I remember reading Ciara’s debut, Saving Grace, and I absolutely loved it. I thought it was clever, zeitgeist-y, and genuinely funny. Then she kind of dropped off my radar.
I’ve learned that she published two more novels in the interim, Becoming Scarlett and Finding Mr Flood. I’ve read neither so I’m not sure what they are like. However, I have read her latest book, published last summer, called Lifesaving For Beginners and I really enjoyed it. I didn’t love it as much as her debut, but it’s a solid story, has a fair dose of originality and her writing is tight.
Secret bestselling author, Kat Kavanagh, is just about coping with the pressure of writing a stellar new installment of her hugely successful Declan Darker crime series. Kat is not a likable character, she’s prickly, emotionally cold and a bit of a loner. But as you learn more about her family life, a few things fall into place and before you know it you’ll be rooting for her.
That said there was plenty of time I was raging with her carry-on. She’s mad for shooting herself in the foot romance-wise and beating herself up about decisions she made in the past. She’s haunted by one decision, in particular, giving her baby up for adoption. Enter Faith McIntyre, Kat’s daughter. While working her way through her late adopted mother’s belongings, Faith discovers her own birth papers. What follows is an emotional roller-coaster for both women as they attempt to figure out what comes next.
I can’t talk about the book without mentioning two lovely characters: Faith’s young brother, Milo, and Kat’s brother, Ed. The passages where Milo is struggling to understand his mother’s death are heartbreaking. You’ll just want to scoop him up and feed him and make him feel safe … a sign of great writing from Geraghty! Likewise, the scenes with Ed, a grown autistic man, feel honest and tender and ultimately explains the seemingly harsher, emotionally reclusive side of Kat’s character.
It will probably be referred to as chick-lit but don’t let that fool you, Lifesaving For Beginners tackles some tough topics. You’ll like it if you enjoyed Marian Keyes’ The Mystery of Mercy Close.
It gets my thumbs up!