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Stand by Me - Sheila O'Flanagan

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Genre: Fiction / Author: Sheila O'Flanagan / Hardcover / 512 Pages / Book is published 2010-09-02 by Headline Review

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      12.08.2011 21:31
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      Should you stand by someone you love, even when they've let you down?

      Dominique is only a teenager when she's swept off her feet by dashing businessman, Brendan Delahaye. When she discover she's pregnant, they rush to marry and vow to make things work. Fast forward twenty years, and the Delahayes are riding high. Brendan's business has took off in fine style and Dominique, now known to the world by her nickname 'Domino', is the darling of the Irish social scene. Together, they adorn magazines and newspapers right, left and centre and make an envious couple. Domino is stunned when Brendan suddenly disappears, leaving her and their daughter, Kelly, to pick up the pieces and deal with the mess that was unfolding behind the scenes of their seemingly perfect lives. Left to her own devices, Domino begins to rebuild her life and discovers a strength she didn't know she had. What's happened to Brendan and will he ever return? And if he does, is there any room for him in Domino's new life?

      I absolutely loved this book, as is almost always the case with Sheila O'Flanagan's books. Despite the back cover synopsis making Brendan's disappearance seem like a major part of the plot, it doesn't actually happen until a good way into the book. Up until this point, we learn a lot about the Delahayes' marriage from their first meeting right the way through. By the time Brendan does his disappearing act and Domino is left to pick up her shattered life, we've already lived through both good and bad times with her so it's almost impossible not to take her side when events unfold. It's written in the third person, which almost makes it seem like we're watching their marriage from the outside in.

      Like most o'Flanagan characters, Domino is extremely likeable and very 'real'. Although she comes across very different to the outside world, there are vulnerabilities underneath that I'm sure most women will identify with. Leading such an idyllic life until Brendan disappears, you could forgive her for being self-centred and egotistical but she's definitely not. There were times when I really felt for her as Brendan isn't the nicest character (although not the worst I've come across) and largely sees her as an asset for his business - "dazzling Domino' as she calls her.

      All in all, I loved the book and while there are no real plot twists to speak of, it's not as fluffy as what I'd class as out-and-out chick lit.

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