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4.3 out of 5 stars61
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 22 September 2011
From the first few words I was caught up in this book. The writing is so clear and vivid that I saw each scene unfold in my mind's eye. The characters sprang to life and the story got going at once and had me gripped right to the end. It's everyday life, captured perfectly - but with a twist and a sting and some heartbreak along the way. So be warned, it's easy to get lost in this novel and hard to put it down and do mundane things like cook dinner or hold a conversation!

When I'd finished it (all too soon) I found many of the questions raised kept going round my head ... I wondered whether I could do what the main character did, and walk out on my life and begin a new one? (The temptation probably comes to many women who find themselves caring for everyone around them, but having no time to deal with their own needs.) It made me think about how people who love each other can sometimes build insurmountable barriers between themselves ... And how we lose control of our own identities.

Wouldn't we all like to decide on a new name, a new haircut, a new home, a new job, a new lover? But could we really leave behind our old habits and relationships? Oh, there's a lot of juicy stuff in this book if you like to think and talk, and I'm going to recommend it to my book club so we can do just that for hours over a few bottles of wine!
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on 29 July 2010
I loved this debut novel.I just could not put it down. I wanted to find out how it all ended, but I was also reluctant to finish a great story.
At first I admit I wasn't sure how I felt about Carol Ann. How could she abandon her old mum, especially? But as her story unfolded, I realised how skilfully the author had drawn her, and I started to wonder how I'd have behaved in her situation.
And I was kept guessing right to the last chapter. Strangely, I wouldn't have felt "cheated" if the ending had been different (you'll know what I mean when you read it!), but I was relieved all the same.
Can't wait for your next one, Catherine!
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on 1 July 2010
Is a well written and thought provoking book, that looks at the dynamics within relationships and families. The book is written from two female characters points of view in alternating chapters which allows the reader to experience womens roles in two, on the surface, apparently disparate ways.
An interesting debut that will appeal to those who like Joanna Trollope and Maggie O'Farrell.
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on 30 November 2013
A page turning read I was always wanting to know what happened to the characters. It is a mystery puzzle mixed up with an emotional tangle and a police investigation,

Recommended for those who like well developed characters tied up with a police investigation.
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on 7 December 2013
I enjoyed this book. I found it thought provoking. How the characters had been influenced by their upbringing and then thrown together by circumstances of life. A believable story and characters
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on 5 November 2013
This book covered some fairly brutal topics (the death of a child, infidelity, debilitating illness) in a very matter-of-fact way. Despite the abject misery of the subject's life she deals with her problems in a pragmatic and efficient way, and sounds a whole lot more 'together' than the police officer who is trying to find her. I couldn't decide if Karen was a Good Cop or a Bad Cop, but it didn't really matter because the central theme was the eternal one of should you make the best of things - or should you cut and run ?

It would spoil the book to say much more than that, but this theme was beautifully and sensitively handled. The minor characters stayed believable but muted, and supported rather than dominated the main subject. The ending was surprising - but then again was it? It left me wondering what I would have done in those circumstances and it's given me much food for thought.

That's the sign of a good book. Not just a 'good read' - something to chew over. Would I be Carol Ann or Cara May ? Not sure.
Can't recommend this book highly enough.
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on 13 March 2014
The premise of this novel sounded good, with lots of potential. Unfortunately it did not deliver. Emotionally it is pitched perfectly but the plot is slow and very predicable. The character of Karen seemed unrealistic and displayed behavior you would not expect from a member of the police force. She is portrayed as a very unlikable person with no compassion for other people. Even by the end of the novel she has not improved. I also feel that the character of Carol Ann could have been explored a bit more and a parallel could have been drawn between them. Both had traumatic things to deal with in their life but dealt with them in a different way. I didn't feel that either of them had dealt with their issues sufficiently by the end of the book which was a disappointment.
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on 30 November 2013
Absorbing and fascinating story of a middle aged and middle class woman who suddenly wins a large amount of money which enables her to leave her old life behind. Starting a new life in Ireland, she
finds that sometimes old ties are too strong.
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on 3 December 2013
I enjoyed this book but would have given it 5 stars if it hadn't been so rushed at the end.I would like to have seen what happened with Cara & Michael and Alex & Karen
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on 27 November 2013
This story is a weaving of the lives of two women - one who despairs and leaves home for a new life, and the other the policewoman who investigates her disappearance and has her own emotional problems. The character of Carol Ann is sympathetic and the question of how possible it is to walk away from your life is worth exploring. (Even if it is not that easy in reality - buy a house with no ID?) This part of the novel is moderately successful and certainly keeps you turning the pages - even if the ending is simplistic. However, the plotline with Karen the policewoman starts as unlikely and becomes increasingly incredible. All I can say is that if my taxes are being spent on a police force this inept I am seriously concerned - months spent on an investigation when a quick check of public transport would surely have resolved it! This part of the novel also seemed to be trying to operate as some form of thriller bringing in an element of menace which didn't work. A light read but trying to do too many things and so not packing enough emotional punch.
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