REVIEWED BY JULES ABSALOM
Absence makes the heart grow fonder…doesn’t it?
What happens when two people decide to give themselves the year off…from each other?
Annie and Dan were the perfect couple. But now the not-so-newlyweds feel more like flatmates than soul mates and wonder where all the fun and fireworks went …
When Annie lands her big break in a smash-hit show that’s heading for the bright lights of Broadway, she’s over the moon. Goodbye remote Irish village of Stickens, hello fabulous Big Apple! But with their relationship already on the rocks, how will Annie and Dan survive the distance?
They’re hitting the pause button on their marriage. One year off from each other – no strings attached, except a date to meet in twelve months at the Rockefeller Centre to decide their fate.
Will they both turn up? Or is it too late for love?
Right from the start I thought that Annie was a great character, I warmed to her almost instantly. Despite the fact that she is far from perfect and has almost been beaten down by the daily grind of an unhappy family life. When the chance of a lifetime comes around she finds herself half way across the world living an unrecognisable life from her past and feeling conflicted about everything.
I also loved the two main characters of Dan and Jack, the details of their relationship with Annie was at times brilliantly written and filled with the all tiny elements that make up the humdrum and comfort of a long term relationship and the excitement and thrill of a new beginning. Both of these male characters were not without faults and each was far from perfect in their own different ways, but I still kept on jumping back and forth between who I thought and hoped Annie should be with.
This book was also jam packed full of smaller minor characters that were the kinds of friends you would want as well as those that you are sometimes just plain stuck with. In particular her best friend Liz played a huge role in Annie’s life over the course of the year, sometimes helpful and sometimes hugely destructive. I also loved the character of Lisa – aptly named the countess Dracula who made Annie’s life miserable while she lived in Ireland and then just tried to take over it when she left for New York. I really could go on and on about the well created assortment of minor characters that made the story far more entertaining than it would have otherwise been.
Mostly, I really enjoyed Claudia Carroll’s writing style and I found the story flowed along at a nice pace. However, if I am being very picky the one small criticism of the book that I did have was that after a while some of the repetitive language began to grate on me. There seemed to be quite an overuse of – Anyroadup (meaning Anyhow – I think) as well as Jaysus, almost as if these were the only distinctions that the characters were in fact Irish, along with a few well placed drinking jokes.
The novel is set over the course of a year, and at times it did almost seem to drag ever so slightly in the middle where the story seemed to come to a bit of a standstill. However, that didn’t last for long and for the last hundred or so pages I really couldn’t put the book down until I knew how it all ended. The book was very easy just to pick up and dip into and it wasn’t a book that I ever struggled to get caught up in, it was a nice, entertaining and enjoyable read, one that I would highly recommend.
If you already like Claudia Carroll then I think you would love this one and if you haven’t read any of her previous books then this would be a great starting point. The only real downside to this book was that I kept on getting the song ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?’ stuck in my head.
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