Frankie McCormick is just getting her life back on track. Her pig of a husband Tony left her for an American bimbo who he's now having a baby with, and left her with their 2 young children to look after, a job to hold down and a life to run too. When she meets Owen at work, she doesn't expect him to be interested in a frumpy mum of 2, but luckily for her he is. However, there's one problem - Angelica, Owen's teenage daughter who seems hellbent on hating Frankie and making their relationship a misery. Is their relationship going to be able to survive the wrath of a wronged teenager or will it be heartbreak for Frankie once more?
This book was sent to me by Fiona's publicist Emma Walsh, and I was really eager to start it because it had such a good plot and looked exactly like the sort of book I love to read. Fiona is an Irish author published by Poolbeg Press, the leading publishers in Ireland for women's fiction, and I knew if they were publishing Fiona's book then it had to be good! We've been lucky enough to have Fiona write us a series of blog posts exclusively for our site about the road to becoming an author so do check those out if you get the time! Anyway, back to the review...
The book has a very uplifting writing style to it that draws you in right from the beginning. As a single mum of a toddler, I could really relate to Frankie very well and I think she's a very realistic character that is believable and likeable, but also she's one that women will be able to relate to, single or not, because of her juggling her home, kids and job! Frankie doesn't think any man can be attracted to her, but I loved seeing her turnaround and realise she was actually a catch, and the blossoming romance between her and Owen was so touching, you can't help but want it all to work out for poor old Frankie!
There are quite a few other characters in the book, but they are actually really important for the development of the storyline, and the minor storylines too. Owen is a bit "Prince Charming" at first but soon becomes a more realistic male. Cassidy writes the relationship between Owen and daughter Angelica very well - there's more to it than meets the eye and while you think he's being too soft on her, you're suddenly reminded about Angelica's past by Fiona and feel a bit guilty for thinking badly of her! My favourite other character is that of Ella, Frankie's sister and her husband Hammy. They have their own problems but the way the sisters relationship is written is so sweet it doesn't matter, they are always there for each other.
The book looks at lots of different relationships, and I thoroughly enjoyed each of them. You can see the guilt that Frankie feels for having another relationship and the effect it has on her children Ben and Carly, and I feel Cassidy has really put this across well because it's an important part of Frankie's life. The interactions between Frankie and Angelica are at times painful but by the end I found it was vital to have happened that way because it seemed how it would be naturally between the pair. Owen and Frankie were a great pairing, and also the relationship between Frankie and her parents was funny in parts, but also something I could relate to in a way too!
Fiona Cassidy has a very warm writing style, and seems to have the knack of what makes great women's fiction. I can liken her books to that of Claire Allan, a fellow Poolbeg author and if you enjoy one of these ladies books, you'll definitely like the other. The book is fairly long, but I found myself breezing through it because it was very intriguing and easy to read. I cared for the characters by the end, especially Frankie, and I loved the ups and downs throughout the book, and the fact it wasn't all plain sailing for these characters. I was gutted as I turned the final page as I didn't want to leave these characters behind, but it makes me eager to read Fiona's next book Anyone For Me? due out this summer! A fabulous read, and highly recommended.
ISBN: 978-1842234259. Published by Poolbeg Press in October 2009. Pages: 350. RRP: £6.99
Thanks for reading.
After her husband Tony ups and leaves her, Frankie McCormick swears off all men for good and has been raising her son and daughter, Ben and Carly, by herself since then. So when she first meets Owen Byrne, the last thing she's expecting to happen is to fall in love with him. Fall in love they do but it's not without it's disasters. For starters, Owen's daughter Angelica hates Frankie and is doing all she can to break them up. Not to mention the fact their respective in-laws are doing their level best to also break them up. Throw in a bittersweet tragedy, stir in some faces from the past and watch as Frankie and Owen's relationship is tested to the limit. Do the pair have what it takes to stay together or will they make the heartbreaking decision to go their separate ways and save their sanities?
Anyone For Seconds? is Fiona Cassidy's (real name Fionnuala McGoldrick but it was thought using her real name would be difficult to spell/remember) debut novel and one I've been looking forward to for some time now. I've actually been chatting with Fionnuala (look at me - hobnobbing with authors!) so when this finally arrived I was so worried about starting it in case I hated it. Fionnuala has been incredibly kind to me so it would have been difficult to write a bad review had I hated the book!
My worry over hating the book evaporated immediately as the book easily sucked me in with it's easy-to-read writing style. The book starts with Frankie telling us that instead of being miserable and cold because it's January, she's actually incredibly happy as she's just met the man of her dreams - Owen. It was a very interesting start to the book and I was easily sucked in to Frankie's life. We're quickly introduced to her children - Ben and Carly - and we learn that Frankie is a (reluctant) single mother as her ex-husband Tony took off to America with Stella, the woman he had been having an affair with. Frankie holds no punches when it comes to telling us all about her ex-husband and I admired her honesty. It's clear from the off that herself and her family are incredibly close-knit which makes for wonderful reading.
Frankie was a fantastic lead character and I really liked her. Right from the off I thought she was warm, funny but also prone to bad temperedness. Before meeting Owen she had gone through quite a lot and then when she was with Owen, their relationship went through a whole bunch of problems too. Some self-inflicted, some not and some that were quite sad. I was wondering if Frankie would ever get a break! In most chick lit books, the man of the book rarely appears at the beginning of the book - never mind the fact they start dating right at the beginning. It's something that's a rarity and if you want to write it that way then it has to be done well. After all you can hardly get them together right at the beginning and have them sail through life. That would be rather silly and a bit boring. It's safe to say Fionnuala throws a lot of problems at the pair and I just kept wishing they would pull through together as they were a really nice couple and Owen seemed incredibly sweet throughout. I really liked Frankie's children Ben and Carly, they seemed polite whenever they were around and like incredibly nice kids. Comapred to Angelica, Owen's teenage daughter, they were a pair of angels! For most of the book Angelica is a bit of a pain in the backside and I found myself, like Frankie, getting tired of the fact that everyone kept going on and on about how sad she was that her mother had left as if it was some kind of excuse. Ben and Carly's father left and they didn't act as if it was their right to be spiteful and vindictive. Frankie's family were all fantastic. I loved that Frankie's mother was such a drama queen as she really made me laugh. Frankie's dad also made me laugh actually since his solution to all problems seemed to be taking the dog for a walk! Ella, Frankie's sister, goes through a bit of a tough time and I felt so sad for her for everything she was going through. The final main character is Ruby, Frankie's best friend, and I absolutely adored her. She's everything you would want in a best friend and more. A few minor characters popped up now and again like Nebby Peg, Frankie's granny-in-law, (I love that Frankie calls her that) and Owen's in-laws who were quite nasty.
Fionnuala's writing is simplistic and very readable and although the book is almost 500 pages long I found myself speeding through it without realising quite how far I'd gotten into the book. There really is nothing like losing yourself in a book. Fionnuala is incredibly talented at keeping her writing style easy to read and I never once found myself getting confused with all of the characters present. On the front of the book Claire Allan says the book is warm and witty and I couldn't agree more. Anyone For Seconds? is the kind of book that leaves you smiling. Yes, Frankie and Owen have had a tough time and continue to have rough patches but you can't help but root for them throughout the entire book.
I truly recommend you give Anyone For Seconds? a read, it really is a perfect tale of family life as it is nowadays: step-parents, step-siblings, nebby in-laws (or ex-in-laws as the case may be) and through a fantastic cast of characters, Fionnuala McGoldrick has created such a warm and enjoyable read.