Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Irish Girls About Town Anthology

New York Times bestselling authors Maeve Binchy and Marian Keyes top an impressive roster of the Emerald Isle's most popular women writers and prove that when it comes to spinning a good yarn, the Irish are the best in the business. Showcasing dazzling wit and remarkable insight in short stories that run the gamut from provocative to poignant, these Irish women will tug at your heartstrings and have you crying with laughter in no time. In these stories, and throughout this fabulous collection, Ireland's finest women authors celebrate the joys and perils of love, the adventure and constancy of female friendships, and their own irresistible band of Irish charm.

I originally picked this book up from the library as part of my quest to read everything that has been published in book form by Marian Keyes. Imagine my disappointment when I open the book to read the Marian Keyes contribution, only to find that it is a story that I have already read in one of the two short story collections I have read not too long ago!

Having said that there were stories from 15 other Irish authors including Maeve Binchy, who I last read about 15 years ago if not longer, and Cathy Kelly, who I have never read but I have heard good things about! In fact, in reading this book, which features 14 new to me authors, I have upped my total number of new authors to me so far this year to 21 - which is more than the number of books I have read!

Interestingly enough, quite a few of the stories featured older characters - middle aged women

Here's a brief glimpse of the stories in the anthology:

Soulmates by Marian Keyes - Fun story about a super couple who do everything with style, much to their friends amazement, or perhaps it should be called jealousy!

Destress by Joan O'Neill - When Alex is expecting a marriage proposal, what she gets a break-up. Suddenly single she takes up exercise and finds that maybe she didn't really need that marriage proposal after all.

The Twenty-Eighth Day by Catherine Barry - PMS gone crazy!

Thelma, Louise and the Lurve Gods by Cathy Kelly - Another fun story, this time about two girls who decide to do a driving tour across America, only to find that they have to share their trip with two guys.

Your Place or Mine? by Gemma O'Connor - An Irish family by a French cottage. Luckily they find some friendly locals willing to maintain it while they are away...or is it!

A Good Catch by Mary Ryan- A kind of strange story about an older woman who moves into a flat, and befriends the girl across the way, only to be caught up in a scandal.

About That Night by Sarah Webb - I liked this one for the most part, although I hated the best friend! Fortunately, I think I was supposed to. A group of friends go to Cowes to go to their mate's society wedding. One of them has a secret though. The question is can her friend keep it to herself?

The Cup Runneth Over by Julie Parsons - an attractive middle aged woman sets her sights on a married man. The main character in this one was a bit of a bunny boiler!

Carissima by Maeve Binchy - a friend tries to convince Nora that her family is using her. Quite a nice story really, about the value of strong friendships.

The Ring Cycle by Martina Devlin - How does a divorced woman finally rid herself of her wedding ring? Especially one that doesn't seem to want to go away!

The Unlovable Woman by Annie Sparrow - A lonely and little bit past her prime woman meets a clairvoyant who tries to help her find love. The question is, 'Will she recognise it when she knocks on the door?'

Moving by Colette Caddle - After many years of living in London Sara, a somewhat bored housewife, and her family are returning to Ireland. She is dreading being inundated with family, and also with the prospect of running into her ex again.

Playing Games by Catherine Dunne - This story was well written, but pretty gloomy in its outlook. Norah has been visiting her aunt regularly for many years, and playing her role in the many games of manipulation, and guilt. Suddenly though, she finds out that she doesn't actually know all the games.

Girls Weekend by Marisa Mackle - Emma's partner is a bit of a lad about town - going off for weekends with the boys etc etc. What happens when it is her turn?

The Union Man by Tina Reilly - My goodness, if I was married to this bloke I would have kicked him to the curve many years ago! Peter is a man who promises much, but delivers little. What does his wife have to do to get some action anytime before the tomorrow that never actually comes?

An Independent Woman by Morag Prunty - Bridie takes pride in having maintained herself quite nicely, but she's been lonely for quite a long time, especially seeing as she seems to be losing touch with her daughter as well. When she answers a lonely hearts column she meets someone very different than she expected. Bridie to me was a very harsh character - not one that I found easy to like at all!

In summary, a few good short stories, a few not so good. If I had of known that I had already read the Keyes contribution I probably wouldn't have read it at all, but once I had it here, I figured it wouldn't hurt to read it!

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