I have read every one of Sheila O’Flanagan’s books and have enjoyed every single one of them. This seemed like a different type of book, and with a subject matter that many can empathise with. Deanna Ryan is a character that takes a while to connect with. After the initial first few chapters are read, you begin to get an idea of the bigger picture in the lives of the Ryan women. Lainey on the other hand is a wonderful character that you instantly love. She is the very successful weather presenter, as well as being a hopeless romantic. How the two women are mother and daughter is a mystery in the beginning of the book.
However, as you read on, you learn a little about Lainey’s current life, the decisions she makes and the hopes that she has for herself. Alongside this element of the story, we see the build up and history of Deanna’s life and the story that led to Lainey being brought up by her Grandmother Madeleine. The mixture of past and present was cleverly done and everything builds up to create the full picture.
The romantic element of the story is actually not that important in the grand scheme of things as the main focus is on the family element. Deanna was a hard character to get to know, she seemed intent on being only good at one thing and that was women’s rights. As I read on I found myself disliking her even more, but thankfully as I neared the middle I started to see the reasoning behind her actions.
The book is featured in two main settings, one being Ireland where Lainey lives and works and the other being California, which is where Deanna lives. I loved the switch between the two places as it kept it interesting. I began to feel more involved in the story as you realise there is a lot more than meets the eye to the story of Lainey and Deanna’s life. I also loved the element of Lainey’s love life and absolutely loathed her boyfriend Ken, who thankfully doesn’t feature too much!
The ending was building up to the conclusion of the story and I enjoyed finally realising that all the pieces of the puzzle fitted however…there is a `but’! I finished the final chapter and thought “oh, I must have missed something?”. I was really shocked that it had ended so abruptly and I felt a little bit cheated. I would have loved to have found out just that little bit more regarding a couple of characters such as Shay and Fergal. Looking back, maybe Sheila wanted it that way, where you are left to wonder and it isn’t wrapped up quite as neatly as people expect.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this and thought that it was a subtle departure form the normal type of books from SOF. It took me a little while to get into the story, but once I had got there I loved it!