Sunday, 26 April 2015

A Good Catch by Fern Britton

"The new witty and warm novel from the best-selling author and TV presenter, Fern Britton. Perfect for fans of Katie Fforde, Jill Mansell and Trisha Ashley
Even happy families have their secrets…

Greer Clovelly seems to have it all, beautiful, chic and slender, she’s used to getting her own way. Greer has been in love with Jesse Behenna since her first day at school and she’s determined that one day, they’ll be married. After all, a marriage between them would join together two dynasties of Cornish fishing families to make one prosperous one.

For her friend, Loveday Carter – plump, freckled and unpretentious – living in the shadow of her friend has become a way of life. She loves Jesse too, but knows that what Greer wants, she usually gets.

Jesse, caught in the middle, faces an agonising choice. Should he follow his heart or bow to his father’s wishes? And what about his best friend Mickey, who worships the ground that Loveday walks on?

Jesse’s decision will touch them all in ways that they could never foresee, and as the dark clouds start to gather the four friends find themselves weathering a storm – one that has the power to sink them all…"

I had not read any of Fern's previous books so I was not sure what to expect.  I was instantly drawn in by the prologue, which is intriguing and wets your appetite before launching you back into the past.  You then follow Greer, Loveday, Mickey and Jesse right from childhood into adulthood and the next generation.  I really liked Fern's style of writing; it was easy to read but descriptive enough to conjure up vivid images in your mind.

Fern covers the timeframe well as you feel like you have lived through the generations with the characters and do not feel anything substantial is missing. Fern also captures the feelings and tensions perfectly; I could feel the strength of emotions coming off the page as the reader witnesses the feelings between the various characters develop and also as the overriding importance of Jesse following his father's footsteps in the family business and doing whatever it takes to keep the family business alive and successful became clear.  

A Good Catch is about following your heart and the effect that regrets can have on your life if you do not do so.  It is hard to say that this is a lovely story as it has a backdrop of sadness and lost opportunities, however, it is an enjoyable tale and it is well told.  A great book to have at the ready this summer, especially if you are venturing down to Cornwall!

A Good Catch is not in the slightest predictable; I had no idea what was going to happen until it had happened.  Fern brought the fictional fishing town of Trevay to life and I hope that it is somewhere we get to visit again with Fern in the future.  The ending of A Good Catch is such that it leaves the aftermath of the situation to your imagination and it would be nice to catch up with the characters again in the future as it left me wanting to know more.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married by Marian Keyes

"When Lucy Sullivan is dragged by her friends to visit a psychic, she thinks it will be a bit of a laugh. She doesn’t believe for one second that the prediction will come true; there’s just no way that she will be married within the year!
In fact Lucy doesn’t even have a boyfriend. 
But then she meets gorgeous but unreliable Gus. And the handsome Chuck. Oh and there’s Daniel, the world's biggest flirt. And even cute Jed, the new guy at work. 
Is it written in the stars? Or will Lucy finally take control of her own destiny and find the perfect man?"

I'll admit that it took me a little bit longer to get into this book than it did with Watermelon but nonetheless, it is still fabulous.  Each of the characters are unique, completed defined and exceptionally well-developed.  

Lucy makes you want to bash her over the head as she keeps going for the wrong man and fails to see what is right in front of her face, and you have to wait right until the very end to breathe a sigh of relief, but the journey to the end is fun.  

Marian's books could never be described as pure chick lit fairytales as they also cover other real issues; in this case depression and alcoholism.  Her books always stand out from the crowd, as they are proper stories.  You don't feel like you are reading a book, instead you feel like you're living it.  This comes from the fact that the books are packed full of detail (but not in a way that you find yourself bored out of your mind) and you don't feel like anything is missing; no stone has been left unturned.  An incredibly special way of writing.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Watermelon by Marian Keyes

"At twenty-nine, fun-loving, good-natured Claire has everything she ever wanted: a husband she adores, a great apartment, a good job. 

Then, on the day she gives birth to her first baby, James visits her in the recovery room to inform her that he's leaving her. Claire is left with a beautiful newborn daughter, a broken heart, and a body that she can hardly bear to look at in the mirror.   So, in the absence of any better offers, Claire decides to go home to her family in Dublin. 

To her gorgeous man-eating sister Helen, her soap-watching mother, her bewildered father. And there, sheltered by the love of an (albeit quirky) family, she gets better. A lot better. In fact, so much better that when James slithers back into her life, he's in for a bit of a surprise."

I am on a mission to re-visit each and every one of Marian Keyes books.  It has been such a long time since I read the early books that whilst I know I love them, I can't remember any specifics about them (other than the fabulous Walsh family, in some of them).  I realised this when I recently read The Mystery of Mercy Close and recognised the Walsh family names but couldn't place what they were like in their own books.

I adored Watermelon.  Claire has the most awful thing happen to her when her husband leaves her on the same day as she gives birth to her baby girl, and she returns to Ireland to her Mammy.  What follows is Claire's grief and utter meltdown and yet, you will find yourself laughing out loud at this book.  It has been a while since I physically laughed out loud at a book, but Marian Keyes manages to produce such wonderful one-liners and she makes it look absolutely effortless.  I am an avid follower of Marian on twitter, and parts of Watermelon are so vividly like Marian; it's like Marian Keyes on a page!

You get a real feel for each of the characters right from the very outset; they are all so well-defined and there is not any question in the reader's mind as to who they are and what they stand for.  I loved the interactions between each of the members of the Walsh family.

Whilst this book is now nearly 20 years old (!!!!), it is still absolutely fabulous and for a debut book, it is exceptionally good.  There isn't a single thing I don't like about it.  It is funny, engaging, romantic with a dollop of justice thrown in.  It is a timeless classic which I could easily read over and over again as there as so many wonderful lines in this book that I'm sure I missed some on my first re-read.  This is high praise indeed as I do not usually read a book twice, ever!!

I cannot wait to re-discover the rest of the Walsh family as I continue on my journey through Marian's books.