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I'm not an expert on "chick-lit", as I generally have a textbook close to hand; however this novel kept me laughing to the end. Clare Dowling is witty, light hearted in her writing style and keeps you reading.
Emily is a heavily pregnant lawyer, who is frantically busy all of the time, which it wont surprise the reader that she is admitted to hospital with what could develop into pre-eclampsia, a potentially life threatening situaiton. She will do anything to be seen by a particular doctor, but ends up being the annoyance of his workload. Her and fellow pregnant women stage a sit in to try and save the hospital they are in, St Marthas. However, she finds that her husband connor may not have been faithful.
Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down, I was absolutely hooked. Definately one for light reading: on the plane, in the bath, by the beach, you name it. You'll love it!
After reading all the books my favourite authors I have written, I sat on Amazon for about an hour trying to find a new author to read and a few new books for myself. I came across this author via another I had read, and I decided I would give this novel a try.
*About The Author*
Clare Dowling is an Irish author from Kilkenny in Ireland. She first trained as an actress, and then began writing for the theatre and has had 5 theatre plays produced. She now lives in Dublin, and Expecting Emily is her first novel. She has since released another 3 novels.
The cover had a quote by Cathy Kelly saying the novel was "Very funny and original" and I thought that was a good sign since I very much enjoy reading Cathy Kelly. The book started introducing us to the main character, a heaily pregnant Emily Collins. The first scenes in the book take place in an ante-natal ward of a hospital in Cork so we know straight away Emily is pregnant, and this is what the whole book is centred around.
Emily has a husband, Connor, and the two of them are not getting on as well as Emily would like, especially considering she is carrying their child. She finds out a secret about her husband which rocks the boat of their marriage, and Emily doesn't know if she wants to be around her husband after his life-shattering secrets comes out.
Emily is admitted to hospital one evening with suspected pre-eclampsia, a dangerous condition for pregnant women involving high blood pressure. The medical side of the book is extremely well researched and talked about in the book very easily. You can tell the author completely understands what she is writing about, and does not seem out of her depth with any of the medical jargon she uses in the book.
Her colleague Neasa, comes to visit Emily to report on what is going on where they work, at a solicitor's office. Emily is cross because she has been passed over for promotion by Neasa's boyfriend (secret boyfriend in the office) and doesn't know if she wants to return to work once their baby is born. We see a bit of Neasa throughout the book, and her relationship with Gary is covered in the book, although it isn't the ideal one!
Another drama running through the book is that the hospital Emily is admitted to, which is not the privaate hospital she should have been at, is going to be closed. Emily at first is not bothered about its closure, but the longer she is on the ward at St Martha's, she decided she wants to fight and use her legal expertise to keep it open! The pages around this in the novel tend to go on a bit.
We do not see much of Emily's family, and it is clear that she doesn't get on that well with her mother and her sister. Her sister had 5 children, and they are the boys from hell! Emily doesn't feel she can go to her sister for advice, and the relationship between the two is not a happy sisterly one. Emily's mother Pam is a strict religious woman, and she is never overly affectionate and close with her daughter, and I thought this was quite sad, as when a woman is pregnant, she needs her mum the most!
If I am honest, I found the first half of the book fantastic. I got really into it, and I wanted to keep reading to find out what was going to happen to Emily and her baby, and how Emily and her husband Connor were going to sort it out. But after the first half, the book almost lost it's way and carried on plodding along at a nice pace but nothing really happened in a few hundred pages! The eventual birth of Emily's baby happens very quickly, and we don't really know anything about it, and Emily's life with the baby. The book is realistic in that the pregnancy and medical conditions are fantastically described, and the relationships you can tell aren't all going to be magically healed, but I really lost interest towards to the end and I felt I was reading just to find out what happened, rather than because I was enjoying it.
I think it is a good read, and I will be trying another of Clare Dowling's book, but if I find that the same thing happens in her next novel, I am not sure I will try a third.
The book retails for £7.99 but you can pick it up for £3.99 on Amazon.co.uk, but from just £0.01 (plus postage) on the Amazon marketplace. Book ISBN: 978-0755303625. Published by Headline Review. 512 pages.
Also by Clare Dowling:
My Fabulous Divorce
No Strings Attached