Georgina is recently separated, and trying to adjust to life as a
single mother to two teenagers. When she becomes a carer for
Alzheimer's sufferer Aine Quigley, she wonders if she has taken on
more than she can handle. Aine is at times confused, at times lucid,
and in these lucid moments the two strike up a solid friendship.
Georgina tries to help Aine recall the important times in her past,
and we get to see the Aine who is steadily being left behind by the
This was a wonderfully written book, dealing sensitively with the issues of dementia. The story is set both in present day, with the reader observing Aine's confusion and frustration as Alzheimer's takes hold, as well as her developing friendship with Georgina, and in 1960s Derry and Italy, where Aine reminisces about her youth and her vibrant sister Charlotte. Georgina is struggling to come to terms with the end of her marriage, and while she initially has doubts about taking on this carer's position, especially when she first meets Aine's nephew Jonathan, it is clear that soon Georgina needs Aine almost as much as Aine needs Georgina. Their friendship is touching and poignant. I would highly recommend this book. (LO)
Kitty Shanahan is the owner of the Bridal Nook, and her world falls apart one day when a routine phone call informs her that her husband has left his job, and a letter at home confirms that he has left her. Award-winning journalist Erin Brannigan is planning her wedding with the love of her life. However, Paddy is battling cancer, and planning their big day down to the very last detail, which is driving her a bit mad.
When Erin goes to the Bridal Nook to purchase her wedding dress, the two women's lives become intertwined. When Erin is tasked with writing a feature about her wedding, Paddy's battle with cancer and her previous relationship which ended in disaster, things begin to get a little out of control. And while Kitty is still reeling from her husband walking out on her, her life starts to get even more complicated. Can broken hearts ever be mended?
Written in Allan's usual informal and humorous style, this book was laugh-out-loud funny. The journey of discovery that the characters embark on clearly shows their growth and development throughout the novel. Both Erin and Kitty are believable and relatable characters, however I was a little disappointed that their lives didn't intertwine a bit more - at times it felt like reading two completely unlinked stories. While there are some good plot twists, I found some to be too predictable. But overall I enjoyed it and I look forward to reading more from Claire Allan. (LO)
Is there ever such a thing as the perfect relationship? That's the
question Annie Delaney is facing. All she's ever wanted is her happy-ever-after, encompassing the ideal man, the fantasy "big day out" and the dream home. It's a shame then that her boyfriend is less a dream than a nightmare, and as for the sexy (and hairy) man currently in her bed - well, that's a whole other disaster in the making.
With her life heading into a tailspin, Annie realises she has to rethink her blueprint for happiness - a task that isn't helped by her best friend Fionn's imminent zoom towards the altar with her own Mr Right, or her sister Darcy's strong relationship with her partner. Everyone around her is happy - or are they? When Annie begins to discover the truth about her best friend and her sister's relationships, she's forced to ask herself if the perfect relationship is an attainable goal after all... The cover of It's Got To Be Perfect describes it as 'a hug in a book', and that is a wonderfully accurate reflection of just what I felt as I read the book.
Claire Allan's writing is warm and empathetic, and you cannot fail to fall in love with her characters. I adored Annie and despite her flaws and sometimes erratic behaviour, my sympathy for her never waned - and she made me laugh on many an occasion too. The relationship between Annie and Darcy is touching and realistic, and the author nails the depiction of the ups and downs of friendship through Annie and Fionn's relationship. As always, Claire Allan has delivered a book that will make you feel like you're sitting down with your best friend. (SBB)
Is the village of Rathinch in Donegal ready for a lone parents' support group? The village's resident old biddies may not think so but Detta O'Neill certainly does. Bringing together four lone parents from disparate backgrounds and situations, Detta is determined to make a difference and make the members of the group feel less alone. She certainly has her work cut out for her. The group comprises of Niamh Quigley, a woman whose husband has recently died; Ruth Byrne, single since her husband ran off with a younger woman; Liam Dougherty, the husband of the younger woman Ruth's ex left her for; and Ciara Boyle, a teenage mum who's keeping the identity of her child's father very much under wraps. Can Detta help the group to forge friendships, find happiness and confidence again and work through the secrets they're harbouring? And is Detta herself carrying around a secret with her?
This is a heart-warming story that addresses many relatable themes and issues. Each character has a distinct presence and is totally credible. It's a lovely book to curl up with at the end of a hard day. (SBB)