Briony is helping her mother, Valerie, settle into her new life in Spain. When she finds a forgotten letter, she realises her mother has lied about why she never sees her paternal grandparents. The story then returns to the past, revisiting Valerie's burgeoning relationship with Jeff. His mother, Tessa, never took to Valerie and after his sudden death Valerie moves away, taking Briony with her. Now with Briony threatening to take her own daughter Katie away, can Valerie finally come to terms with what she has done? And can her daughter ever forgive her and understand why she acted the way she did? This is a beautifully wrought, emotionally raw tale about three generations of women, who have had to bear the most terrible losses. It gives a fantastic insight into a time when falling pregnant out of wedlock was enough to ruin a whole family's life and is ultimately a wonderfully heartwarming and uplifting read.
This follows the lives of eight main characters and asks if they can all have the "happy ever after" referenced in the title. Debbie and Bryan are newlyweds, just back from honeymoon and in serious debt after their wedding. Debbie's stepmother, Aimee, has just discovered she's pregnant, and is looking on the situation as nothing but a serious inconvenience. Her husband and Debbie's dad, Barry, is horrified when he finds out that Aimee is considering an abortion - can he talk her out of it? As Barry and Aimee grow apart, Barry finds he can't stop feeling more and more attracted to his ex-wife Connie, who is everything Aimee is not. But Connie has her sights set on a handsome man she's met through her new job. Meanwhile, both Aimee and Barry are oblivious to the secret their daughter Melissa is carrying - a secret that could seriously jeopardise her health. Debbie's boss, Judith, has just been in a serious car accident. When she and Debbie have a huge row, it forces Judith to re-evaluate how she treats people. With the help of her mother, Lily, Judith comes to realise she's been given a second chance at life - but will she take it? This book follows on from Scanlan's previous book, Forgive and Forget. Despite not having read the earlier title I found it easy to slip into this book. However, while it was an enjoyable read, I did find that there were just too many characters. A lot of the plots had very open endings, which leads me to think there'll be a third book in this series - and while it was refreshing on the one hand to not have everything conveniently rounded off at the end of a book, I could see this potentially being frustrating for a lot of readers who want to read this as a stand-alone book. (SBB)
There's nothing like a good wedding to start world war III! And that's exactly what's going to happen if Connie Adams, the mother of the bride, can't smooth things over between Debbie and her dad. Debbie's never quite forgiven her dad for walking out on her and her mother when she was a child and with him hell bent on bringing his stuck-up second wife and their sulky teenage daughter along to the big day it can only lead to one thing - fireworks! Plus on top of having to deal with the dreaded step-family, Debbie's also having to put up with the boss from hell and a fiance who's getting cold feet. Written with Scanlan's usual warmth and humour this is a really enjoyable and engrossing read that sucked me in right from the word go. The sequel is Happy Ever After. (KC)
This novel follows the life of three women from a small town in Ireland and the men that ultimately intertwine their lives. Noreen Flynn is unhappily married to a workaholic. Haunted by past secrets, she is desperate to have a baby, hoping that this will bring her and her husband closer together and give her purpose in life. Lorna Morgan is eager to leave her small town and start a glamorous life in Dublin. But her dream that her new life will be like an episode out of Sex and the City is quickly shattered. Heather Williams moves to Dublin with her cousin Lorna, however, unlike Lorna she misses her small-town life. So she moves home and questions whether an old boyfriend is the right man for her. The author does a fantastic job developing characters that a reader can relate to - you will not be able to put this book down. (AO)
Orange Blossom Days
A Time for Friends
Love and Marriage