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Saturday, 17 December 2011

Breakfast at Darcy's - Ali McNamara

Breakfast at Darcy's

When Darcy McCall loses her beloved Aunt Molly, she doesn't expect any sort of inheritance - let alone a small island. Located off the west coast of Ireland, Tara hasn't been lived on for years, but according to Molly's will Darcy must stay there for twelve months in order to fully inherit, and she needs to persuade a village full of people to settle there, too. Darcy has to leave behind her independent city life and swap stylish heels for muddy wellies. Between sorting everything from the plumbing to the pub, Darcy meets confident Conor and ever-grumpy Dermot - but who will make her feel really at home?

One of my favorite books from last year was Ali McNamara's debut novel 'From Notting Hill with Love ......Actually' and I have therefore been waiting for Ali's second novel with great expectations, and I have not been disappointed.

Breakfast at Darcy's is a completely different book to Ali's first book, but it is still just as good. The main character, Darcy, goes to her Aunt's funeral and is shocked to find she is the sole beneficiary of her Aunt's estate, which includes a small island. However before she can inherit the estate, she must live on the island for 12 months and build a community of at least 15 people living there throughout the year. The plot reminded me of the television show, Castaway, which was broadcast on the BBC in 1999, where people, including Ben Fogle, lived on a scottish island for twelve months upto the new millenium. The book follows Darcy as she has to make up her mind if she will leave London, her job and her friends. The book follows her journey while she sets up the island, organising building work, interviewing and selecting of who will live on the island and their time on the island, one year of their lives and one which none of them will forget. There are family reunions, celebrations, deaths and romances within the story and I enjoyed every second of it!

As I have previously said, this book is a very different story to McNamara's previous book but I loved it. The story, although far fetched, was believable. I am sure many elderly aunts own islands and they would have to think very carefully about who to pass ownership to when they die. As I have said, the setting up of the community reminds me of the television reality show, Castaway, and it was great to meet each new resident of the island and see the community grow.

The story is not only about the new community being built on the island, but also the history held within the island; the Claddagh ring and the building on the island.

Another thing I loved about the book was the wonderful descriptive narrative that McNamara slips in to describe the landscape of Tara (the island). It sounds beautiful and would be lovely to visit one day.

I would love to read more about Darcy and her man (I am not going to spoil it by letting on who Darcy falls in love with) and also Roxi - a very unlikely island resident, but one who definitely adds something unique to the community, and who will not let a craggy island stop her from wearing her own fashion and the compulsory high heels. 

I would recommend this book to chick lit lovers everywhere, a great book to snuggle up with this Christmas, especially if the forecast snow arrives soon. It is one of those books that you can loose yourself in and is a great, quick read.

Thank you to the publishers, Sphere, for sending me this book to review.

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