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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review: 'Things We Never Say' by Sheila O'Flanagan
Sheila O'Flanagan is one of the biggest names within the world of chick lit with about fifteen best-selling novels to her name. As a lover of anything chick lit, I also have a couple of her books somewhere on my shelves and every time I see a new title in a book shop, it attracts my attention. But somehow I've never actually managed to pick up one of Sheila O'Flanagan's...
Published 13 months ago by Jody - "A Spoonful of Hap...

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Things we never say
A really enjoyable read would recommend it . Sheila O'flanagan had certainly studied human nature and told her story around it
Published 7 months ago by carol parnell


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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review: 'Things We Never Say' by Sheila O'Flanagan, 20 Jun 2013
This review is from: Things We Never Say (Hardcover)
Sheila O'Flanagan is one of the biggest names within the world of chick lit with about fifteen best-selling novels to her name. As a lover of anything chick lit, I also have a couple of her books somewhere on my shelves and every time I see a new title in a book shop, it attracts my attention. But somehow I've never actually managed to pick up one of Sheila O'Flanagan's works and sit down to read it, until now.

`Things We Never Say' focuses on two places in the world: Ireland and California. In Ireland, we find the Fitzpatrick family, which is devastated after the sudden death of patriarch Fred. His children Donald, Gareth and Suzanne are not necessarily devastated by the fact that their father is no longer amongst them; it is his will that has left them most distressed. The reason for this can be found at the other side of the world in San Francisco. Abbey Andersen has a good life: she loves her job as a nail technician, she has a nice apartment with her boyfriend whom she loves very much, and she has great friends to support her. However, when her boyfriend suddenly decides to leave her behind with several debts, Abbey's life appears to not be so great anymore. When out of the blue an Irish investigator shows up to tell Abbey her family history also isn't exactly what she thinks it is, Abbey is forced to make some decisions that will not only affect her, but also those around her.

I really liked the fact that this novel focused on two separate storylines that later on become entwined. From the first few pages I already adored Abbey; she's a lovely character and I was really rooting for her throughout the book. She really cares about the people around her and tries to do what's best for everyone, not just herself, in any kind of situation. Next to Abbey's storyline, there's the feuding Fitzpatrick family. It took me a longer time to get used to these characters. They all have their own secrets and are obsessed with money and particularly their father's will. I liked discovering and reading about Gareth, Donald, Suzanne and their families, even though most of them weren't really easily likeable characters. I thought it was great how Sheila O'Flanagan managed to bring all of these diverse characters with their own individual personalities together.

The novel starts with a fascinating chapter set half a century ago, during the Magdalene Laundry era. These Magdalene Laundries were mainly Catholic-run facilities in Ireland for `fallen' women, for example prostitutes or pregnant girls and women who had been left behind by their families. I thought this really added a historical layer to the novel which I personally loved. I have to say I thought the main part of the novel took up too many pages; the story seemed a bit slow at times, and I would have preferred fewer pages or perhaps a more extensive romantic storyline for Abbey. Overall, `Things We Never Say' is an intriguing and enjoyable novel all about family dynamics, which has convinced me to definitely pick up another Sheila O'Flanagan novel in the near future.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent read from Sheila O'Flanagan, 23 Jun 2013
This review is from: Things We Never Say (Hardcover)
Sheila O'Flanagan's latest novel takes a detailed look at the relationships between families and the secrets they can hide and how our families and particularly our parents influence our lives. The novel begins with three short flashbacks set in Tipperary fifty five years ago, Dublin ten years ago and San Francisco eight years ago. The three scenes are very different and introduce a varied and seemingly unrelated group of characters and my interest was piqued from the start trying to work out how the three strands fitted together.

I love how much Sheila O'Flanagan's books make me think and keep me wondering as I read. As the narrative moves to the present we meet Abbey Anderson again in San Francisco and the eclectic Fitzpatrick family based mainly in Dublin and gradually the picture builds of the linkages between them. Although I knew from the synopsis that Abbey discovers that she has family in Dublin that she needs to meet in order to understand her roots, I didn't expect the heartbreaking background to the story or the dramatic events that unfold when Abbey arrives in Ireland.

Sheila is one of my `go to' authors when I want a sensitive, thought provoking and believable read that really gets to the essence of people's emotions and Things We Never Say certainly does that! This isn't a story of happy families, in fact some of the characters and their reactions to Abbey and her Mum's existence are terrible and it was interesting as a reader to actively dislike a set of characters for a whole novel and I was surprised that despite my dislike for the Fitzpatrick brothers that I couldn't stop reading!

There are a number of mysteries in the book and Sheila's talent as a story teller really comes through as she slowly builds the picture of the Fitzpatrick family and of Abbey's life in San Francisco and brings them together all the while keeping the whereabouts of Abbey's mum secret. There are lots of hints about what has happened to Abbey's Mum and I spent a large part of the book trying to guess what the big reveal would be and reading as quickly as I could to find out if my guess was correct!

Abbey and Suzanne Fitzpatrick were amongst my favourite characters and excellent examples in their own way of strong, independent women. I also liked Abbey's father figure Pete and Irish lawyer Ryan who both help Abbey to make her difficult decision in a supportive and caring way. The decision Abbey has to make really got me thinking `what would I do if...?' and I was impressed by the way that Sheila showed both sides of the story in what felt like a very realistic way examining the emotions and questions around how people change over time and the importance of not regretting the past.

With just a touch of romance and an ending that brought tears to my eyes, Things We Never Say is another excellent read from one of my favourite authors - highly recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The perfect comfort read from an author who consistently delivers great stories, 18 July 2014
By 
Lincs Reader (Lincolnshire, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Things We Never Say (Paperback)
I have been a huge fan of Sheila O'Flanagan for many years now, she is one of those authors who I never tire of. I love discovering new authors and new genres, but there is something special about returning to a favourite writer, knowing that you will not be let down.

Things We Never Say is classic Sheila O'Flanagan, filled with her trademark, realistic characters with their Irish humour and eccentricities.

Abbey Anderson is based in San Francisco and is floundering a little. Her boyfriend has done a bunk without telling her. She's really not doing very well as an artist, she can't bear her job in the Gallery and her mother has taken her own life in a totally new direction. However, Abbey is a great nail artist and she does have an adopted family in the shape of her mum's ex-boyfriend Pete, his new wife and their kids.

In Dublin, the Fitzpatrick family appear to be successful and wealthy with enviable lifestyles. Fred, the patriarch of the family worked very hard, building a successful business from nothing. He now lives in the house of his dreams, but at eighty-one years old and recently widowed, he's been spending more and more time thinking back over his life. He is haunted by something that happened fifty years ago, and is determined that he will make amends before he dies.

It is this decision that brings Abbey Anderson and the Fitzpatrick family together, with dramatic consequences and life-changing events.

Sheila O'Flanagan excels in creating characters that the reader can relate to and recognise. Things We Never Say is dominated by female characters who range from the ethereal Ellen to the money-hungry Zoey and whilst each character is flawed, this only adds to their realism. Her male characters play more of a supporting role in this story, and again the men are a diverse bunch.

I enjoyed this story of family dynamics, mixed with topical issues such as the economic melt-down and the tragedies and suffering of the Magdelene laundries.

The perfect comfort read from an author who consistently delivers great stories.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyed it, 20 April 2014
By 
Welsh Annie (Wetherby) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Things We Never Say (Kindle Edition)
It’s been many years since I last picked up a book by Sheila O’Flanagan – I have no idea why, there are plenty of them on my shelves, just too many new writers vying for attention I guess. Her new one, Things We Never Say, is published in paperback on 24 April by Headline Review and is – unbelievably – her eighteenth full-length novel. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I’m so pleased I’ve rediscovered her writing.

This is an excellent story set mainly in California and Ireland. In San Francisco, Abbey Andersen leaves her job at an art gallery to become a nail artist, gets unceremoniously dumped by her feckless boyfriend and evicted soon afterwards, is deep in debt and surviving with the support of her mother’s former boyfriend Pete. In Ireland, we meet the Fitzpatricks, overbearing father Fred living in his luxury home in Howth and continuing to overshadow the lives of his adult children Donald, Gareth and Suzanne, and those of their families, all with their own problems and issues. The storylines come together when Abbey is visited by an Irish investigator with news that has far-reaching impacts on them all.

Abbey is a particularly likeable character and a good focus for the story - I really liked her relationship with Pete, her interactions with her mother, and her strong conscience that governs her actions and decisions. The Fitzpatrick family are wonderfully drawn too – particularly the wives who drive the story, and I had a particular soft spot for Suzanne and her plans to convert a derelict Spanish hotel. The story is really excellent, the modern day drama having its roots in a grave injustice from the past. I know some previous reviewers have found it just a little slow, but I never found it so - Sheila O’Flanagan has a wonderful ear for dialogue and I enjoyed the way she used it to move the story forward. And it’s a “grand” story, and a very enjoyable read, with plenty of twists and turns and family secrets revealed to keep you turning the pages.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, 1 July 2013
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This review is from: Things We Never Say (Kindle Edition)
Sheila o`flanagan is a brilliant writer and this was another great story, hard to put down and great holiday reading. Loved it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic, 24 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Things We Never Say (Kindle Edition)
As always a fantastic read, didn't want to put it down, I am really looking forwards to the next book
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 9 July 2014
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This review is from: Things We Never Say (Kindle Edition)
Looking forward to reading
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 27 Jun 2014
By 
K. C. Jones - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Things We Never Say (Kindle Edition)
Nice read, very entertaining
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another brilliant book from Sheila O'Flanagan., 26 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Things We Never Say (Paperback)
A great story and characters that came to life, which is what I have come to expect from this author, as I have read all her other books. I have not quite finished this one yet but it has kept me reading until the early hours, want to find out the ending, but will hate to come to the end of the story. All I can say is I hope she writes another book soon, but until then there are several other excellent Irish authors for me to read, they are always such good story tellers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of her best, 25 Jun 2014
By 
Sharon (Wiltshire) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Things We Never Say (Paperback)
The story begins with a series of flashbacks introducing us to the central characters in the book, 55 years ago in Tipperary, 10 years ago in Dublin and 8 years ago in San Francisco. At first it's not clear how they are all connected but as the story progresses, and a deeply hidden secret is revealed, the mystery is uncovered and we soon see how this affects the lives of all concerned...

Things We Never Say is an interesting tale about family relationships and how one moment in time, in this case a TV documentary, can have a monumental impact on the life of a viewer and subsequently other members of the family, both near and far.

Having read all of Sheila's books in the past I was expecting romance, and yes there is a little bit towards the end, but what I actually got was a gripping read full of interesting characters and family dramas as they react to the unexpected revelations. I also loved the intrigue surrounding one of the characters who we don't meet until towards the end and although I had guessed her story it didn't spoil it for me.

Although there are quite a lot of characters involved, they each played their part into making this such an enjoyable read.
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