6 Nov 2014

book review: a special delivery by clare dowling

I love a feel good story and when I received my Bookbridgr copy of A Special Delivery by Clare Dowling, I was so ready to get stuck in. Christmas is coming up and what better time to read a slushy story, eh?

The blurb for A Special Delivery reads as follows:

"Every family has its ups and downs...

Aisling Brady is miserable. So is her husband Mossy. The three kids are too. Yet nobody dares say a thing. Instead the Bradys keep their heads down and grimly look forward to another miserable Christmas in Dublin.

What Aisling doesn't know is that this year, they will get the most unexpected gift of all. One that will bring joy and heartbreak, hope and a string of sleepless nights.

As their world is turned upside down, questions have to be asked. But are the Bradys ready to face the truth about themselves? And what each of them has done?"

From the blurb alone, I was drawn in and totally ready to dive straight into the book. What secrets are each of the characters hiding? It's quite obvious from the book cover what the 'unexpected gift' is but the book is almost 400 pages long - it can't just be about that surely!

The book begins at a decent pace - it gave me time to take in each of the characters and build a picture in my head. As the book wore on, it was interesting and well written enough for me to want to carry on reading but towards page 300 or so, I was starting to get a bit bored. There was almost no plot to the story - it was just about a family that were going through one rough patch after another where not much seemed to be going their way. Maybe I'm a bit too young to relate to Aisling but for me, I found myself reading it for the sake of finishing something I had started, rather than because I was eager to find out what was the next twist in the plot.

That said, I can understand why someone else would enjoy reading it. In my opinion, the amount of drama is proportional to the number of pages and I think it is a better read for someone who is of a similar age to the main characters (who I guess are in their early forties) because I just found it really hard to relate to them. When I was about halfway through, I remember thinking that Mossy and Aisling would be pretty bad parents to have in the sense that Mossy is stubborn where whatever he says is gospel and that Aisling is too overbearing.

This is the first time I've read a book by Clare Dowling and I think she is a fantastic and engaging writer. I'm eager to seek out other books she's written as although this one wasn't my cup of tea, I think she is one of the better story tellers out there. I gave this book 7.5/10 as it is written very well but is un-relatable for me (for reasons outlined earlier in the post).

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