Back in their university days Sarah and Cahal were the Romeo and Juliet of their time, plotting to marry despite opposition from their very different families. Fast forward twenty years to the present day and we wonder why it never happened, why Sarah is a divorced mother of 2 and Cahal is a divorced father of 3 in Australia. When Cahal is seconded back to Northern Ireland for a few months the past is faced and family mysteries solved. Can Sarah trust again?
Kooks for your Kindle?– There are some lovely characterisations, it really seemed like the characters existed first and then determined the plot, rather than the other way around (not always the case!). Standouts include Sarah’s former mother-in-law, who is in a care home and still adored by Sarah. Her ex-husband Ian and his ill-chosen new wife are well done too, especially as Ian misconstrues Sarah’s caring for his mother as an indication of another chance for them. Sarah’s little sister is no longer so little but that doesn’t stop Sarah from mothering her, keeping a promise made years before.
Cahal has changed a lot since being the teen bad boy, he’s a loving Dad torn between his kids in Australia and the love of his life in Ballyfergus. The state of his parents and siblings is pretty horrifying, as is their desperation. It was good to have some parts of the story told from his point of view, as well as that of Ian.
The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Sarah struggled to rebel against the disapproval of her family back in the day, and old habits seem to die hard. It’s hard to see her bow down when faced with what seems to be unreasonable demands from her father and aunt, but as it turns out, there’s more to it. Thankfully she’s more assertive in her dealings with her ex-husband, while somehow remaining supportive.
Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– Geographically speaking, we are set in Ballyfergus, Northern Ireland, same as we were for Second Time Around, a pretty coastal town (and possibly fictional). We also have snippets in Australia, but the main image left having finished the book is that of modern families, how parents separate and join with other parents to make big combined families. The tale also touches on the logistics of such a set up, especially when spread across the world.
Evaluation of your eBook?– It’s something of a present day retelling of Austen’s classic Persuasion, with added step-families, emigration, substance abuse and other more timely issues. Ultimately though, the essential questions remain; are the couple still meant to be, and can they overcome their differences. The characters were very well done, with rich detail in the history of their relations with each other, and lots of development over the course of the book. Although the romantic outcome wasn’t a surprise, the details of it and the underlying mystery were unpredictable. Totally recommended for a gripping romance/mystery/family drama.
Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.
Can be obtained from:
UK: Currently 99p on Amazon, not sure how long for.
US: Amazon for $1.99.