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The Year That Changed Everything By Cathy Kelly

The Year That Changed Everything‘The Year That Changed Everything’ is the latest book by Cathy Kelly.

Ginger isn’t spending her 30th the way she would have planned. Tonight might be the first night of the rest of her life – or a total disaster. Sam is finally pregnant after years of trying. When her waters break on the morning of her 40th birthday, she panics: forget labour, how is she going to be a mother? Callie is celebrating her 50th at a big party in her Dublin home. Then a knock at the door mid-party turns her perfect life upside down . . .

Cathy Kelly is back with another tale of female friendships and complicated relationships that made for bittersweet reading.

In her latest book, we meet three very different women who all share one significant date in their lives. On the day before Ginger’s 30th birthday, she discovers that the people who she thought were her best friends, weren’t her friends at all. Hurt by the way she’s been treated, she sets herself a mission to make her life happier and too rid her life of all the toxicity in her life. Callie is a modest woman with small demands, she’s the opposite to her husband, Jason, who loves to flash his cash around, but it seems that flashing all that cash has gotten him into trouble leaving Callie and their teenage daughter Poppy to deal with the consequences. Meanwhile, after years of trying to have a baby, Sam and her husband Ted finally have a little girl to add to their family unit, but with having the least maternal mother in the world as a role model, Sam fears that she’s unable to be a proper mother.

I really enjoyed this story, it reminded me of a Maeve Binchy novel, a story of friendships and relationships and the issues that women face on a regular basis such as post-natal depression, deception as well self confidence and body issues and Cathy has written about them all in her book, in a frank and charming tale with an injection of Irish wit from the vibrant characters scattered throughout.

The book is filled many different roles from all walks of life. All three leading ladies are wonderful and with all them I felt an immediate connection with, particularly Ginger. She’s a kind, big hearted woman that people take for granted especially her friends and it makes for sad reading, when she’s confronted with how they really feel about her. But instead of wallowing in self pity, she takes on their criticism to use it to make a change to her life for the better and use it to achieve her goals and find love. Callie, has become used to being a kept woman but quickly adapts to change when she finds that the life she she has been living was based on a lie and does everything in her power to protect her moody teenage daughter. And for Sam, I felt a strong empathy for, as she struggled with being a new mother and adjusting to her life and constantly judging herself.

The book is written from the different perspectives of the women, but they flow seamlessly together as the women’s lives begin to interact and their bonds begin to grow. Wonderfully written, filled with compassion, charm and delicious characters, ‘The Year That Changed Everything’ is an inspirational story of life and change and truly goes to show what a difference a year makes. A charming tale!

You can buy The Year that Changed Everything from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Secrets Of A Happy Marriage By Cathy Kelly

Secrets Of A Happy Marriage ‘Secrets Of A Happy Marriage’ is the latest book by Cathy Kelly.

Bess is hoping to show everyone just how happy her recent marriage is, but behind all the party-planning the cracks are beginning to show. Why is joining a family so difficult? Jojo, Bess’s stepdaughter, has a point to make. Bess is not her mother, and she won’t replace the one she’s been missing every day for the last two years. And will she ever get the chance to become a mum herself? Cousin Cari is a fierce career-woman who isn’t unnerved by anything – apart from facing the man who left her at the altar, and he’s on the guestlist. Her job has been a safe place to hide ever since – but is it time to let love into her life again? Thanks to laughter, tears and one surprise appearance, the Brannigans might just discover the secrets of a happy marriage . . . But will they find out before it’s too late?

Cathy Kelly is back with a sensitively written new book about new beginnings, family secrets and finding love.

In this story, we meet the Brannigan ladies, as they lead up to the 70th birthday of man of the Brannigan clan and the dramas that unfold before them.

Bess Brannigan has recently married widowed Edward much to the despair of his daughter, Jojo who never got over the death of her mother and who hates Bess for taking over her parents house and changing it and more importantly for taking her mothers place. Distraught at the thought of a woman replacing her mother, Jojo’s life is riddled with stress and the fact that she and her husband Hugh are unable to become pregnant makes life for Jojo even harder.

Meanwhile her best friend and cousin Cari has just given up on men, after being jilted at the alter, she throws her life into her career and being the best literary agent, she can be but when her key client is taken away. Cari decides to take a step from her career and when she meets handsome Conal, a man who distracts her from life and also makes her begin to live and find faith in love.

Finally Bess thought that she found love later on in life and was looking forward to settling down with Edward but his daughter, Jojo hates her and brings the worst out in Bess. As Bess tries to organise the best birthday ever for Edward, she finds all her plans falling apart and the perfect marriage she dreamed off spiralling out of control.

The story is warmhearted read and made for sweet and poignant reading tackling the issues of infertility and infidelity. I found myself sympathising with Jojo dealing with the pressures of life and babies, she was a relatable character.

An emotional and heartwarming story about family filled with wisdom, love and humour, ‘Secrets Of A Happy Marriage’ is a modern story of women’s lives and the issues and pressures that they face.

You can buy Secrets of a Happy Marriage from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops.

Between Sisters By Cathy Kelly

Between Sisters‘Between Sisters’ is the latest book by bestselling Irish author, Cathy Kelly.

Cassie has spent her married life doing everything right – making sure her children have the perfect life, being a devoted wife and a dutiful daughter-in-law. Although it’s left her so exhausted that ‘wine o’clock’ comes a little earlier each afternoon. Her sister Coco runs a vintage dress shop and has shied away from commitment over the years. Coco believes men complicate things, and she’s got enough to contend with. Until a face from her past returns. Watching over them is grandmother Pearl, tucked away in her little house in Delaney Square. But something is keeping her awake at night. Was she right to do what she did all those years ago? And then there’s Elsa, the polished face of daytime TV, who’s battled demons of her own in the past and come out on top. Now Elsa faces one final fight – but it will require more bravery than anything which has come before.

Cathy Kelly is a relatively new author for me, even though she’s been writing for a number of years, this is only the second book that I’ve read by the Irish writer.

The story is seen through many perspectives of the various women living in Delaney Square, where sisters and best friends Cassie and Coco were brought up by their grandmother when their own mother mysteriously disappeared. Now, grown up married with children and have successful businesses, both women have been effected in both ways by their mother leaving. Feelings of insecurity and inadequacy are frequent with the women resulting in issues with partners and family. Their grandmother Pearl has always been there for them, offering words of wisdom and support but she herself has her own cross to bear with secrets of her own. Across the water, successful television star Elsa, has battled demons of her own and wants to make up for lost time.

In the story there are a number of smaller sub stories riddled throughout the book, introducing new characters and dramas and the way that Cathy writes it is quite genius as they flow seamlessly into one another coming together neatly in the end.

The story flows at a lovely pace, filled with Irish warmth and charm and with such likeable and relatable characters made the book an enjoyable read. Packed with issues such as alcoholism, abandonment and strokes, the book deals with modern lives and the problems that society have to face.

A warmhearted and tender tale, that warms the cockles of the coldest of hearts, ‘Between Sisters’ is a beautiful story about the importance of family.

You can buy Between Sisters from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Cathy Kelly’s Writer Tips

Cathy KellyWrite often, every day if you can. Edit, edit and edit. Many writers write books but never go over them again. The first pages need to leap out at the reader. There’s no point saying your novel gets interesting in chapter four. The agent and publisher will have stopped reading by then. I have a section on advice on my website I would highly recommend Stephen King’s On Writing. Also, naturally, read all you can. Reading helps you to learn the craft of writing and while enjoying a truly enriching hobby at the same time.

Cathy Kelly

Cathy KellyCathy Kelly is published around the world, with millions of copies of her books in print. Cathy juggled her job with writing in her spare time, and her first novel, ‘Woman to Woman’, was published in 1997. It went straight to number 1 on the Irish Times and Sunday Times bestseller lists. She lives with her husband, John, their young twin sons, Dylan and Murray, and their three dogs in County Wicklow, Ireland. She is also an Ambassador for Unicef Ireland, raising funds and awareness for children orphaned by or living with HIV/AIDS.

  1. To the readers of the blog, that may not be familiar with you or your writing, can tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing?
    I wanted to write even as a kid and used to tell stories to my little sister. I was the annoying kid whose essays were read out in class! started off as a journalist but I found I wasn’t tough enough for it, although it’s a fabulous learning experience for writing. My first novel, Woman to Woman, was published in 1997. I continued to work as a journalist until three books were published at which point I decided to make the plunge to be a full time novelist. Now, I’ve written sixteen novels, with It Started in Paris being the most recent. I’m currently writing my seventeenth.
  2. Before you became an author time writer, you were an agony aunt, do you have any interesting stories to tell from this previous role?
    I feel that it’s important to protect the anonymity of the people who wrote to me – their stories were so personal, so sad and it would be wrong to talk about them. A few, like one horrific one from a paedophile seeking absolution, do stand out. I like to say that doing this was like getting a PhD in human beings.
  3. What authors do you admire?
    I love writers within my own genre, like my wonderful Irish friends, Marian Keyes, Emma Hannigan, Patricia Scanlan and Ella Griffin, and I also adore
    Maeve Binchy, Colette and Molly Keane.
  4. What is your favourite part of the writing process?
    There is huge relief to be had in pressing send when it’s finished. The relief! However, I don’t think you can write if you don’t love it, so I love coming up with the characters and getting involved with creating this whole world of people with their lives and traumas and, finally, their triumphs! I do like happy endings but my endings are not always – I hope – obvious.
  5. How would you describe your writing?
    I think this is an impossible question! I write what I would like to read: words that consume me, comfort me, challenge me. I like to write about real people in real worlds where we are not rescued by a knight on a white horse but have to rescue ourselves!
  6. What has been the highlight of your career so far?
    Probably getting my first book published because without that, there would be no career!
  7. The cover for ‘Between Sisters’ is particularly beautiful. Do you have much input into the design for the cover? And do you, yourself judge books by their cover?
    Thank you, I love it. The cover design process is great fun.All authors have cover approval but really, the hard work is in the cover department who come up with visuals which the publishers, myself and my agent discuss. I have never judged books by their covers – I am a child of the library where covers years ago were often very bland and I found such glorious writers there.
  8. Tell me about your role as an Ambassador for Unicef Ireland.
    I became involved with UNICEF nine years ago and it has been a huge joy. It means I get to travel to places and see how people with nothing live, and I can then come home and tell the world about it. I like to see it as using my voice to help people with no voice.

    Over the years working for UNICEF, I’ve been to Rwanda and Mozambique where I’ve seen mothers with HIV/AIDs holding onto their children and staring blindly ahead while they talk about who will mind their baby when they’re gone. There are no words to comfort and you instantly put yourself in their place, imagining if you were dying and there was nobody to protect your child from a future which, without UNICEF’s help, can include starvation, abuse and abject poverty. In Mozambique, a child dies of malaria every fifteen minutes when a simple mosquito net costing about six dollars can save the same child’s life. But these people can’t afford six dollars.

  9. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    A. Probably the complete works of Trollope – Anthony.
    B. ‘The SAS Survival Guide’ (which I actually own) because then I would survive.
    C. the works of Wodehouse so I could giggle.
  10. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    Write often, every day if you can. Edit, edit and edit. Many writers write books but never go over them again. The first pages need to leap out at the reader. There’s no point saying your novel gets interesting in chapter four. The agent and publisher will have stopped reading by then. I have a section on advice on my website I would highly recommend Stephen King’s On Writing. Also, naturally, read all you can. Reading helps you to learn the craft of writing and while enjoying a truly enriching hobby at the same time.
  11. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    Strong coffee!
  12. And finally Cathy, do you have any projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the website?
    Thank you for asking. I am writing my next novel due to my published in 2016. I love hearing from readers either through my website or Facebook and Twitter.

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