Reviewed by Kate Appleton
the name brings to mind a 6ft+ painfully fashionable model type with legs up to
their armpits, however, our lovely heroine is somewhat the polar opposite of
this. Still living in her hometown and working in the family antiques shop with
her grandma, our ordinary Miss Swan likes to keep living life in her very
cautious comfort zone. That is until she discovers a love letter from the
1950’s in a vintage Chanel handbag that was hidden in a dusty box of worthless
rubbish. The heartfelt letter stirs up memories of her mother and with the
support of her family and friends Coco embarks on a detective mission that will
lead to forgotten secrets that will change her life forever.
of the story Coco is likeable, but not until further into the story when the
momentum of the hunt gains pace. At the beginning all her thoughts and feelings
are peppered with insecurity, doubt and worry, which is often the case for this
type of book, and something which always bothers me because I feel women should
be presented more strongly than they often are. However, as Tatty, the original
owner of the Chanel and the influence of her mother infiltrate her psyche, she
becomes a character that you find yourself really rooting for.
character in the story was not Coco, but her grandma Ruth. At 70 years old she
goes to Zumba, flirts outrageously with everyone who crosses her path and has a
toy boy in the guise of Karl the butcher from across the street. Throughout the
adventure she is utterly hilarious and prevents Niamh’s book from becoming
another generic chick-lit adventure. In addition, Karl and his unexpected
appearances into the kitchen of Ruth and Coco’s flat are comedy genius.
downside, for me, was the excessive use of female stereotypes in the beginning
of the book gets which got quite frustrating. I understand Coco lives in a
small town in Ireland and perhaps the average age is higher than usual,
however, the number of times the ‘old maid’ and ‘dusty shelf’ themes were eluded
too is really quite depressing given that she is only 32 years old.
had its ups and downs for me, but I’m glad I persevered as the ending did leave
a warm feeling which was especially welcome during these chilly winter nights!