cover image IRISH GIRLS ARE BACK IN TOWN

IRISH GIRLS ARE BACK IN TOWN

Cecelia Ahern, Author, Patricia Scanlan, Author, Gemma O'Connor, Author et al. Downtown $13 (384p) ISBN 978-0-7434-9926-2

The gimmicky stories in this anthology of Irish chick lit address familiar female concerns: struggles with money, food, sex and relationships. In Martina Devlin's "At Least There'll Be Diamonds," the superficial protagonist is so desperate to marry for money that she weds another woman—even though she's straight. Kathy Reynolds, the financially strapped heroine of Patricia Scanlan's "Facades," learns to value the other riches in her happily married life when she sees the pain of her wealthy but lonely friend, Mari. Morag Prunty's "Spinning Sugar" depicts the relationship between a curmudgeonly male pastry chef and his gluttonous, overweight best customer. He teaches her to savor her food, and she learns to eat for quality as opposed to quantity. These stories turn on trick endings and always impart a lesson, but too often the moral leaves the heroine put meekly in her place. A notable exception to the chastened-heroine formula is Clare Dowling's "Deep Throat," which centers on housewives empowered by pornography. Though these light stories often entertain, readers looking for complex portraits of strong, independent women may be disappointed by this collection. (Mar.)