Kirsty O'Neill has always known her own mind. At thirty-one years old, she is already running her own successful business, making waves in the Irish fashion world, and has decided that the handsome Robbie Hennessy is the man she'll build her future with.
So when her widowed mother announces that she's bringing home a complete stranger from her holiday in Marbella - a young pianist named Antonio - Kirsty has strong feelings. Immediately suspicious, she decides that she will make every effort to rid her mother's life of Antonio as quickly as possible.
As Kirsty's relationship with Robbie begins to falter, and it looks as though their plans may not come to be after all, she watches on in horror as Antonio's career begins to take off. Will he ever leave Ireland, and her mother, behind? What is he doing here, anyway? And why oh why, with her life in complete disharmony, does his music sound so alluring?
Kate McCabe is back with her ninth novel The Music of Love and once again uses a foreign destination as the source of her book. This time Marbella in Spain. I have been a fan of Kate's books right from when I stumbled across her first release Hotel Las Flores in a book shop over ten years ago. Having so many Irish women's authors on the market it must be hard to find your niche and achieve some success but Kate has done this by using exotic locations as inspiration for her books. Each time you buy a new book by this author you never know where you will be transported too and I like this element of surprise as it makes me eager to buy each new release on publication day. These books are always very easy reads, at the risk of sounding like a cliché they are perfect for sitting by the poolside soaking up the sun. You know what you are getting when you buy a book by this author, I never expect a literary masterpiece or to experience the depth and emotion portrayed by our beloved Maeve Binchy but none the less Kate McCabe always gives the reader an entertaining few hours lost in her stories.
Admittedly I didn't think The Music of Love was the best effort by this author, I think I enjoyed some of her earlier releases more. Nonetheless it was still an entertaining enough read that I flew through in two evenings. This book focuses on Kirsty O'Neill, who is on the cusp of a major breakthrough with her fashion business and is under some strain to prove to herself and the fashion buyers that she can do what is expected of her. Kirsty is dating Robbie Hennessy who is quite obviously not long term relationship material. He came across as a player and a user, a man only in it for the fun whereas Kirsty was a career woman who knew what she wanted in her life and was ruthless in attempting to achieve it. Kirsty's family recently lost their beloved father and she has helped her mother through illness and emotional breakdown as she slid into a major depression after such a difficult time in her life. But Helen is coming through her tough times and reaching the other side. She decides to go on holiday to Marbella with her best friend Anne, here the women begin to unwind and recover and stumble across a talented man - Antonio, playing the piano for guests in the hotel. Before the reader knows it Helen has whisked Antonio back to Ireland and she uses him as her little project, determined to kick-start a career for him.
I felt Helen was being quite presumptuous that Antonio would so readily agree to her plans, barely knowing her how could he place so much trust in her? Only in a book could an older woman bring back a younger man and her family would think he was just after her money. But then I came to my senses and remembered reading numerous stories on the internet where older women go on holidays and come back with a younger male model, much to the upset of their families. In a way Antonio was almost as crazy as Helen to accept such a proposition leaving behind his meagre paying yet stable job for the unknown in Ireland. I put my doubts about Antonio's intentions out of my head as Helen's 'committee' instincts kicked in and she set about organising a concert to showcase Antonio's musical talents. Having suffered such a devastating loss I felt Helen was using the concert as a distraction and a smokescreen for the depression she had slumped into following her husband's death. Her overall aims may have been good but I would have liked to have seen her feelings surrounding her loss explored in a little more depth.
Kirsty wasn't too pleased with the actions of her mother either and also makes her feelings towards Antonio quite clear. She can't believe her siblings can't see through Antonio to what he really wants – money – or is it? The way Kirsty treats Antonio really is despicable and the methods she uses to find out Antonio's true intentions are dishonourable to say the least. I liked Kirsty as a character in the beginning but the more progress I made with the book the more I disliked her and her unnecessary actions. Kirsty does no favours in redeeming herself and she treats Antonio appallingly. The story moves along nicely from the midway point on as we read of Helen's efforts to get some attention for Antonio and his skill with the piano. Before I knew it I was down to the last twenty pages after one or two twists and turns and I was still waiting and waiting for some romance to come into the story. Too say the ending was rushed is an understatement, in fact it was laughable and I wouldn't normally say that about a book. I really even want to give away the ending so I can explain what I mean but suffice too say it was predictable and unrealistic after what had been a likeable enough read up to this point.
The Music of Love won't set the literary world alight but it is a good example of the talent we have here in Ireland. It's not a taxing read by any means but it did provide me with a pleasant few hours of reading time and is a perfect summer read for those who just want to get away from it all.