There are films, fun films, that have a just-right attitude and tone (Four Weddings and a Funeral comes to mind), so that the time spent watching just seems to fly by. This is the written equivalent of that type of film, a 415-page novel that reads fast and reads fun. It’s also loaded with enough realistic people – not faux characters – that the reader wants to know the most important thing… What happens next?
Some would probably view this as either a “woman’s book” or chick lit. Maybe it is a Bridget Jones-style book, although I honestly wouldn’t know; the main character’s perspective never gets in the way of the all too human story. The story is about Lainey Byrne, a Type A personality, who works like mad in a P.R. firm in Australia, often literally placing her chef boyfriend on the back burner. A death in the family and a medical crisis make it imperative that she meet the terms of a late aunt’s will (so that the property formerly owned by the aunt can be sold). This will require that a member of Lainey’s family live in and manage a broken-down B&B outside of Belfast, Ireland. Lainey, who desperately needs to control everything and everyone in the world, is left with the assignment.
This is not Under the Tuscan Sun. Instead it’s A Year Outside of Belfast in an Almost Bankrupt Bed and Breakfast! A year in which Lainey learns valuable lessons about stepping back now and then and letting events run their course; about understanding that other people have their own instincts and sense of timing; about the fact that true love is not fantasy.
Very, very well done!
Thanks to Kathleen at Random House/Ballantine and Abby at Library Thing for supplying the review copy!