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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 23 March 2014
What a fantastic read this book was I really enjoyed it..... Not wanting to give away to much of the story, it's about a family who are literally been torn apart with family secrets and it shows the consequences from this, theirs an air of mystery, romance and most definitely "what's happening next"? Twins Sinead & Sheila with their very successful business, however Sheila goes missing and nobody is sure if she is dead or alive as no body was ever found, their brother Max and their father Kieran and not forgetting Phillip, Sheila's husband who is involved in politics and of course one can't forget Krystie who for me was a delight in this book she was like a ray of sunshine and added so much to the story itself..... As I was reading this book I could picture each character in my head and visualise the whole story itself as it progressed and that to me is what I call a great book. Buy it you won't be disappointed and you just might find you love it like me x
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on 3 September 2014
It's not often a book is better in the beginning and middle than towards the end, which happened with this one.

I found the story about the Fields family fascinating. The twins Sheila and Sinead and their successful millinery business. Their smashing brother Max, their father Kieran, a brooding somewhat distant head of the family, and their aunt Birdie who looked after the family over the years but is now sadly suffering from dementia. And there is talented designer Krystie, returned to Ireland from New York after failing to achieve success in The Big Apple and joining Sinead in the hat business.

But a mystery hits the family when Sheila suddenly disappears leaving her car abandoned on a pier. Stricken in their belief that Sheila is dead, may have even taken her own life, they struggle with questions and answers. Sinead misses her twin terribly, goes into a depression, neglects their business and loses the store.

We get all the answers in the end but I find many of them a bit far-fetched. Especially does it not quite ring through that Sheila would go as far as leave her husband and family without a word based on the reasons given in this story. She is searched after by the police, believed dead, it is quite a serious business. An intelligent and responsible woman, it seems to me rather unlikely unless she had suffered from a complete break down.

However, it is a pleasant and at times exciting journey for the reader until aunt Bridie dies and it's time to put the cards on the table. The many characters in the book are interesting and well described. But I expected more of a finale, a real bombshell to top off a charming story in the author's usual easy and entertaining style.

I put it in the category "cozy reading" and recommend it as such. And after all, happy endings are always nice!
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Sheila disappears at the moment the business she and her sister Sinéad have built is starting to become successful. Sinéad is heartbroken and she misses her sister every minute of the day. She's missing her so much that her relationship and business are starting to suffer. Her brother Max is trying to make her pull herself together. Life without Sheila is almost unimaginable, but slowly Sinéad starts to crawl out of her black hole.

Sinéad and Max hire Krystie to help with the business. She hasn't got much experience making hats, but she's an excellent designer and tailor who would love to learn the profession. Together they're building up both the business and their lives again. Only then Krystie has some shocking news, she might have seen Sheila in New York. Is that really true and what has happened to Sinéad and Max's beloved sister? Weren't they always honest with one another and wouldn't she have told her twin if something was bothering her?

I instantly fell in love with this story. It's about creativity, family secrets and love, which is a perfect combination. I couldn't wait to find out what happened to Sheila. With her disappearance the whole family is falling apart, but they need each other more than ever. Krystie is such a great woman and I loved her sense of style and her character. She helped them to get things back on track and soon she becomes the glue that mends the broken family she's now a part of. That was such an amazing process to witness. I enjoyed reading this book very much and highly recommend it to anyone who loves a great Irish read.
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on 11 October 2015
I loved all the characters in this book. They are so down to earth say it how it is. Very easy to ready but I wanted it to go on and on. The characters were so real and I wanted to be part of their family!
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on 8 April 2014
Colette has done it again! This is a fabulous, fantastic and pacy read. So much going on with an Irish family, all sorts of twists and turns in this one, and we take a turn from Dublin and into Manhattan too. This is written with so much glamour, style and pizzazz. The characters are just so enticing with all of the family problems in dealing with a twin angle and all sorts of happenings, both touching and fun too. Who stole. my heart in the book was Krystie, she is such a colourful and vibrant person, just have to love her. Well done Colette and I take my headpiece off to you!
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Thanks to publishers for approving my request for a review copy of this book via NetGalley......

This book has been available in Ireland, in trade paperback, and as Kindle edition, since march 2014. The regular paperback will be released on 14th Aug.

Sinead and Sheila Fields are identical twins. Sheila disappeared almost a year ago and Sinead is not coping with the loss very well at all. Feeling helpless, emotional and like she is missing a limb, she seems to be pushing everyone away from her. Even her boyfriend is finding her beyond help. When her accountant brother discovers how bad things have become, in her business as well as her personal life, he gets her to accept that she needs to get a grip and begin her life again. Part of this deal is bringing in a new staff member who can help the millinery business regain momentum. Sheila had been part of the company, and without her, Sinead has let things slip. In comes Dubliner, Krystie, recently returned from Manhattan and dying to get back to work in the world of fashion. When she realises who she will be working for, the memory of a familiar face in Manhattan comes back to her and she questions her need to share some information with Sinead. Will it help or hinder?

I always enjoy Colette Caddle's books. You can count on her. They are well written, have great characters and the stories usually keep me guessing til the end. This was certainly true with First we take Manhattan. lots of interlinking storylines, and nuggets of information drip fed throughout, make for a page turner. The twins family feature a lot and I like the fact that they are not perfect. Who's family are?
The world of hats was a strange choice, but the author did enough research to make it a viable career choice for the girls. The story is centered around losing a family member but also delves into the 'skeletons in the closet' area, which we all know and love......

A great read, perfect for summer, making you wish you could have a glass of bubbly while wearing a great big sunhat !! A special shout out for the stunning artwork on the cover too.
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on 16 October 2014
I enjoyed this book so much, I couldn’t put it down! The story was very well plotted with many twists that you wouldn’t have seen coming! The characters were very well crafted and really interesting. What I loved most about this book was the way Colette put together the main plot and all the smaller subplots. Everything in the story was there for a reason – the smallest event was significant and each character had a role to fulfill. While I was reading it, poor Pete had to put up with me exclaiming (at least once in each chapter): ‘oh, so that’s why she did it!’ or ‘now I understand!’ and ‘I can’t believe what’s just happened’… So you have Manhattan, some nice twists in the plot and brilliantly crafted characters, add a bit of drama and mystery and you know you’re in for a treat!
It was the first book by Colette Caddle that I read. It caught my eye because it had this word in the title that I couldn’t just ignore…(you probably know how much I love New York..?). I really loved this book, it was a fantastic read from start to finish. I would definitely recommend it and would certainly be reading it again myself.
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VINE VOICEon 6 February 2015
Twin sisters Sinéad and Sheila Fields have started their own millinery business. They are just about to hit fame and fortune after a famous actress wears one of their creations to a BAFTA awards ceremony when Sheila suddenly disappears without trace. Her car is found abandoned with her handbag inside. After several months without any news the family reluctantly have to accept that Sheila is dead, possibly by her own hand. Her twin Sinéad is devastated and lets the business slide into ruin - along with her relationship with boyfriend Dylan. The two sisters were so close and Sinéad can't accept that Sheila would deliberately wish to cause so much hurt. Her younger brother Max intervenes to try and salvage the business and this is really where the story starts with disclosures and coincidences that eventually form the crux of the tale.

This is the first Colette Caddle book that I have read (although I do have a few of her earlier books in my collection - I hadn't realised that she had written so many, this being her 14th novel). What attracted me (apart from the gorgeous cover) was the mystery element of the missing twin and the dual location of Ireland and New York. The story kept me engrossed, whether we were in Dublin or Central Park.

I really enjoyed Colette's writing. The Fields family are well drawn with complex characters and you are drawn in to the family relationships and dynamics, each of them dealing with loss and grief in their own way. The mother died tragically by drowning years before when the twins and their brother Max were quite young and the father has never really got over the loss of his wife. His wife's sister, Bridie, stepped in to look after the family, and although she did an adequate job, she was never a very loving person and the lack of affection was felt by all the siblings. Bridie is now suffering from dementia; she has a past of her own that is partly shrouded in mystery and appears to be the holder of long held family secrets.

There is a little bit of everything in this book, mystery, family relationships, secrets and romance. There are some fabulous supporting characters - Krystie was a wonderful creation and came into the lives of the Fields family like a breath of fresh air, her relationship with her own family felt believable and was one that perhaps many people could identify with. Very cleverly, the author threw in a few seeds of doubt here and there - just enough to make you wonder about certain characters and whether they were all that they seemed.

Despite the mystery element, this is not a suspense thriller but neither is it light and fluffy. I was completely engrossed in the lives of the Fields family and as desperate as they were to find out the truth about Sheila's disappearance. We see a family that has been torn in two by loss and the repercussions of keeping secrets. This was a really enjoyable story and I and look forward to reading more by Colette Caddle.
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on 24 December 2014
First We Take Mahattan begins after Sheila's disappearance, but the after-effects of her twin disappearing into thin air are still playing havoc with remaining twin Sinead's mind and emotions. Instantly, I was hooked, and I think that this was a great way to begin the novel. My brain was ticking and I was wondering all about Sheila and what had happened to her. Sheila and Sinead had opened up their own hat making business and things had been going great before Sheila disappeared, but without her twin by her side, Sinead is beginning to let things slip and she just can't find the motivation to do the little things, like answering customer calls and even just getting out of bed in the morning. When Sinead's brother Max steps in and discovers how downhill the business is actually slipping, he decides to take action and helps his sister to get back on top of things.

What I really, really loved about First We Take Manhattan was the deep, unbreakable connection between the two twins, even though Sheila is presumed dead. Although the story is very firmly set in the present day, the author takes us back every now and again to Sinead and Sheila's childhood. The contrasts between the twins are evident; Sheila had always been very serious and mature for her age even as a little girl, whereas Sinead had been a little bit more on the wild side. Despite their differences, they were incredibly close, and because of this, the fact that Sheila is missing in the present day just makes it all the more powerful, moving and emotional. Coming from a big family myself, I couldn't even begin to put myself into Sinead's shoes and feel the things that she was feeling. I would be utterly heartbroken, and probably end up treading the same path that Sinead did. I completely understood Sinead's right from the very beginning.

As well as the storyline concerning Sheila and Sinead, there's also the character of Krystie, and she is introduced into the plot a little later on. Krystie kinda' has her own thing going on, but I LOVED watching her life intertwine with Sinead's. It was just fabulous. After just being fired from her job in Sew Splendid, where suits and gowns are altered, Krystie has no idea what she's now going to do. She can't continue to pay the rent on her apartment, so her only option is to return home to Ireland. What's brilliant about Krystie though, is that she's a very talented designer with a keen eye for detail and a talent for creating gorgeous clothes, including her own. So, with the whole talented designer thing, can you see where the story's going? ;)

I loved the whole mystery involved within this novel, the wondering and the curiosity that Colette drew from me as I turned the pages. Although Sheila wasn't present within the plot itself, I still felt like she was a very important, prominent character. Her disappearance was constantly hanging in the atmosphere, and as the characters spoke of her and Colette took us back in the past, I felt like I knew Sheila just as much as the others.

As well as the mystery, I felt that another huge theme within this novel was family. Sheila and Sinead's family was quite a big one, and not only do we meet Max, Sinead and hear about Sheila, but Colette also shakes us around and allows us to see from their father Kieran's point of view too! I found this fascination and being allowed to see the same story from so many different people was just brilliant. It really brought each character to life and I truly felt that this was a real, true-to-life family going through a crisis.

Overall, I really enjoyed First We Take Manhattan. It was fast-paced, interesting, and the characters were incredibly like-able. It was a pleasurable read and I would definitely love to read more of Colette's writing. She has such a gorgeous story-telling ability that makes you feel so involved in the plot and the character's lives.

Becca's Books is rating First We Take Manhattan by Colette Caddle with four yummy cupcakes! A tale of love, sisters and secrets. A must-read!
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on 12 August 2014
First We Take Manhattan is the thirteenth novel from Colette Caddle. Unlucky for some but not Colette, she has played another blinder and this is a fantastic book from start to finish. I loved every page and didn’t want it to end reading it within a day. Right from the opening line I was hooked and lost all track of time immersed in the world of the Field sisters and a wonderful cast of supporting characters. This is a gripping, intriguing novel full of secrets, tension and mystery focusing on a family who have many things to hide which has devastating consequences on all aspects of their lives. Of course some romance thrown in along the way all helps to create an enthralling novel.

It’s hard to explain much about the story without giving away spoilers but this book introduces us to twins Sinéad and Sheila who are just on the cusp of making it big in the fashion industry designing hats when Sheila mysteriously disappears . Her car with her purse and passport is found abandoned near the coast and after much searching she is presumed dead - drowned at sea even though no body was ever found. When we meet Sinéad she is devastated and distraught at the loss of her sister. She is spiralling out of control leaving the millinery business to fall to rack and ruin. Her boyfriend Dylan does his best to help her get back on track but is Sinéad willing to listen or will she lose Dylan too? How can she go on without her twin sister to guide and support her?

The loss of Sheila is tearing the family apart but at the same time secrets are becoming exposed making family members realise not everyone is as they seem and we all have secrets we keep and for very good reason. In the beginning I really wanted to shout at Sinéad to just get on with it, get out of your small world of despair and try and move on because that was what your sister would have wanted but as the story progressed we see a slow change in Sinead thanks to Krystie.

Krystie is like a ray of light and fresh air when she enters the story. She is a bright eager, vivacious young girl who having been fired from her alterations job in Manhattan returns home to Ireland searching for work. Pure chance has her meeting Sinéad and soon she is putting her design skills to good use hoping to change the fortunes of the hat shop whilst maybe experiencing some romance along the way. But something is nagging at Krystie a familiar face she glimpsed in New York - should she say anything or would it hinder not help this family in crisis and freefall?

Sheila’s dad Kieran and brother Max cannot believe Sheila has gone so suddenly from their lives especially as tragedy had previously befallen the family in years gone by. Philip a politician in the Irish government is Sheila’s husband but Sinéad has her suspicions as to how honourable he really is. This cast of supporting characters were superb and each had their own problems to overcome which only added to the overall tension and suspense through the book.

Colette Caddle has created a cast of engrossing characters. I was rooting for each one to get their happy ending. But there were so many twists and turns (in a good way) I just didn’t know how the story was going to end. Yes you were drip fed hints throughout the story making you believe one thing or another but not everyone was as they seemed. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, another twist which I did not see coming was thrown in, which made me re-evaluate everything and everyone and kept me guessing right up until the very end. If you haven’t read anything by Colette Caddle before, this book is the perfect place to start, it was a thrilling rollercoaster of a read. If you want a fast paced, riveting story then First We Take Manhattan is the book for you.
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