Firstly, thank you to Sphere for the review copy of this book! (And sorry for the delay in posting - it got buried amongst other books)
** What it's about **
When Darcy McCall loses her beloved Aunt Molly, she doesn't expect any sort of inheritance - let alone a small island. Located off the west coast of Ireland, Tara hasn't been lived on for years, but according to Molly's will Darcy must stay there for twelve months in order to fully inherit, and she needs to persuade a village full of people to settle there too. Darcy has to leave behind her independent city life and swap stylish heels for muddy wellies. Between sorting everything from the plumbing to the pub, Darcy meets confident Conor and ever-grumpy Dermot - but who will make her feel really at home?
** What I thought **
I was absolutely captivated by this book. Now, at this point, I have to hold my hands up and admit that I’m a little biased in that I adore everything to do with Ireland. Having Irish family and having the hots for the Irish accent are both contributors to this! Yet whilst I can’t be 100% sure, I do think even without the Irish setting I’d adore this book.
I’ve read a couple of other reviews on this book and a few say the main character, Darcy, isn’t realistic. Now I just don’t get this – she likes her designer clothes and likes to have her hair and nails done every once in a while – what exactly about that doesn’t add up?
This story explores the nearly-uninhabited island of Tara just off the west coast of Ireland. Now remember this is chick lit so it’s not going to be page after page of descriptive scenery – it’s about the lives of the futures inhabitants of Tara but it has the most beautiful background setting and there were certainly enough descriptions for me to be transported to this beautiful place whilst I read. I also loved the Celtic legends that came out through this book.
There are parts of the book which are predictable; I must admit I knew which of the men Darcy would ultimately end up with from pretty early on but it’s the journey that gets her there that makes this book so special. There are also parts that you know are important and that they mean something, but the hints are subtle and so when the twist comes, you don’t see it coming at all. It’s quite a thick book but Ali McNamara adds sub-plots which come into play just at the right time to hold your interest. I loved the character development; McNamara makes you root from one person and then change to another at just the right time but without that character having to do anything in particular – her writing truly is wonderful.
My only criticism (which has nothing to do with Ali McNamara’s writing abilities) would be that the cover didn’t fit with the story. I mean, it looks good but if anything, the back seemed more appropriate.
Ultimately, I was hooked to this book and ended up reading it over two very late nights because I literally couldn’t put it down. It made me laugh, smile and by the end, I had tears in my eyes.
I haven’t read Ali McNamara’s debut From Notting Hill with Love…Actually but I will certainly be getting myself a copy now and I look forward to her next book too! McNamara is an author to keep your eye on!