Review of Red Letter Day, a novel by Colette Caddle.
I am reviewing the paperback version of the novel. ISBN 978-0743468848, 320 pages, published in 2004 by Pocket Books, genre Modern Fiction, cover price £6.99.
Red Letter Day is set in Ireland and follows the life of a young trainee fashion designer, Celine Moore. Celine is tipped to be Ireland's hottest new designer.
The story opens with Celine, her husband Dermot and her widowed father, Frank, attending an award ceremony, where Celine wins the coveted 'New Designer of The Year' award. A promising future beckons to the newly married couple.
A short time after winning the award, Celine's life is thrown into turmoil when Dermot is tragically killed. On finding herself widowed at a very young age, Celine's career as a designer falls to pieces and she can no longer bring herself to continue in her chosen career. She has to work, so takes a job in a pharmacy to make ends meet and settles for a lonely existence.
Some years later, this very loneliness that she experiences leads her into an affair with a married man. Her affair is brought to light in a very public fashion by her lover's wife and as a result, Celine is ostracised by her neighbours and sister-in-law, Dermot's sister, Brenda. Her father is shocked and devastated by his daughter's behaviour, which has rocked the small community they live in.
When Celine begins to receive poison pen letters, all in red envelopes, she decides to make a fresh start. She rents out her house, leaves the pharmacy and takes a temporary position as manager of a second hand dress agency in another town. The job is to cover for the business owner, Rose, who has have hip surgery. The dress agency has a small flat above the shop where Celine is able to live.
Her new lifestyle is not without problems as her married lover keeps pursuing her, her new boss has problems of her own and the past comes back to haunt Celine in ways she would never have imagined possible.
==About The Author==
Colette Caddle is the author of some eleven novels. The first was published in 1999, this first novel went straight in to the best-seller's chart at number four, then climbed to number one where it stayed for two weeks. Colette Caddle is a busy housewife and the mother of two sons, she combines writing with her family life.
More about the author and a bibliography can be found on her website:-
==My Thoughts and Conclusion==
Red Letter Day was given to me by a friend, we are both avid readers and often have book swapping sessions. I had not read this particular author before, so had no preconceived impressions of the author's style before reading, it was new and fresh to me.
I found Red Letter Day to be a very readable novel with an interesting, credible plot, strong and believable characters. I feel that the author is a 'people watcher' as she has painted such a remarkably true to life pictures of her main characters. Celine, for example comes over as a vulnerable and sensitive person, who has allowed her life to jog along, rarely leaving her comfort zone. The events that befall her, give her the impetus to change things and discover her inner strengths. Celine's friend, Marina, is an almost over the hill fashion model, a flighty, spend thrift, single mother. She spoils her little boy to the point of ridiculousness, yet when push comes to shove, Marina is a tower of strength for Celine. Another central character is Rose, Celine's new employer. She is a strong woman who has had to overcome severe problems, yet has retained her humour and sense of fair play.
These and the other characters in the novel are incredibly well drawn. There are quite a number of characters within the book, but not so many that the storyline becomes complicated by sub-plots, which can be irritating to the reader!
I particularly liked the author's writing style, the novel is written in the third person. The plot is simple, yet has enough going on to hold the reader's interest. The plot twists and turns through a series of events, all of which allow Celine to re-build her self esteem, her professional confidence and her life.
The novel is available from various sources, as an example it can be found on www.amazon.co.uk for £5.49 new or from 0.01p used.
I intend to look out for more from this author, I hope that I will find other Colette Caddle books as memorable. I would recommend this novel, I certainly enjoyed it.
Thank you for reading.
© brittle1906 August 2010
N.B. My reviews may be found on other sites, under the same user name.
Recently, I seem to have discovered a whole raft of female writers who produce extremely good fiction - Melissa Hill, Patricia Scanlan, Sheila O'Flanaghan to name but a few. Now I have another name to add to my list - Colette Caddle, the author of Red Letter Day which I have just finished reading and have enjoyed very much!
Red Letter Day tells the story of Celine Moore, a once up and coming clothes designer, but since being widowed at an early age, she has given up her dreams and has been only existing rather than living! At the start of the story, we discover that she has been having an affair with a married man - just for a bit of company really - but the wife has just found out and Celine has become the object of much hostile gossip. As a consequence, she moves to a different part of Dublin and takes up work in a second hands clothes shop and starts living in the flat above the shop. This proves to be a really good move for her, providing her with a new lease of life and maybe even a potential love interest. However, there are many memories and people from her past and through their reappearance the reader is often to be found wondering whether Celine will be able to find true happiness.
This wonderful book is so very readable that, even at just under 500 pages, I read it in just a few days. Colette Caddle has an immensely readable style that keeps you thinking that you'll just read a little bit more. There are quite a few different storylines threaded together and a good many characters, but it's easy to keep track of them all due to the craft of the writing. I guess you might say that in some ways some of the outcomes are pretty predictable but there are one or two twists and surprises along the way.
Celine makes a great main character and you really do get to know her and care about her quite soon. She is quite a vulnerable character at the start of the book which is probably why she had the affair. It is lovely to observe her confidence growing as the story progresses. There are lots of other excellent characters too - Rose, the owner of the shop, Close Seconds, her son Fergus with his rather dodgy past, the dishy landlord Richard, Marina, Celina's close friend who is struggling to bring up her son alone, Celine's father Frank who's only wish is to see his daughter happy. All of these characters seem very real and all are very important to the storyline. There are also a host of other characters including customers to the shop, nosy neighbours and a whole cast of the local operatic society that Celine becomes involved with. I thought all of the characters were developed very well and I particularly thought that all the dialogue was very plausible.
The story moves along at a good lively pace. It is not too busy as to be confusing but also not so steady as to become boring. I just wanted to keep reading because I wanted to find out what would happen to Celine and to find out whether she would be able to leave her past behind her once and for all.
If you enjoy books by authors such as Melissa Hill and Patricia Scanlan, I feel sure that you will enjoy this book too. The paperback is available on Amazon for £5.49, where I am also pleased to discover there are many other novels by Colette Caddle available!