Tired of both her work-life and her boyfriend, Isla leaves London to go back to Bibury, the small town in New Zealand where she grew up. Living with her grandmother Bridget, Isla has to figure out what to do with her life and her feelings for her first love Ben, who still lives in Bibury. In the meantime, Bridget receives letters from her own first love, Charlie, that bring back painful memories from her past.
The novel is romantic and well-written but it didn’t really captivate me and I found the characters not completely engaging. What kept me reading was the alternation between the past and the present that created a few twists. All in all, this is an easy-read with a few love triangles that will entertain you. (NP)
Rebecca Loughton is a 34-year-old who, having uprooted from her native New Zealand, has emigrated to Dublin with her best friend Melissa. Rebecca works as a PA for a law firm, Fitzpatrick and Co; her life being that of a typical singleton; peppered with drunken shenanigans and an ill-fated one night stand with her boss, Ciaran Cahill. Rebecca has no permanency in her life and has been constantly overshadowed by her older sister Jennifer, who in contrast seems to have it all - looks, money, career and a perfect relationship with her husband and children.
Rebecca has always been compared to her sister which has resulted in self-esteem issues and separation from her family. However, out of the blue, Jennifer contacts her to inform her that her husband Mark has had an affair with his secretary and Jennifer wants her to come back to NZ and look after her niece and nephew whilst she goes on holiday with him to try to salvage their relationship. Rebecca reluctantly agrees and with Melissa in tow, they arrive back in Taranga. Yet all is not what it seems with Jennifer and Rebecca begins to question whether her sister really is as perfect as she makes out. Indeed, arriving back in New Zealand sets off a chain of events which change Rebecca's life irrevocably, notwithstanding an experience of swimming with dolphins, meeting a gorgeous divorcee and a rather painful Brazilian wax.
Funny, fresh and heart-warming, this is a book about relationships and about how sometimes what people perceive about others is not always the truth. It highlights the dynamics of sibling rivalry, and the tenuous relationships within families and our friends, demonstrating how ultimately they are the ones who come through for us in the end. Rebecca and Jennifer have effectively grown apart but through the breakdown of Jennifer's marriage, they are able to find themselves again which not only repairs their relationship as sisters but enriches it as they both come to realise their own flaws and those of each other. (LP)