“ Author: Cathy Kelly / Genre: Fiction „
Dee is a newspaper reporter who is desperate to get out of the newsroom and into the features department. When her dream job as editor of the women's section suddenly becomes available, she immediately applies for the position. Isabel is a recently separated mother-of-two has had left England and returned to her native Ireland after finding out about her now estranged husband's business debts. She might have been out of action for a long time as far as Irish journalism goes, but that doesn't stop Isabel applying for the job of women's editor too. Will either of the women get the coveted job?
This is only one aspect of the plot and doesn't really take up that much of the book. The bulk of the plot really concerns Dee's troubled relationship with fiancee Gary, who refuses to help out around the house and frequently belittles Dee about her weight. In short, he is a pretty unlikeable character that will undoubtedly annoy many of the readers (like me!); and Isabel's struggle to rebuild the lives of herself and her daughters following the fraught move back to Ireland. As with Gary, David (Isabel's estranged husband) also comes across as quite irritating with his get-rich-quick schemes that seem to cause a lot more havoc than good.
In contrast, both Dee and Isabel are likeable characters who I think a lot of women will feel some connection with depending on which woman's life has more relevance to their own. Both seem quite strong in terms of character, although Dee has some crises of confidence and is less sure of herself than Isabel due to how she sees herself.
As well as Gary and David, there are some other irritating supporting characters. Gary's mother (Dee's mother-in-law-to-be) feels that Dee is inferior to her family and constantly makes snide remarks about her that Gary does nothing to stop. Likewise, Isabel's mother never seems to miss an opportunity to put Isabel down. Newspaper department boss Tanya Vernon is another character that seems to enjoy poking fun at others (often Dee).
Fortunately there are less annoying supporting characters in the book, such as Dee's friend Maeve and Isabel's friend Rhona. The bulk of the story concentrates on Dee and Isabel though.
The book is written in the third person and captures Dee and Isabel's viewpoints from this angle. At first, both women have separate chapters concentrating on them but as their paths begin to cross, their stories become entwined in the same chapters. One quite clever touch for me is the agony aunt letters that appear at various times in the book. Alongside her reporting, Dee has an agony aunt column in which she advises readers on their problems. Most of the letters in the book are written as though they have been sent in by a reader but in actual fact, they relate very closely to Dee's personal situation.
This is essentially a chick lit book and doesn't try to be any deeper than that. Even if you don't feel any connection to the lives of either character, you will more than likely find yourself feeling sorry for them at various times, which is testament to the characterisation created by the author. I've never read any of her books before this one but I have since picked up a cheap copy of another book of hers (Woman To Woman) from a charity shop as I really liked this book.