The Darling Girls Paperback – 30 Jan 2014
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'Fun, funny and fast – a really lovely novel' Penny Vinzenzi.
'I couldn't put it down. I loved this honest, absorbing story. A terrific read' Lorraine Kelly.
'Smart, funny and poignant' Daily Mirror.
'An incredibly moving story of love, loss and friendship' Closer.
About the Author
Emma Burstall is the author of two previous novels, Gym and Slimline and Never Close Your Eyes. Emma lives in Kingston upon Thames with her husband, the political commentator Kevin Maguire, and their three children.
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But pigeonholing can be limiting.
If I'd left it unbought purely because it was supposed to be chick-lit, I'd have missed out, terribly, for this is a fine, sensitively-written novel that left me feeling immensely better for having read it.
I've been writing and editing professionally for 33 years so hope I can recognise a good book when I see one. The Darling Girls certainly is.
Perhaps due to Emma's journalistic background, the story is utterly convincing and involving from start to finish. It's almost as if the characters and the world they inhabit already existed and Emma merely discovered it and related what happened. As a novelist myself, I can tell you that's not easy to do.
The realism of the writing can be painful at times - as it should be, of course - and particularly in the case of one of the characters having a miscarriage. The description is utterly authentic, and all the more moving for that.
The Darling Girls is so engrossing that I even podcasted The Archers' Omnibus to listen to later so that I could carrying on reading on my Kindle Paperwhite. As someone who regards that hour and a quarter on a Sunday morning as sacrosanct and won't take calls during it, even from celebrities, there is no higher praise than that.
At the time of writing, The Darling Girls has entered the Top 10 best-selling e-books chart compiled by The Bookseller, so an awful lot of people clearly share my excitement about this book.
Emma's publisher must be grinning like a Cheshire cat!
However, they are all inextricably linked by one thing - the loved they had shared with Leo, and they - his Darling Girls.
Each one of them had a startling dissimilar relationship with Leo. Victoria was with him for 20 years and bore him two children - Ralph (17) and Salome (8) - Victoria was Leo's stalwart - even though he never married her, Victoria's life changed because of Leo, to please Leo.
Leo, serial womaniser, then had a relationship with Maddy - who also bore him a daughter - 8 year old Phoebe.
Leo then went on to have a short relationship with Cat - which ended upon Leo's death. Cat was a young woman of 23 when the relationship started and was completely different to Maddy and Victoria.
To each woman, Leo represented a different person - with Victoria he loved classical music, with Cat he loved rock. None of the women recognised the man the other women described. He was unique to each of them.
When he suddenly died, the 3 women took a time to adjust. Seemingly for the worse to start with, but eventually, through what they maybe believed to be fate, but I read to be their sure strength of character - suppressed whilst with Leo - they actually end up with an almost better life without Leo in it.
There are plenty of synopsis on here which explain the book, but that is my take upon it.
A very nice read, quite an easy one but captivating and I would thoroughly recommend it.
All are consumed with grief and hateful of each other at this difficult time. The story unfolds as each woman tries to come to terms not only with Leo's death but with the fact that he had other women in his life that he called his 'Darling Girl'. It was quite interesting to see how each one of them manages to come to terms, however painfully with the situation and come to accept that they were all a part of his life and how they all move on with their own lives and find there is life with-out Leo after all.
And that is the art of the story so wonderfully woven by Ms Burstall. It's sad, painful and exhausting sometimes but I was routing for the girls and was glad to see that although they were hurt and still loved Leo in their own way, they also accepted he was not the man they thought he was and was human like the rest of us. Thank you Emma for a lovely read that left me feeling quite satisfied at the end.
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