This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
REVIEWED BY AMANDA KEATS
Two sisters with two secrets – who will tell first?
Ali is up and taking her three kids to the airport for a surprise holiday back in her native Ireland. Or so they think. Ali has told her husband that she wants a divorce and after he threatened to take the kids from her, she has decided to flee. After all, her sister Emma would be fine with putting them up for a bit, surely. Emma, having recently ended her engagement to Ryan, is back home wallowing in her own misery and does not expect the surprise visit from her sister, nor does she welcome it.
The book starts with Ali leaving Texas with her children and sees her return to Ireland and descend on her sister, resulting in friction and chaos from all sides. The children want to know when they're going back home. Emma wants to know when she's going to get her home back to herself and Ali wonders how long she can keep up the charade before everything crumbles. Emma and Ali's mother has turned into a nasty woman, taking out all her frustrations at being a full-time carer at her husband, who is on heart attack number five. But Ali has not seen this much of her sister in years and when she stops thinking of herself for a second, finally notices that something is up with Emma. Why did her engagement really end? And why is she always checking her tongue in the mirror?
All the characters are well thought out. There is the quiet sister and the brash, louder one. The co-dependent and antagonistic relationship of their parents is heartbreaking and entirely understandable. Ali's rash decision to flee the country may have been a stupid and petulant one but it is entirely plausible after the threat her husband gave her. So of course, as is often the case, when all these personalities are forced back into each others company, sparks will fly.
Sadly though, there wasn't enough spark for me in the book. It was entirely readable and plodded along well. But even when Emma's big secret is revealed – though it is a big one – it didn't heighten any kind of tension. All it did was raise more questions. And then when it ended, it just sort of ended. It was all just a bit of a fizzle really. And sadly, it clearly had the potential to be great.
Dowling is a great writer of people. She understands relationships well and delves into people's imperfections with great care and honesty. The pace of the book just didn't grab like it should have.
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