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Brouhaha by Ardal O’Hanlon

Brouhahar‘Brouhaha’ is the latest book by Ardal O’Hanlon.

Dove Connolly is dead. That’s not good for anyone in Tullyanna, never mind Dove. Now his best friend Sharkey is home asking awkward questions about Dove’s death, about the strange graphic novel he left behind, and, most of all, about Sandra. Sandra Mohan. Missing now for over a decade, whereabouts unknown. This, however, is a town dead-set on keeping its secrets. And Sharkey is already drawing attention from all the wrong quarters.

The latest book by Ardal O’Hanlon is a dark and comical tale set in the fictional town of Tullyhanna on the cusp of the North and South of Ireland.

The town is fictional but could be set in any rural town in Ireland, small knit community where gossip is rife and everyone has a story to tell. And when a man called Dove takes his own life this causes the local townsfolk to launch their own investigation of what caused his death as well of the disappearance of teenage girl Sandra who disappeared after a night out many years. This new investigation raises questions and opens old wounds to the Tullyhanna community.

The characters are a fascinating bunch from Joanne the inspiring investigative journalist for the local newspaper ‘Howareya’ to Philip who was once Dove’s friend who received a graphic novel from the ill-fated man called ‘Brouhara’.

With a combination of Irish folklore, culture and history, ‘Brouhara’ is an intriguing and mysterious story. Packed with Irish colloquialisms and Ardal’s dark humour and charm, this book is a quirkily written story that was thoroughly enjoyable.

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

Who Took Eden Mulligan? By Sharon Dempsey

Who Took Eden Mulligan‘Who Took Eden Mulligan?’ is the latest book by Northern Ireland author, Sharon Dempsey.

‘They’re dead. They’re all dead. It’s my fault. I killed them.’ Those are the words of Iona Gardener, who stands bloodied and staring as she confesses to the murder of four people in a run-down cottage outside of Belfast. Outside the cottage, five old dolls are hanging from a tree. Inside the cottage, the words “WHO TOOK EDEN MULLIGAN?” are graffitied on the wall, connecting the murder scene with the famous cold case of Eden Mulligan, a mother-of-five who went missing during The Troubles. But this case is different. Right from the start. Because no one in the community is willing to tell the truth, and the only thing DI Danny Stowe and forensic psychologist Rose Lainey can be certain of is that Iona Gardener’s confession is false.

This is the first book that I’ve read by Sharon Dempsey and it will definitely not be the last.

The story is primarily seen through the perspective of old university friends Rose and Danny. Rose has returned to Belfast for her mother’s funeral, her first time back in years having not gotten on with her mother or her beliefs and Danny has just been given a massive new case. A young woman has claimed responsibility for the murder of 3 friends and attempted murder of another and the murder scene is referencing an old disappeared case when a young mum called Eden Mulligan disappeared one night. Detective Danny has asked psychologist Rose to help make sense of the case and solve it.

As a child growing up during ‘The Troubles’, I was well accustomed to the shootings, bombings and most famously the disappeared. The people who disappeared without a trace leaving their family in bewilderment hoping that the smallest bit of information will finally give them peace.

For me, Sharon Dempsey has written a relatable crime novel that I easily sank into. As a native of Northern Ireland, I loved the familiarity of the locations and the dialogue between the characters. She paints a picture perfectly of how bleak the city of Belfast once was during the Troubles and now thrives with new bars, shops and a new culture and no longer filled with bitterness, bullets and police Saracens vans filling the streets.

I loved in this book, there are 3 stories, the recent murder case, the Eden Mulligan as well as the relationship between Rose and Danny and how seamlessly they flowed from each story. Both Danny and Rose, have reached pinnacle points in their lives, Rose returning to Belfast to address old ghosts and Danny at the start of a divorce process. Being back with each other helps remind them of their youth, before complicated lives and are able to work together with ideas and theories.

The story flows at a good pace and is a really well researched book giving the reader an overview of the Troubles as well as an in-depth police procedural book. It does make for heavy reading in parts though, as the Mulligan family struggle to get justice for their mother, so many years after her disappearance and to know that these type of events happened on my doorstep does strike a chord.

A well crafted and documented story about broken families, grieving children and how the past is still prevalent now. ‘Who Took Eden Mulligan?’ is a fascinating insight into Northern Ireland and how it’s past can never be forgotten.

If this sounds like your type of book, it will be available from the Kindle Store from 18th February 2021 and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 19th August 2021.

Cover Real – The Promise By Emma Heatherington

The PromiseI’m delighted to be one of the few lucky bloggers revealing the beautiful cover to Emma Heatherington’s new book called ‘The Promise’.

What the back cover says –

One terrible moment changes everything for teenagers Kate and David. Brought together during the darkest of times, a spark of hope is ignited between them – a hand held in the darkness, a promise whispered. Neither of them will ever forget those moments.

It’s another ten years before David and Kate meet once more, and their lives are now so different. The promise they made to each other on that fateful day still binds them, but now they have so much more to lose.

With so much at stake, have they missed their once chance at happiness? They only way they will ever know is to risk everything to be together. Is that too high a price to pay for love…?

With a simply stunning cover, this book is perfect for fans of Karen Swann and Lulu Taylor.

You can pre-order your copy of ‘The Promise’ from Amazon and is also available from Eason from 14th October 2021.

My Pear Shaped Life By Carmel Harrington

'The Husband's Confession‘My Pear Shaped Life’ is the latest book by Irish author Carmel Harrington.

Greta Gale has played the part of the funny fat one her entire life, hiding her insecurities behind a big smile. But size doesn’t matter when you can laugh at yourself, right? Until Greta realises she’s the only one not laughing. And deep down, she’s not sure if she’ll ever laugh again. But Greta is about to discover that sometimes the best moments in life come when it’s all gone a bit pear-shaped…

This was the first book by Carmel Harrington that I have I read and once I started this story, I found it hard to put down.

Greta Gale is an aspiring actress who has a bit of an addition to sleeping pills, after taking one too many Greta finds herself in rehab confronting her demons and trying to figure out why life has taken on this particular journey. Once she’s released home to her tentative family, Greta finds herself at a standstill unsure of what to do next. But, help comes in the shape of her favourite uncle, Ray when he decides that she and he are going to go to America and do a road trip so that he can confront the woman who stole his heart many years ago as well as seeing Dr Greta Gale, who is Greta’s namesake and hero, an outspoken and inspirational life coach.

I absolutely adored this book, Set in Ireland, there is a warm and familiar feel to the characters, as they chatted about the Irish channels and television shows that I occasionally watched. I loved Greta, she’s warm and kind and has never felt comfortable or welcome in own her family, as she didn’t fit in with the norm of their slender forms, so she finds escapism in the shape of sleeping pills. Even though, she is an extremely talented actress who’s loved by all who meet her, she is always belittling her and comparing herself to others. This book is wholeheartedly like ‘Rachel’s Holiday’ by Marian Keyes, about a woman who accidently overdoses and loved this book just as much.

The adventure across America with Ray and Greta makes for warm and entertaining reading, as the pair embark on their Wizard of Oz inspired trip with drama and humour along the way.

Wonderfully written with humorous and relatable characters, ‘My Pear Shaped Life’ pulls the reader right in from the very beginning like a warm hug. Focusing on the pressures of appearance, society and social media, this charming Irish tale is perfect for fans of life affirming stories with an injection of magic and wit.

You can buy ‘My Pear Shaped Life’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.