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Normal People By Sally Rooney

Normal People‘Normal People’ is Sally Rooney’s second book and it won a whole host of awards including, Costa Novel of the Year 2018, An Post Irish Book Awards Novel of the Year, Winner of the Specsavers National Book Awards International Author of the Year and was longlisted for the Booker Prize.

Connell and Marianne grow up in the same small town in rural Ireland. The similarities end there; they are from very different worlds. When they both earn places at Trinity College in Dublin, a connection that has grown between them lasts long into the following years

Marianne, is the quiet, recluse in the small town, she lives with her mother and bullying older brother and Connell is the popular and studious young man who many admire from afar. His mother is also the cleaner of Marianne’s house. Whilst picking up his mother from work, Marianne and Connell begin to get to know each other and begin a secret relationship that stops when Connell doesn’t bring Marianne to their prom.

The story then flows over a number of years and is seen from their perspectives as they reconnect, never truly admitting their feelings but are there for each other during the difficult times. Both embark on other relationships and friendships, but they always come back to each other.

This book is an interesting story, it’s raw and honest and deals with issues of abuse, confidence and self-worth. Marianne is a complex character, she feels not worthy of love and ends up abusive relationships and each time Connell saves her, we hope that this might be the time that they get their happy ever afters but life gets in the way. Connell is the unlikely hero in the story, he’s there for Marianne to help her through the tough times, but always fails to make commitments which is frustrating at times. They are opposites, one coming from money and the other without and it’s interesting to see the dynamics of the relationship change over the years.

Sally doesn’t bother with punctuation in her stories, a similar style to Cormac McCarthy and at times this can make the reading difficult to understand but after a while I got used to it. I was curious about this book and after seeing it win so many awards, I understood the hype. The characters are damaged and troubled and so is their relationship, but they are constantly drawn to each other and their interaction with each does make for tender and insightful reading at times.

‘Normal People’ is a very well written story with some witty and poignant dialogue, having said that I didn’t enjoy it as much as ‘Conversations With Friends’, but still thought it was an engaging book.

You can buy ‘Normal People’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Cecelia Ahern Reveals New Book – Postscript

Cecilia AhernlWonderful news for fans of Cecelia Ahern’s bestselling novel, ‘PS I Love You’, as Cecelia has revealed that she has written a sequel to the book called ‘Postscript’.

What the back cover says –

When Holly Kennedy is approached by a group calling themselves the PS, I Love You Club, her safe existence is turned on its head. Inspired by hearing about her late husband Gerry’s letters, the club wants Holly to help them with their own parting messages for their loved ones to discover after they’re gone.

Holly is sure of one thing – no way is she being dragged back to the grief she has left behind. It’s taken seven years to reinvent herself, and she’s ready to move on with her life.

But Holly comes to realize that when you love someone, there’s always one more thing to say…

With the news only being announced today, there is already so much excitement over the book and with a cover yet to be revealed, there’s something else to look forward to!

You can pre-order ‘Postscript’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 19th September 2019.

Sinead Moriarty Reveals New Book – Seven Letters

Seven Letters‘Sinead Moriarty has revealed her new book for 2019 called ‘Seven Letters’.

What the back cover says –

I Will Always Love You, Sweet Pea A mother’s promise to her little girl that when the new baby arrives, life will not change, only get better. The mother – Sarah – pours her heart into seven letters, one for every word. Five months into her pregnancy Sarah collapses and the beautiful life she dreamt of turns into a nightmare. With Sarah’s future, and the future of her pregnancy, in their hands, her husband and sister fiercely disagree about what the doctors should do. And the crisis reveals devastating fault-lines in the lives of the entire family. All the time the clock is ticking. The medics need a decision. Can her family get beyond the fog of grief and anger to figure out what’s for the best? And can it ever heal?

Sounds like another touching and heartbreaking story from one of Ireland’s favourite authors.

You can pre-order ‘Seven Letters’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 2nd May 2019.

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.

Our Secrets And Lies By Sinead Moriarty

Our Secrets And Lies‘Our Secrets And Lies’ is the latest book by Irish author, Sinead Moriarty.

Having her son and daughter at 21 forced Lucy Murphy to walk away from a glittering future. They are the loves of her life and she is determined that they will have wonderful lives. So a scholarship to a prestigious school seems like a golden opportunity for the twins, the fulfilment of every wish Lucy has for them. But Lucy is confusing her thwarted ambitions with what her children really want. After all, seventeen-year-olds have dreams of their own, dreams they cannot always share with their mother. Until catastrophe strikes, Lucy is blind to the cost of forcing her own wishes on the twins, particularly her sensitive daughter. To have any hope of surviving as a family, all three will have to face up to some surprising and difficult truths.

Sinead is back with another great story about family drama and lies. In her latest book, we meet single parent Lucy, who gave birth to twins when she was only 21. Her boyfriend at the time, left for America leaving her with the responsibility, but thankfully she has the support of her strong family unit, her mother, father and younger sister Jenny.

Fast forward 17 years and Lucy is so proud of her teenage son and daughter who have got into a prestigious school on a scholarship. Her son, Dylan is an extremely talented footballer and the school want him to play on the team and Kelly, his sister has to leave her friends at her old school to be with her brother.

The story span over many storylines which addresses many issues, the hardship of being a single parent, the difficulty of growing up without a father figure, the pressures of fitting into society as a teenager as well as the problems of social media particularly online bullying.

Seen through the perspective of Lucy, Dylan and Kelly, this book gives a great insight into the different personalities. Lucy, is a great woman, she gave up a promising education and career to become a full time mother and has spent the last 17 years of her life, committed to giving her children the best life she can possibly provide. She was heartbroken when Tom, her boyfriend deserted her and his traditional and bullying father belittled her and she never properly got over that. She has always held a grudge against Tom and his father and is determined to prove that she is the best mother in the world. Dylan is excited about his new school and becoming the star player for the school football team, but his football is the last thing on his mind when he meets Taylor and she introduces him to drinking and partying and his priorities change much to Lucy’s dismay. Meanwhile Kelly is struggling to fit in and finds herself isolated and the victim of bullying, both in real life and online.

The story is filled with many wonderfully strong and outspoken characters, all dealing with their own issues and problems. But with every problem, Sinead uses her wit to lighten the situation with the inclusion of Ollie, Lucy’s best friend’s son, a boisterous boy who’s inquisitive mind regularly gets him into trouble and Jenny, Lucy’s younger sister, is a witty and outspoken sister, who regularly had me in stitches with her wise words.

A story riddled with love and drama throughout, ‘Our Secrets And Lies’ is a charming tale about the strength of family bonds, a mother’s love and how everyone just wants to belong.

You can buy Our Secrets and Lies from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.