My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I was at least a third into this book and was having serious doubts about going on. I thought it was going to be my first DNF for the year. I hadn’t really gelled with the characters, and there was so much time hopping and point of view hopping is was hard to follow the narrative. But I encouraged myself to read just 100 pages more. Maybe I could break the book down into chunks and finish the book that way I reasoned. But something happened in that second day of reading; suddenly the time jumping didn’t bother me nearly as much as it did the day before. And despite the many differing points of view, the characters and the plotline seemed much clearer. Suddenly the book made sense and I realised that rather than DNFing it, I actually enjoyed it.
Its a slow burn rather than a flash of fiery heat. But its beautifully written and once you understand the main characters, its a powerful story of hope and love despite the odds. O’Farrell has written about two main characters that at first blend into the crowd, but slowly their stories come to the fore and you become more invested as a reader.
Claudette is gloriously beautiful, talented and apparently unaffected by fame. Daniel’s been married before, has two children he never sees and a family scattered over the USA. They find themselves in the back of beyond in country Ireland and the sparks between the two fly. But marriage is not just a thing of the future, both their back stories will affect their current relationship.
This is not a linear novel; it jumps around a lot so be prepared for some whiplash. This novel shows the march of time and the cost of individual choice on a joint partnership. If you’re willing to put in the commitment there will be a pay off in the end.