Is it better to have loved and lost, then never to have loved?
Paul Starr, Ireland’s leading cardiologist, has died in a car crash with a pregnant young woman by his side. A woman who is not his wife.
Evie, Grace and Annalise never thought they’d meet, but now they have to uncover the truth of their pasts. And suddenly they find themselves united by a man they never really knew at all.
As these women begin to form unlikely friendships they discover that Paul’s death could prove to be the catalyst they needed to become the people they always wanted to be…
I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus in return for an honest review
Three women, one man, it seems that Paul Starr collects wives like other men collect paintings, although he collects those too. In fact, that’s how he met Grace, the starting point for this story. Their attraction is instant and unsettling, she knows he’s married but is drawn like a moth to the flame, and he seems prepared to give up his former life to share hers. It is not until his untimely demise that Grace realises Paul kept secrets from everyone. Grace is running from commitment, from the drudgery of her early life and mostly from herself.
Evie always felt he loved her best despite Grace, but when he dies unexpectedly, she finds out Grace is not the only one. Evie’s story is sad, always living in someone’s shadow, never realising her full potential and now she feels she never will.
Annalise met Paul when she was at an all-time low, he offered her a way of saving face, but somewhere along the way she lost herself. When he died she clings on to her widowhood like a safety net, but maybe falling is better than remaining on the precipice?
Paul is like a child, he wants new toys but doesn’t want to give up his old ones. Unfortunately, his toys are women and their lives are blighted by his treatment. Paul’s lack of awareness is an overriding theme in this story, his character is badly flawed, but despite his controlling and faithless characteristics, as the story progresses, in death he does offer each of his women a precious lifeline.
This story is an excellent family drama and each of the main female characters becomes stronger, it is an empowering book to read. The plot is interesting and whilst the theme is not unusual, it is handled in a unique way and the characters are beautifully written, realistic, flawed, but strong enough to realise they have to accept help from unlikely sources, evolve and most of all forgive – Paul, the other women in his life and most of all themselves.
Lies and secrets are at the heart of this story, but it is courage and transparency that makes it an enjoyable read. Many contemporary issues and attitudes are explored sensitively, and there is a mystery to solve that keeps you guessing. Its resolution ties up the story perfectly.
The relationship that develops between the women is what resonates most in this story, the imagery is vivid, the dialogue realistic, and the plot perfectly paced. This would make a great film.
Guest Post- Faith Hogan
The Ultimate Guide to Being an Irish Reader
It seems, when St. Patrick’s day rolls around each year, more and more people find a little drop of Irish somewhere along the roots of their family tree. It’s a truly wonderful thing, to think that somehow, most of us are connected in some way that’s becoming more traceable as science and research move forward.
Of course, the thing about being Irish is that it’s like being French, it’s as much an attitude to life as it is anything else. Often, it seems that as a nation we’ve been maligned, in terms of being all that goes along with pints of the black stuff and a propensity to curse midstream on the most poetic verses.
I think the things that make us Irish – whether it is esoterically or physically are a little more prosaic…
The most important thing that has set us apart over the centuries is our love for Literature. We’ve been blessed by more than just shamrock, historically with books that stretch all the way back to the Ninth century.
The Book of Kells…. can be visited in Trinity College Library where it’s on permanent display.
Of course, our literary tradition did not begin and end with the monks and academics.
Some of our most famous writers have written across the genres over the last two hundred years. Everyone associates James Joyce and W.B Yeats with the emerald isle, their writing is so richly invested in our green landscape. We are equally proud however of Brahm Stoker who wrote the internationally famous Dracula and Oscar Wilde whose acerbic wit and tragedy lean towards a much more anglicised tradition.
In recent years, I’m not sure you can close or open an Irish cannon without including some of our most treasured and popular writers. Maeve Binchy is a genre to herself at this point and her stories carry within them a heart and warmth that many pretenders may aspire to, but none has so far reached. There is no nicer compliment than being compared to Maeve, but really, I’ve always felt there is only one Queen of the heart stories and her crown remains untouched.
Roddy Doyle writes a very different kind of book to anyone else in the world. It is Irish, it is Dublin and all of his stories are bitingly sharp, poignantly funny and for my money, if we’re comparing, he’s got his finger on the pulse as a modern day Dickens’. Doyle manages to highlight the areas of society we’d rather gloss over and he does it in a way that makes us want to go back for more.
These days, books are a funny thing in Ireland. There are so many fantastic writers out there, a sea of them all bobbing along, but its the ones that make it up onto the big screen that really tend to capture the attention, sometimes to the detriment of equally good books alongside them. One of those books, that made it to the big screen was Brooklyn – based on the wonderful novel by Colm Toibin – if there is a book you think you might read this St. Patrick’s day, this one is light but well written and it is guaranteed to leave you with the whisper of an Irish voice in your ear and a contented smile at the end.
If you’re planning to celebrate St. Patrick’s day with a book, of course, I have to mention, a brand new paperback has just arrived in the shops and it’s called My Husbands Wives and it’s published by Aria Fiction. It’s been compared to all sorts of wonderful writers, but mainly, it’s an unashamedly feel-good story – a blissful escape from these grey days. It’s the story of four women and how they manage to survive and thrive after the unthinkable happens. It is steeped in the warmth, welcome and windy weather of this little emerald isle and it’s guaranteed to leave you feeling as if all is right with the world at the end!
If you do pick it up, I hope you enjoy it!
Faith lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children and two very fussy cats. She has a Hons Degree in English Literature and Psychology, has worked as a fashion model and in the intellectual disability and mental health sector.