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I was in a charity shop a few months back where they had 3 books for £1. As I had read this book around 15 years ago and enjoyed it, I knew it would be worth the 33p or so that it would cost me.
About the Book
The title alone gives you a massive clue as to what the book is about. Alix Callaghan is a Head of Dealing at a major Dublin bank. She is a real career woman and the idea of marriage and children isn't one that has really crossed her mind. She had thought that her partner Paul and her were on the same page and had the same goals in life. She was then stunned when Paul announced that he does want to settle down and have a family. To make matters worse, he thinks he has met the person that he wants to settle down with and it's not Alix.
Alix is devastated although she tries very hard not to show it, especially at work where she feels that her male colleagues are snapping at her heels and hoping for her job. It becomes clear to Alix that being single in your early 30's is very different from being single in your early 20's and there are other things that she now has to contend with.
This isn't just a book about being dumped, there is another story interwoven through this story which gives the book an added dimension. It's not just another 'woman gets dumped, takes it badly but lives happily ever after' style chick lit style book.
I liked the character of Alix although I probably wouldn't get on with her in real life. She is very self contained and I would feel frustrated that she maintained she was okay when she clearly wasn’t. I did admire her determination in her professional life though and was slightly envious of that quality in her.
A slight niggle that I had remembered from the first time that I read this book was that there was a lot of (what I felt was) unnecessary detail about what Alix did for a living. It was very easy to skim read through these sections though so I don't fell as though I should mark this book down on this point.
Price and Availability
I got my copy from a charity shop where I got three books for £1. This book is one that I have often seen in charity shops over the years so it's worth checking out charity shops if you want to read this book.
Suddenly Single, by Sheila O'Flanagan.
The plot follows Alix Callaghan, a high flying financial dealer working for Europa Bank in Dublin. She is a well respected financial whizz who has made it to Head of Treasury at the Bank by her early 30's. She is a woman who is succeeding in a male dominated profession and who is used to being the best at everything. All of a sudden, her comfortable world in turned upside down when her long term boyfriend Paul dumps her, because he wants to get married, settle down and have children. Paul has met a young, French interior designer who wants to have the lifestyle he wants; whereas Alix does not feel ready to settle down and have children!
The story follows the ups and downs of her personal life as well as her professional life in the dealing room of the bank. I found myself getting frustrated or happy at the events which occur in her life. I wouldn't give away the ending, but I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to find out what happens next.
The book is written in the third person, from Alix's point of view. It gave an interesting insight into the thoughts and motivations of all those around Alix in her day to day life. Those closest to her, give her unwavering support, although they don't always see eye to eye.
Her sister is married with children and it feels as though Alix feels a sense of longing towards the warm family environment that her sister has, although she vehemently denies it to anyone who questions her future plans. Her mother, Carrie, seems quite detached from Alix and as though there are some unspoken issues coming between them. Her colleagues at work are a varied bunch! She gets on well with Jenny, one of the dealers at the Bank, and tries to get an inside view on Dave and Gavin who she feels are trying to oust her from her position.
This was a book which kept me gripped from beginning to end. I started it while waiting for surgery in hospital and the fact that this book was such a gripping page turner kept my mind off what I was waiting for! It has also kept me entertained while I am sitting here trying to recover!
I have not read any books of the same author, but will definitely be making a point of doing so in future as this book has kept my attention from start to finish.
Although I purchased this book in Oxfam for £1.99, it is available on Amazon for £5.30 or £4.99 for the Kindle edition.
I highly recommend this book if you are interested in the "chick lit" genre or just want a bit of an easy read!
Alix Callaghan is a well-respected trader in Europa Bank in Dublin and living with her boyfriend Paul. She thinks that her life is running smoothly, until Paul makes the shock announcement that he wants to settle down and start a family. Although stunned at first, Alix begins to come round to the idea but Paul has a second bombshell to deliver: he never saw Alix as part of that plan. Having met a French designer during a work trip with Alix, he has decided to end their relationship in favour of setting up home with his new girlfriend. Alix is understandably knocked for six and struggles to keep it altogether in her high-pressured job environment. It doesn't help that her colleagues Gavin and Dave look set to shaft her professionally. Now that she's suddenly single again, can Alix get herself back together or will this be the start of a downward spiral for her?
Alix is a likeable enough character who gets a big shock when Paul suddenly dumps her. It is obvious from the outset how much this hurts her, and this gives her character a real sense of vulnerability that made me feel sympathetic towards her. Though she is struggling to cope with his unexpected departure, Alix knows that she has to keep going with her life and puts on a brave face at work. She appears strong to others, but we have the inside knowledge that this isn't really the case.
Alix's colleagues are somewhat annoying. Gavin is clearly out to take advantage of Alix's preoccupation and she is well aware of this. Dave is less transparent and appears quite decent to begin with until his real character begins to shine through.
***The Writing Style***
It is written in the third person, mostly from Alix's viewpoint but we sometimes have the advantage of seeing the viewpoints of others such as her colleagues which is interesting as we know a lot more than Alix herself does and can use that to our advantage when guessing how the story may unfold.
The plot may sound very basic and it is, to be honest. I found the story to be very slow and almost stopped reading it after around four chapters as I was finding it quite boring. I persevered though as I had nothing else to read. By the time I finished the book, I was left feeling that it was an ok read but nothing particularly special. I have read other books by the same author and preferred those, while this book did nothing for me really.