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Friday, 27 December 2013

Mad about you - Sinead Moriarty

Mad About You

"The inevitable comparisons with Marian Keyes are justified and well deserved - Moriarty's characters are likeable, well developed and funny". (Heat). Sinead Moriarty's riveting new novel, Mad About You, will make every reader stop and think about the importance of trust in relationships - how fragile it can be, how easily damaged, how hard to repair. Sinead combines the storytelling genius of Jodi Picoult, and the compassion and humour of Marian Keyes, in a gripping story of contemporary marriage. Emma and James Hamilton have weathered lots of storms in their ten-year marriage. From the heartbreak of infertility, to the craziness of then becoming parents to two babies in one year, to coping with James losing his job, somehow they have always worked as a team. However, the pressure of moving from Dublin to London for James' new job - away from familiar surroundings and the family Emma loves - puts them under stress like never before. So when James starts getting texts from a stranger - texts that show startling insights into their lives - Emma is not sure what to think. She is far from home, isolated and before long finds herself questioning everything about their relationship. Maybe those texts are telling her the truth and the life she believed to be solid and secure is just a mirage. Somehow she has to get a grip, but how can she do that when a stranger is set on driving Emma out of her home and her marriage? "One of the brightest voices in modern women's fiction". (Bella). Sinead Moriarty lives with her family in Dublin. Her previous titles are: The Baby Trail; A Perfect Match; From Here to Maternity; In My Sister's Shoes; Keeping It In the Family (also titled Whose Life is it Anyway?); Pieces of My Heart , Me and My Sisters and This Child of Mine.

Sinead Moriarty is another of my favourite authors and I look forward to her new releases each year. It was great to pick up this latest release and be reacquainted with Emma and James Hamilton from Sinead's earlier novels, The Baby Trail and From Here to Maternity. A couple struggling to conceive and who adopted a young son from overseas. 

We return to the Hamilton family, Emma, James, their adopted son and their biological daughter. At the start of the book the family have moved from Dublin to London, a move due to James' new job, training London Irish rugby team. It is great to see that Moriarty has acknowledged the difficulties and emotional wrench in moving away from family and the security of Emma's group of friends.

Emma has a sister, Babs, who lives in London and is the host on a makeover programme. She manages to get Emma a job as the programme's make up artist. Although this is great for Emma, she has to consider childcare and the immediate start on the job leaves Emma feeling guilty about not being there to settle her children into their new nursery. A neighbour mentions that a friends daughter is looking for work and is good with children. After interviewing for a nanny, it is decided to go with the daughter of a friends friend. The story continues, the children and the nanny are both happy, Emma has her job which she is enjoying, and James is working hard to get the London Irish rugby team to win their first game. 

It is during this time that Emma receives a parcel containing an intimate gift and a worrying note. Could James be playing away? Emma continues to receive these personal gifts, along with disturbing anonymous text messages. Would James really be playing away or is malice involved?

I really enjoyed this book and although I guessed the identity of person sending the parcels and text messages quite early on, it did not ruin the rest of the book. I really believe that Moriarty has written a very real story. The feelings of the whole family have been portrayed from day one when they uprooted from Ireland to live in London. The effect of Emma beginning a new job, meaning the children had a nanny to take them to and from a new nursery, family life being disrupted, James working very long hours, the doubt in Emma's life, which affected more than just Emma and James. It sends the reader on a roller coaster of emotions, who should they give their support to? and who is in the wrong?  There are many of the pitfalls of modern day family life throughout this story and reminds the reader of the real values of family life.  

There are lots of times of humour littered throughout the story, which is something Moriarty does brilliantly although they do not take anything away from the real story - one of family life and all the temptations that exist in the outside world. 

Thank you to Penguin Ireland who sent me an ARC through a Goodreads giveaway and Netgalley.

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