In Sheila O’Flanagan’s stunning new novel, two women face up to shocking truths about the men they’ve loved – and start to make their own decisions about what to do next…
‘One of my favourite authors’ Marian Keyes
Deira isn’t the kind of woman to steal a car. Or drive to France alone with no plan. But then, Deira didn’t expect to be single. Or to suddenly realise that that the only way she can get the one thing she wants most is to start breaking every rule she lives by.
Grace has been sent on a journey by her late husband, Ken. She doesn’t really want to be on it but she’s following his instructions, as always. She can only hope that the trip will help her to forgive him. And then – finally – she’ll be able to let him go.
Brought together by unexpected circumstances, Grace and Deira find that it’s easier to share secrets with a stranger, especially in the shimmering sunny countryside of Spain and France. But they soon find that there’s no escaping the truth, whether you’re running away from it or racing towards it.
HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW
It has been far too long since I read one of this author’s books. I just hoped that I wasn’t expecting too much now. Within the first chapter, I had left reality and social distancing behind and joined two amazing women on a life-changing adventure.
Grace by name and Grace by nature. What a woman! Grace is a former air hostess from a day when they were chosen for their beauty and height as well as their brains. It had been on one of her trips that she had met Ken, the man that she would marry. They had three children, all grown up with lives of their own now. Ken was the reason that she was now on a ferry from Ireland to France, although she was travelling alone.
Deira was also on the ferry and travelling alone but the holiday had been planned by her now ex-partner Gavin, who had moved on to a much younger partner. The little sport’s number that Deira had parked on the lower decks of the ferry was his but she had taken it without his knowledge. She wasn’t coping very well with the break-up and had quite a mission brewing in her mind.
When fate keeps throwing the two women together they eventually go with the grain and an incredible treasure hunt begins.
I loved the connection between the two women which threw a different perspective on another main character. I felt that I probably got to know Ken better than anyone strangely enough, how different people saw him, how he related to people and the person he hid so well. He really made me think about life.
The places were amazing in the story, the descriptions detailed enough for me to see them come to life and the snippets of information about classic authors just brilliant. The research was perfection from this author as I always remembered it to be.
I cringed and smiled, shed a tear or two and just felt so uplifted. Loved this.
HERE, IS A LITTLE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I’ve always loved reading and when I was a child I used to write stories for my younger sisters as a bribe to make them do my share of the housework. It usually worked!
Ireland is famed for its writers, but for me growing up most of the novels were rural in both their settings and their points of view. I wanted to read books about people like me, who lived in the city and struggled with the chaotic bus timetable and had dreams and ambitions that had nothing to do with the farm. I also wanted to read novels in which the women were the heroes of their own stories and not simply there because they were someone’s wife, mother or daughter.
Although I was constantly writing, the idea of being a novelist was a bit of a pipe dream. I had to earn a living and so I got a job in finance. It was the complete opposite of anything I’d ever expected to do but – at least for a time – I enjoyed it and I did well.
But the dream wouldn’t go away and in my thirties I decided that I would make a real effort to write my novel. Eventually, after a couple of false starts, Dreaming of A Stranger was written and published and became an Irish bestseller.
Since then I’ve written more than 20 novels as well as 3 collections of short stories and 2 novels for children all of which have been bestsellers both in Ireland and overseas. They include The Hideaway, What Happened That Night, Isobel’s Wedding and Suddenly Single and my sales have topped 8 million around the world. My next book will be published on 30th May 2019 and is called Her Husband’s Mistake. In it, Roxy, my heroine, has to reassess her rock-solid marriage after a shattering discovery.
In most of my books, I put women in situations where they have to dig deep inside themselves to find their inner strength even though sometimes they struggle to realise it’s there. Readers often ask who my favourite characters are, but every one of the women in my books is as close to me as a member of my family. (For the time when I’m writing a book they’re even closer because they’re in my head 24/7. At least with the family I can put the phone down!)
Regardless of who my readers are, I always try to do three things when I’m writing:
Tell a good story
Make the reader feel like they know the characters
Make each book better than the last