Carrie Armstrong and her family are going through some tough times at the moment. Carrie is coming to terms with the end of her long marriage to husband Rob, her daughter Hope is living alone in Spain and Carrie is worried about eher well-being. Supermodel daughter Ali seems to be settled with fiance Stuart and a wedding looming gives the whole family something to look forward to. But can they pull together to create Ali's dream day, or is it going to be ruined by family feuds and friends affairs?
Prior to seeing this on the shelf in Tesco one shopping day, I hadn't actually heard of Fiona O'Brien. I was curious enough to go home and have a little look on Amazon to see what else she has written. She has written 2 previous books which had good reviews, so I decided to take a chance on this one and get it from the library, just in case I didn't like it! I also noted that the author was Irish which was good as I seem to like pretty much anything by Irish chick-lit authors!
The plot of this book is totally about relationships, both the good and the bad ones. The ages of the characters in the book range from early twenties up to mid-fifties in the case of Carrie and husband Rob, so all ages and stages of relationships are covered by the author. We begin the book with Carrie and Rob, and the poor state of their marriage - it's no secret that Rob has been sleeping around but things are about to change for Carrie when she finds out something a bit deeper about Rob and his bit on the side that she doesn't want to uncover. Because of the nature of the story, I really felt for poor Carrie, but annoyed that she put up with what she did from Rob the pig, whom I hated instantly!
The younger characters are also present in the book, although not quite as much as the more mature ones. Ali, Hope and Stephanie are Carrie and Rob's daughters, and somewhat unlucky in love like their parents. Each are at different points in their love lives which is covered by the book, and its a great read because of how different the whole cast of characters are. As well as the daughters, we meet Jay, Carrie's best friend and wife of Frank, serial philanderer although she's happy to put up with it. This annoyed me somewhat because it seemed like the women in this book put up with their men's terrible behaviour just for the money and status of being their wives, which isn't a great message to send out!
Despite this, I really can't fault anything else about this book at all. It is incredibly well written, and consequently is a joy to read. It flits between different characters quite quickly because of the progressing story, but is easy to follow because O'Brien has made the characters different and likeable in many ways. The pace of the story is well judged - things happen in an acceptable time frame and you can see an end goal, although the end is completely shocking and not something I could have seen in a million years! There are some cringey parts to do with Rob and Frank and their mistresses, but its a crucial part of the story so do bear with it!
The book travels from the homeland of Ireland to the beautiful Spanish sun and the author does this a lot of justice. Her vivid writing enables the reader to picture clearly in their mind where the characters are at and I could easily picture the lovely harbour where Frank's beautiful yacht is moored just as well as I imagined Carrie walking down the rainy streets of Ireland as well, and the transistion between the two countries is seamless and makes for a joyful reading experience. The book is written in the third person as well which is a great way to read a book with multiple characters, and it was a writing style I found easy to get in to.
I loved this book, and would highy recommend it to people who love a well written and enjoyable story that takes you on a journey, not only geographically but emotionally as well. The characters are likeable because of their circumstances (albeit somewhat annoyingly because they allow it to be the case!) and you are able to feel sorry for them, but they change through the book and I liked the journey the characters all went on. My favourite character was Carrie, and remained that way until the shocking yet satisfying ending. The author has another book out later this year, and I can't wait because this one was just brilliant, I couldn't put it down. Highly recommended!
ISBN: 978-0340962817. Published by Hachette Books Ireland in January 2009. The paperback has 448 pages, and has an RRP of £6.99.
Thank you for reading!