When footloose and fancy-free Jessica, a thirty-something writer, decides to follow her journalistic instincts and trace the story of a young girl for her weekly column in a Dublin newspaper, she unwittingly embarks on a journey into Northern Ireland’s tragic past.
With her love of all things vintage, Jessica Jane Baré is known as Second-hand Jane to her friends. Hailing from New Zealand, these days she’s finding the grass is greener in Dublin and not just because of all the rain. In fact, life would be sweet if it weren’t for the reason she left home in the first place–her meddling mother. Marian views Jess’s life in Dublin as nothing more than a stop-gap until she meets Mr Right and he’s taking his time. Things look set to change, however, when Jess meets the delectable Nick, who ticks all of Marian’s boxes.
In the meantime, Jess’s latest second-hand collectible–a children’s book—gives her an idea for her column. Deciding to track down the girl whose name is scribbled inside the cover of that book, she uncovers more than she ever expected. “Amy was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” the girl’s taciturn brother, Owen, informs her. Intrigued, Jess travels to the family pig farm in County Down and listens to Amy’s poignant tale unfold through Owen. With a little help from a rather cute runt of the litter she names Wilbur, Jess is about to help put the past to rest and learn that appearances can be deceptive.
Then Marian announces she is coming to Dublin to sort her daughter’s increasingly tangled love life out and Jess’s chance of a happy ending like those in the story books she collects looks about as likely as Wilbur flying.
About the Author
Hi, my name’s Michelle Vernal. I’m a 42 year old, married Mum of two boys who lives in the pretty little town of Oxford located in New Zealand’s South Island. Writing is something I have always used as a way of expressing myself and my first foray into the romantic and humorous world of chick lit is recorded in my thirteen year old self’s compulsory school journal. In it, much to the delight of my English teacher, I described in minutiae the heartbreak of being dumped after my first school disco. It was a scene I re-wrote into The Brazilian Job my first novel. After my first son was born I attended a creative writing course and the first piece I ever penned was published by a New Zealand parenting magazine. I went on to write humorous, opinion styled pieces of my take on parenting but when the necessity for being politically correct got too much I set myself the challenge of writing a novel. The result was The Brazilian Job. The story opens in Dublin where my now hubby and I based ourselves back in the Millennium when the Celtic Tiger was roaring. My second novel Second-hand Jane is also set in Dublin because it provides such a character filled backdrop. We have a love of travel and starting our family in 2004 hasn’t changed that. In 2008 we crossed Argentina, Chile and Uruguay by bus with backpacks and our two boys plonked in strollers - it was fantastic. Last year we visited LA, the Greek Islands, France and Hong Kong with our boys and that has only managed to scratch the tip of the wish list. It has also given me loads of ideas for future stories.