As a back-handed compliment to the author, due to her age, the book has been written as a result of research, not experience. I grew up in a similar Irish/Catholic community in the north of England and, of course we had family in Liverpool, (as well as New York and Chicago, the usual Irish far-flung family).
In growing up in this community, religion was a strong part of day to day life, but very few people attended church on a daily basis, as the author implies, and, as a (former) altar boy I should know. Little more than a handful of people would attend daily mass, mostly women and this in a parish which filled the church for 5 masses every Sunday.
At the same time, priests were very involved in the lives of their parishioners, though none to my personal knowledge like Nadine's cleric. Little things jarred, such as women putting on their lipstick to go to a funeral, LIPPY for a funeral? In the 1950's any women wearing lipstick, or any other visible makeup to a funeral, would have been tutted out of the church! (I attended a catholic funeral this week, back in my home town and parish, and the only women with the "full slap" on were all under 30.)
Small elements like this jarred at times, but overall I still enjoyed the book, and would not wish to deter others from reading it.