1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Diane B. Wilkes
- Published on Amazon.com
Vine Customer Review of Free Product
When I saw the cover, I thought ONCE IN A LIFETIME would be a fun chick-lit book. I read that the author, Cathy Kelly, was the most popular author in Ireland, and I imagined she was akin to Marian Keyes for some reason (whom I don't think much of).
So...two wrong thoughts don't make a right--but choosing this book was a great choice all the same. Kenny's Department Store, a store specializing in unique luxury items, is at the heart of this novel that takes place in Ardagh, Ireland. The owner, David Kenny, connects a number of women who we get to meet and care about in ONCE IN A LIFETIME: Ingrid, his successful journalist wife, Star Bluestone, his former lover and wisewoman/artist, and Ingrid's best friend, Marcella, who is a loyalist to the Kennys and also has got a lot of living and loving to do. There's also Charlie Fallon, who is the daughter of one of Star's former acquaintances, and Dara, one of Star's intimates. Her daughter, Natalie, and Molly, Ingrid's daughter, are best friends, and we get to learn about them, too.
These are just names to you, but Kelly creates rich characters with distinctive voices and riveting backstories--so they are all living, breathing characters to me. The story holds some surprises, some very sad and some joyous--and some a combination of the two. The plot is not particularly complex. However, there is a great deal of psychological understanding and wisdom passed through in this book, if you are willing to open yourself to it.
ONCE IN A LIFETIME is a lot deeper than I was expecting--it's not chick lit, but a novel, not a genre title. Perhaps some would call it "women's fiction," but to me, in this case, that just means there's an emotional focus you might not expect in traditional literature. And of course, women are the main inhabitants, but do we call HEART OF DARKNESS a men's novel?
No. So let's call this what it is--a moving novel with characters you care about and a plotline that is not particularly complex and even meanders a bit--but is a page-turner for all that.
I've ordered ALWAYS AND FOREVER, another book by Ms. Kelly, and look forward to reading all of her books at some point.