peter Stanhope and Kate Gleeson, the children of the two families, grow up in the shadow of the tragic event that unfolded. Despite the trauma and the restrictions placed upon them, their childhood bond remains unbreakable. As they navigate the complexities of adolescence, their friendship becomes a source of strength and support, offering glimpses of hope amidst the challenges they face.

Chapter 4: Love, Loss, and the Quest for Redemption

As Peter and Kate embark on their separate paths in life, the wounds of the past continue to haunt them. They grapple with personal tragedies, searching for meaning and healing. In their individual journeys, they encounter love, loss, and the unrelenting desire for redemption. The scars of the past threaten to unravel everything they hold dear, testing their resilience and challenging their capacity to forgive.

Chapter 5: The Interweaving of Lives & Power of Forgiveness

In the final chapter, the lives of Francis, Brian, Lena, Anne, Peter, and Kate intersect once again. As they confront the consequences of their choices, they are faced with the ultimate test of forgiveness. In the face of lingering pain and bitterness, they must find the strength to let go of the past and embrace the power of forgiveness. Through the unbreakable bonds of family and the healing that forgiveness brings, they discover a renewed sense of hope and the possibility of a brighter future.

My Own Review 

From the moment I turned the first page of Ask Again, Yes, I was immediately captivated by the poignant and emotionally charged narrative that unfolded before me. Mary Beth Keane’s storytelling prowess transported me into the lives of the Gleeson and Stanhope families, immersing me in their triumphs, tragedies, and the enduring power of forgiveness.

A Tapestry of Human Emotions & Relationships

Character Development

The characters in Ask Again, Yes are so beautifully crafted that they felt like real people, with flaws, hopes, and dreams that resonated deep within me. Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope, as dedicated rookie cops, carried the weight of their pasts while trying to build a future. Lena Gleeson and Anne Stanhope, strong yet vulnerable, added layers of complexity and depth to the story. 

However, it was Peter and Kate, the children of these families, whose journey captured my heart entirely. Their unwavering friendship, tested by tragedy and time, showcased the profound impact of human connections.

Exploration of Love, Loss, & Forgiveness

Narrative Arc

The narrative arc of Ask Again, Yes was a rollercoaster of emotions, taking me through moments of heartache, joy, and everything in between. The tragic incident that tore the families apart left an indelible mark, and as the years passed, I witnessed the characters grappling with the aftermath and seeking redemption. The exploration of love and loss was raw and visceral, resonating deeply within me as I empathized with their struggles.

The Power of Forgiveness

One of the most powerful aspects of this novel was its portrayal of forgiveness. Keane delicately weaves a narrative that demonstrates the transformative nature of forgiveness, showing that it can heal even the deepest wounds. Through the characters’ journeys, I learned that forgiveness is not a single act but a process—a difficult and cathartic journey toward acceptance and healing.

Unforgettable Reading Experience

Keane’s Writing Style

Mary Beth Keane’s writing style is both lyrical and evocative, drawing me into the world she created with every sentence. Her attention to detail and ability to capture the intricacies of human emotions had me fully invested in the story, eagerly turning pages to uncover what lay ahead.

Unforgettable Impact

Ask Again, Yes left an indelible mark on me long after I closed the final chapter. It’s a book that reminds us of the complexities of human relationships, the power of forgiveness, and the resilience of the human spirit. The characters and their stories lingered in my thoughts, a testament to the enduring power of Keane’s storytelling.

To Whom I Recommend This Book?

I recommend Ask Again, Yes to those who enjoy emotionally charged and thought-provoking novels that delve into the complexities of human relationships and the power of forgiveness.


In conclusion, Ask Again, Yes is an irresistible literary gem that grips your heart and never loosens its hold. Through Mary Beth Keane’s expert storytelling, it captures the raw essence of human emotions, imprinting itself deeply in your soul. With its ability to whisper to your vulnerabilities and provoke profound introspection, this book is an emotional rollercoaster that leaves you breathless, enlightened, and forever transformed.

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