Category: Patricia Scanlan

With All My Love by Patricia Scanlan


My Rating: 5/5

Briony McAllistair spends the day with her four year old daughter Katie in Southern Spain. She is on a visit to her mother Valerie, who has recently brought herself a place there. As Katie plays, Briony pulls out an old photo album that contains a letter that will change everything for her. The letter begins My Darling Briony. After many years, Briony discovers that her beloved Grandmother Tessa is alive and well, and has spent many years harbouring after contact with her first born Granddaughter. The first couple of chapters were interesting enough to pull me into the book without a hesitation. What at first seemed like an ordinary story very quickly turns into a complicated plot.

Patricia Scanlan’s latest book grabbed me from the early stages and quite frankly didn’t let go until the very end. This is one of Patricia’s best books I have read. When Briony makes her discovery her instinct is to up and leave, but after a conversation with her Godmother, and Valerie’s best friend as well as her husband she decides to wait and see what her mother has to say. This is the very beginning of the story and we are taken back to the past by Valerie herself. I thought this book would be sectioned out between past and present, and although it is to a degree, the majority of the story takes us through Valerie’s life and how she has got to where she is today.

I very quickly got drawn back to when Valerie met Briony’s father Jeff and her relationship with his parents Tessa and Lorcan. Times were very different when Valerie was young and Patricia Scanlan does a sterling job in transporting you back to a time when unmarried mothers and abortion were deeply frowned upon. I fell in love with the fiery and young Valerie and as the story progressed lots of things are revealed about the sorry state of affairs the present day has ended in. Before long I was shocked to discover I was three quarters of the way through the book in one sitting! What I really loved about this latest book is the layers within it that are ordinary (if that makes sense). Just the lives of ordinary people, who make mistakes, say things they don’t mean and the consequences because of it.

I initially found myself disliking Tessa, however as the story went on it was easy to turn that around and sympathise. I think that by the time I got to the end of the book I was truly sad to have finished it, but found myself thinking this was by far and a mile one of the best Patricia Scanlan books I have read in a while. It was utterly absorbing and one that I couldn’t put down. Highly recommended.

Love and Marriage by Patricia Scanlan

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My Rating: 4/5

Patricia Scanlan has now released the final part of her trilogy entitled Love & Marriage. The first two books were Forgive and Forget released in 2008 and Happy Ever After released in 2009.

We again meet the same characters and their daily struggles. Bryan and Debbie are now newly married and feeling the pinch financially. Their marriage is already looking uncertain and as things get harder Bryan tends to bury his head in the sand even more.

Connie who has done her bit for her daughter Debbie and son-in-law Bryan is celebrating a new man in her life. Drew is everything her ex-husband Barry wasn’t. Sadly, Drew’s ex-wife likes to make a habit of ringing and calling upon Drew in her hour of need which is not doing much for Connie’s relationship with Drew.

Connie’s ex-husband Barry re-married Aimee who is the ultimate career woman. Barry is ecstatic when he realises that Aimee is pregnant. This is his chance to be a better father the third time round. With his elder daughter Debbie and youngest Melissa the new addition is something to look forward to. Aimee feels differently and with the added stress to their marriage of their daughter Melissa’s eating difficulties things are looking tough.

Lily’s daughter Judith is recovering slowly from a car accident that left her in a coma. The good thing is that they are finally building a relationship. Judith has become a different person and wants to make the most of her life and together they start to enjoy life as mother and daughter.

Ken and Juliet Davenport have been married for many years. However Judith is sick of her surgeon husband expecting things to be done the same now as they were years ago. When Juliet decides to take action and make her own life for herself independently, Ken struggles to accept that their married life will change forever.

The first two books in the trilogy were as usual good reads, but if I am honest her second book was the weakest of them all. This final part to the trilogy was lovely, so easy to read and a typical curl up with a cuppa type of book! When I first started reading, I kept thinking “I’m sure I have already read this book” and then it finally dawned on me that it was a trilogy.

It didn’t take me long to catch up with the characters and their lives. It also didn’t take me long to detest Bryan who is possibly the most obnoxious character I have read in a long time.

The story itself is always turning and rolling into another part of the story which I loved. The characters are all linked somehow, whether they are family, colleagues or just friends. Patricia Scanlan dealt with the pretty serious issue of anorexia in this book but just like the last one this was dealt with sensitively. The story of Melissa and her eating disorder combined with trying to bond with other family members was very real. It made for a heart-warming read when you see the positive steps she takes in the book.

All in all, this latest release from PS was as usual a great read. It’s not a ten out of ten with a wow factor, but there is something very comforting with her books as you know just the sort of thing you are getting. I look forward to the next one and meeting some new characters.

Happy Ever After by Patricia Scanlan

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My Rating: 3/5

First of all Patricia Scanlan’s writing style has always been the typical Chick Lit stuff. It is usually the stuff or romance gone wrong and then hopefully going right with some tears and hopefully laughter along the way. I am a typical Chick Lit fan in that I like this particular style of writing and Patricia Scanlan has always been one of my favourite authors for this very reason. Her books have in the past always captured me and I end up feeling a sense of contentment whenever I read her books.

This particular story is a follow on from her previous novel Forgive and Forget. Having said that you could read this alone and still pick up the story from where it left off. We meet Debbie and Bryan who are newly married, and Debbie’s battle to get her new husband to stop spending his money on parties, drink and drugs.

Connie who has done her bit for her daughter and son-in-law ends up having an interesting new man turn up in her life. Could this be what she has been waiting for? Unfortunately for Connie, her ex-husband Barry has re-married to Aimee. When Aimee finds out she is pregnant and Barry realises he may well have to go through parenthood all over again seeks solace by trying to get Connie’s attention. In the meantime unbeknown to Aimee and Barry, Aimee’s daughter Mellissa from her first marriage, is silently spiralling into a world of obsessive eating disorders. Everyone suddenly want’s Connie’s attention and she wonders, can she walk away from them and let them solve their own problems for once. Or will she help them all and lose the chance at her own happiness?

Patricia Scanlan manages to cover the real topics in life such as eating disorders, relationships with your ex and love later in life without making them too disheartening. The story runs along nicely with real detail and feeling and I thoroughly enjoyed it up until the very last chapter where it felt like the author got bored of writing and just finished with a very short and sweet epilogue. Almost felt like there should have been another 5 or 6 chapters to finish it nicely. I still enjoyed the book but ended up feeling a little disappointed.