Wednesday, June 11, 2014

How Will I Know? by Sheila O'Flanagan: a welcome outstayed

This is a prime example of a book that rather outstays its welcome. I enjoyed the story of how Claire picks her life up again three years after the sudden and tragic death of her husband, but it didn’t particularly grip me, and it went on for too long in the end. The loss of 100 pages or so would have made it a sharper and more interesting novel. And losing those pages would have meant the badly written and unbelievable scene in the art gallery would thankfully have vanished …

That said, it’s a light and easy read, though it’s certainly not top notch O’Flanagan. She’s written better stories. The problems for me were the rather irritating perfection of the dead husband, as I simply didn’t believe they were soulmates from the age of 14 and our heroine never needed to explain things to him as he was so in tune with her. Harrumph! It all sounds very unlikely to me. I also didn’t really get any spark between the heroine and her new potential boyfriend. Yes, they get together in the end (after a fashion), as you’d expect in a romance novel, but I wasn’t that bothered about them.

I was far more gripped by the story of Eavan, the best friend, and her husband, and how they deal with living with alcoholism and redundancy. It was far more interesting, and with a better plot line. I also loved Claire's daughter, Georgia, and felt she deserved her own stand-alone novel for sure. The scene where she’s far more aware of dating etiquette than her mother was expertly done.

So, all in all, not vintage O’Flanagan but, as I say, it’s easy reading.

Verdict: 3 stars. A welcome outstayed.

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