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Browsing Amazon for new books on my kindle I came across this one, and at only 99p I thought I'd give it a try. I've never read anything by this author before but I liked the sound of the blurb. It was also advertised as a short story, which is good as I have a tendency to neglect everything else when I'm hooked on a book. I reckoned that a short story wouldn't have me hooked so long, therefore wouldn't distract me from everything else I should be doing.
~ About the Author ~
Cathy Kelly is a number 1 bestselling author. She worked as a journalist before becoming a novelist, and has published eleven bestselling books. She lives in Wicklow with her partner and their twin sons.
~The Plot ~
Elsie's sister Maisie emigrated from Ireland to Chicago forty-five years ago. The sisters enjoy writing to each other every month with news about their families, hopes, dreams and successes. It's not quite as good as seeing each other in person, but they are happy enough with the arrangement.
When Maisie suddenly announces that her granddaughter wants to visit Elsie in Ireland, Elsie is besides herself with worry. A great deal has happened in the last forty-five years. Has Elsie always reported it all accurately back to her sister? She can't possibly bear the humiliation of being found out for having stretched the truth, but there is no way she can refuse to play host to a member of her family, is there?
~My Verdict ~
I really enjoyed this short story, it was well written and the characters were established well over a short space of time.
The title letter arrives within the first couple of pages of the story, so you are drawn straight into the storyline. The book is written in third person, mainly from Elsie's angle but this does change a little throughout the book, allowing time to get to know the characters a little better.
Elsie lives with her daughter, son-in-law and twin granddaughters so I felt like I got to know these characters best out of all the characters in the book. I did feel that all the characters were developed well considering the length of the book, and I felt I could relate to them on the most part.
I couldn't imagine what it would be like to only keep in touch with my sister by letter for forty years, but the story pulled me into their lives nicely and I empathised with the sisters. I enjoyed reading about the relationship between Elsie's teenage twin granddaughters and their reaction to an American cousin they have never met coming to visit.
The story was true-to-life and heart-warming and I enjoyed travelling the journey with the characters (albeit a short one!)
I read this book in one sitting and it took just less than an hour. I do read quite quickly but I think slower readers could also read this easily in one sitting. I don't think 99p is bad value for money, as I would pay 70p for a bar of chocolate that would only last 5 minutes! The story kept me entertained, took me on a nice little journey through someone else's life and has given me something to think about for a little while. I felt hhapy and satisfied with the ending of the book, although I did find it slightly predictable (in a good way!)
The book is not separated into chapters (at least, it isn't on the kindle), but due to the length of the book I didn't feel this was a problem. This short story also appears in Kelly's collection of stories, Christmas Magic (£6.99 for your amazon kindle).
It's not the best book I've ever read but I would definitely recommend it (particularly if you can download it for a Kindle as it's a bargain!) I will be looking out for other work by Cathy Kelly as I enjoyed her writing style for this short story.
~ Info for Kindle e-book: ~
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 396 KB
Print Length: 30 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins (28 Oct 2011)
~ Info for Paper back Edition ~
Paperback: 70 pages
Publisher: New Island Books (Jan 2002)
Currently 99p to download for your Kindle or from £2.38 second hand paperback, on Amazon.
Recommended! Thanks for reading :-)