Friday, November 17, 2017

Book Review: The Woman at 72 Derry Lane

By Becky Gulc

‘On a leafy suburban street in Dublin, beautiful, poised Stella Greene lives with her successful husband, Matt. The perfect couple in every way, Stella appears to have it all. Next door, at number 72 however, lives Rea Brady. Gruff, bad-tempered and rarely seen besides the twitching of her net curtains, rumour has it she’s lost it all…including her marbles if you believe the neighbourhood gossip.

But appearances can be deceiving and when Stella and Rea’s worlds collide they realise they have much in common. Both are trapped in a prison of their own making.

Has help been next door without them realising it?

With the warmth and wit of Maeve Binchy and the secrets and twists of Liane Moriarty, this is the utterly original and compelling new novel from Irish Times bestseller Carmel Harrington.’ (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon UK.)

Oh my goodness. This is such an amazing book, I loved it. I think perhaps the synopsis didn’t prepare me for how I would be immediately captivated by this book. The first few pages weren’t what I expected and I was instantly hooked in a way which the rest of the world and worries disappear and you just want to hibernate until you reach the end.

There are three strands to this story, Stella (and the reality of her seemingly perfect marriage), Rea (who lives alone and suffers from agoraphobia) and Skye - the lovely daughter/sister that just wants to go on a long-awaited family holiday. Each narrative was as captivating as the next. Each one hit you in the face with surprises at different points and my emotions were all over the place, you will cry!

I can’t praise the writing enough. With two of the stories set in the present, and one in the past, there was also the added intrigue as a reader to see if the stories would come together in the end somehow, I certainly didn’t second-guess how this could be until well past the half way mark in the novel.

There are some very emotional and sometimes very hard to read elements of the book (domestic violence, mental health issues, human tragedy, grief), but there are also some very funny scenes, and it takes skill to get this balance right without downplaying the serious elements of the story. This is a book which, despite covering some hard issues, manages to ooze warmth and gives you faith in humanity.

I hadn’t heard of Carmel Harrington before reading this but I’ll definitely be reading her other work now.

Thanks to HarperCollins UK for the book in exchange for an honest review. The Woman at 72 Derry Lane can be purchased here.

More by Carmel Harrington:


Janine said...

Great review.

Erica Robyn said...

Oh this sounds great!! Awesome review!