Sisters Ella and Roberta O'Callaghan live in separate wings of their crumbling Irish mansion. They haven't spoken for decades, torn apart by a dark family secret from their past, and communicate only through the terse notes they leave for each other in the hallway.
Debbie, an American, is searching for her birth mother, hoping to discover who she really is and what happened to her.
With the bank threatening, Ella tries to save the family home by opening a café in the ballroom, much to Roberta's disgust. And when Debbie offers to help out in the café, the war between the sisters intensifies. But then Debbie begins to unravel the truth....
©2015 Ann O'Loughlin (P)2015 Oakhill Publishing
"A moving tale of loss, love and redemption." (Bella Magazine)
"Deftly written, moving and courageous." (The Sunday Times)
"Slow-marching, romantic prose draws us into an old world that is rustic, genteel, quaint...[but] scandals lie in wait." (Irish Independent)
"Highly engaging debut you will want to dive into." (Sunday Independent, Ireland)
"A lovely first novel." (Cathy Kelly, best-selling author)
I found this book unusual as it has some very surprising plot twists and turns, some of them are a bit disturbing too as you find yourself thinking 'could this really have happened?', especially if you've seen the film Philomena. I suppose it may be the mark of a good storyteller that she makes it all seem quite real and once you get absorbed by it, the storyline is unpredictable and that makes a nice change.
Although, I'm not sure about this narrator...I persevered with her and did begin to get used to her, by which point she didn't seem quite so strange! Worth it though for a good story.
Take your pick - believable dialogue, less extreme story lines or less unlikely characters. Or it could have been shorter.
The dialogue - I simply could not believe that real people would talk in the pretentious and convoluted way portrayed. The dialogue was not credible, let alone convincing or engaging
God no. The dialogue was bad enough to begin with, but it was all too evident that Grainne was reading it off the page (as opposed to making it sound like spontaneous conversation). There were times when the reading was so dead and clunky that is spoiled whatever (small) enjoyment could be wrung from this book.
Anything involving characters speaking to each other, as this never sounded convincing
There were some quite decent ideas behind the book and some story lines that probably looked plausible or even interesting when first presented, but it was all let down by the execution; both the detail of the writing and the awful stilted reading of it.
narrator was awful - her stupid accents made me stop listening after about an hour
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