Cover image for 47 roses
47 roses
Sheridan, Peter, 1952-
Personal Author:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Viking, 2002.

Physical Description:
viii, 214 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PR6069.H4575 Z465 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



A family secret, a sacrifice for love, a dying mother, a search for the truth: the ingredients of 47 Rosessuggest a compelling novel. But for Peter Sheridan, these are not the elements of fiction-they are the ingredients of his own life. In 47 Roses, Sheridan tells the moving and sometimes shocking story of "the other woman" in his parents' lives. Upon his father's sudden death in Dublin, Sheridan finds out about his father's almost fifty-year relationship with Doris, an Englishwoman who was both less and far more than a mistress. Sheridan elegantly describes his search for the truth in the face of resistance from his mother, who falls fatally ill. He eventually meets Doris and learns that she never married, living only for her brief meetings with Sheridan's father. This beautifully written portrait of a marriage forces us, like Sheridan himself, to face truths of the heart that refuse to conform to the easy verities of convention.

Author Notes

Peter Sheridan has served as director of the Abbey Theater, the Irish Arts Center, and the Irish Repertory Theater in New York, and the Los Angeles Theater Center. He lives in Dublin, Ireland.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In the same intense groove as Campbell Armstrong's I Hope You Have a Good Life (2000), Sheridan traces the life of the father he did not know. There is his Da's relationship, over 47 years, with Doris, an Englishwoman, who is not the author's Irish mother, Anna. Anna's small, fierce self burns at the center of this tale as, after his father's sudden death, Sheridan tries to untangle his own feelings and the truth of his parents' and Doris' lives. Doris had not seen his father in 17 years, yet appeared at his funeral to lay the 47 red and white roses of the title on his grave. Sheridan's Da never left his family but never let go of Doris, either. The truths of the heart remain elusive, but Sheridan's longing to untangle the affections of his father's heart leads to the tenderest of revelations. Sheridan has spent his adult life in the Irish theater, and in this memoir, his language is as round in the mouth and fine on the tongue as a sip of Guinness. GraceAnne DeCandido.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Irish playwright Sheridan returns to the same themes of his debut memoir, 44: Dublin Made Me, further exploring his childhood, family and city. The plot focuses on a complex mnage trois between his parents and a British woman named Doris, a relationship that spanned 47 years and two countries. Intriguingly, this plot is never resolved: the deeper Sheridan explores, the more elusive the characters and their motivations become. He does not unearth Doris's intentions nor does he delve into why his mother, Anna, allowed another woman in her marriage. Sheridan approaches these mysteries with a combination of temerity and timidity: he'll ask Doris why she used contraceptives when she slept with his father yet shy away from confronting his mother with similar personal questions. Sheridan thus creates a joyfully uneven experience, leaving readers to discover the small details gradually, the entire story never revealed until the very end. The narrative proceeds primarily through Sheridan's own flashbacks or through long, italicized segments delivered in first person by Anna or Doris. These segments, though sometimes cumbersome and detached from the main narrative, provide the reader not only with shifting points of view, but also with rich Irish and British vernacular. Sheridan's secondary characters are the members of his extended family, including his alcoholic aunt and uncle from Australia. Another key character is the city of Dublin, with its songs, customs and politics. Although at times burdened by excessive sentimentality, Sheridan does succeed in conveying an Irish atmosphere and the more worldly issues of fidelity, betrayal and unrequited love. (On sale July 1) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In this sequel to his highly praised memoir, 44: Dublin Made Me, Sheridan a notable figure in the Irish theater recounts being summoned home for his father's death only to discover the sacrifices his father had made to keep his Catholic household together. "Da" (Peter the elder) had married "Ma" (Anna) at a young age in an Irish Catholic marriage sanctified by their parish priest even though Peter did not have parental approval. Several years later, Da met and fell in love with Doris, an Englishwoman and Protestant. While his conscience and church would never allow him to marry Doris, he could also never quite give her up. This is the story of their life together and apart. Ma knew about their relationship yet chose to keep her family together and agreed to allow Doris the occasional visit to the Sheridan household. This unconventional arrangement allowed Sheridan's parents to maintain their marriage for over 50 years. To Sheridan's credit, he sought out Doris after his father's death to learn the truth. The story he found is related in this moving account of the lives of his father, his mother, and Doris. Recommended for libraries with large memoir and Irish collections. Pam Kingsbury, Florence, AL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.