Cathy Kelly, Author . Dutton $23.95 (472p) ISBN 978-0-525-94605-2

Popular Irish columnist and author Kelly makes her U.S. literary debut with a soap operatic novel about three very different Dublin women who become fast friends while on holiday in Egypt. After their return, they meet regularly and commiserate with each other over mishaps, regale one another with triumphs and rage together over life's vicissitudes. Emma Sheridan is 31 and happily married, but obsessed with her failure to get pregnant. As the cowed daughter of a passive-aggressive mother and a viciously boorish father, she deserves sympathy, but her friends wonder why she refuses to seek a doctor's advice about fertility and also why she doesn't stand up to her abusive father. Hannah Campbell, a chic career woman in her mid-30s, has a lusty sex drive and works out regularly to keep her figure, but is still recovering from being dumped after a 10-year affair. Leonie Delaney, a divorced veterinary nurse and animal lover, is a devoted mother of three teenagers who, after six dateless years, finally resorts to a personal ad to find a man, calling herself voluptuous rather than overweight. Indigenous expressions like nappies, loo and shagged aside, the details of the novel—designer clothing, characters stricken by Alzheimer's and bulimia and, of course, the single career woman's search for an ideal mate—suggest that it could as easily be set in Chicago as Dublin. After nearly 500 pages, readers will have gotten to know these three women intimately—all are believable and memorable. Part Bridget Jones, part Ann Landers, this saga of hope and disillusionment is fully equipped with soul-searching, sex and, above all, comforting female friendship. Agent, Ali Gunn of Curtis Brown. (July)

Forecast:A cozy jacket photo fails to suggest the scrappier story within; this engaging but unremarkable novel may escape the radar of most American readers.

Reviewed on: 06/25/2001
Release date: 07/01/2001
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 480 pages - 978-0-452-28338-1
Hardcover - 589 pages - 978-1-85371-904-2
Open Ebook - 400 pages - 978-0-7865-1545-5
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