Reviewed by Danielle Pullen
Sophie is a happy 18-year-old living in London with Anna, her Irish mother. Anna has devoted her life to Sophie. It may be just the two of them but Anna has more than enough love to give. Sophie has everything she could ever need.
Laura is a not-so-happy artist. She too has a daughter, Mandy. But Laura is haunted by the loss of her first child, Jody. Happy-go-lucky as she is, Mandy lives in Jody's shadow and wonders why her mother can never let go.
Both mothers carry secrets and cannot forget the day their paths crossed. But a chance discovery is about to bring everything into the open and mothers and daughters, love and lies, past and future, will spectacularly collide.
Anna has led an interesting life. An Irish-born divorcee and mother of one, she is now a head mistress living in London. Her daughter, Sophie, is successful, polite and genuine.
Laura, too, has led an interesting life. An Irish-born single mother of one, she is a successful artist living in Kilduff, Ireland. Her daughter, Mandy, is a typical teenager. She is kicking against the system and her family, trying to find her way in the world.
Two mothers, two daughters, but that is only the beginning of a story in which the two older women are forced to face some uncomfortable truths about their pasts. Cue a series of incidents touching on alcoholism, drug abuse, neglect, infertility and abduction. The hidden events from Anna’s and Laura’s pasts colour their relationships with their daughters in the present-day.
From the outset, this book was an intriguing, light read. The blurb and reviews I had read suggested I was in for an examination of mother/daughter relationships presented in a readable way. This was certainly the case. However, as a linguist, I tend to be rather focused on the style, tone and proficiency of the writer. This is where the issues began. In short, some of the dialogue and descriptions here were cringe-worthy. The narrative was predictable, the descriptions clichéd and the dialogue tried so hard it failed. One of the fringe characters, Lexie, was supposedly from Essex but the author’s attempts to represent her accent were so awry that I kept reading her speech as American Texan!
Laying my cards on the table, chick-lit is not a genre I tend to enjoy but, in this last year, I have found that all authors supposedly writing in this genre should not be placed in the same box. Lisa Jewell, for instance, is a master of her craft. This novel, however, reminded me of everything I love to hate about this particular genre. Predictable plot, stereotyped characters and trite dialogue.
I received a copy of this eBook via NetGalley for review.