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Gypsy (2014)

Eighteen-year-old Amber lives in Paradise Cove, Ireland; in an idyllic setting she and her friends struggle through teenage angst, life and first love affairs. Amber is passionately in love with Ashan; her Indian childhood sweetheart. Yet when she attends the school prom, something devastating happens to her, which leads to a serious of events that change her life and those around her forever. Later on the book skips forward 20 years to the effect life has on the gang of friends. The years have not been kind to some of them and they are negotiating their way through divorce, infidelity, broken hearts and illness. It is especially so for Amber who at the age of 38 has three ex-husbands. When she attempts to rekindle her marriage with her third husband, Ashan comes back into her life. But do you ever forget your first love or can you extinguish the demons and hurt from the past? I enjoyed how the author uses a timeframe to marry forth between the present and the future to give dimension and depth to the character's stories. The characters in the novel were well structured especially Amber, who was definitely something of a lost soul. She has faced many extreme challenges in her life and as the novel progresses, the reader learns about how her past family life and relationships have taken their toll on her psyche. This is a novel about forgiveness, about letting go and facing up to life's challenges; about how in the darkest of times our friends are our most powerfully ally. It was a wonderfully layered novel which dealt with some dark themes but also had a magical element which gave the writing a gritty dynamic. (LP)

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