I found this book rather confusing at first. Two people in love get engaged on the Eiffel Tower. We’re not told their names and it’s only a couple of chapters on that you deduce that A must be the best friend of X and B the son of Y. I even had trouble at first working out where the book was set: the States or Ireland? It was soon clear that the characters do live in Ireland (I was misled by references to Dublin as ‘the big city’) and I managed to sort them all out.
Cathy Kelly has assembled a large cast here, covering a wide range of problems and relationships. First the happy young lovers who start the story off. A divorced couple still on good terms; too good for the new partner of one of them. A widow who’s fallen in love again but whose partner’s ex-wife is bonkers with rage, which threatens the new relationship and the well being of her daughters. A young woman whose handsome but love rat husband has walked out, leaving her desolate and unable to see that a much nicer man is in love with her. Her sister, a single mother of a charming child yet full of bitterness and resentment. Their mother, who’s ill and needs their help. Another older woman, married to a rich, powerful and controlling man. Phew, have I missed anyone out? Oops yes, Pixie the dog who has quite an important role to play. Plus more assorted friends and relations.
Luckily, all these people are connected by either a family relationship or long friendship, so the separate stories do gell. Will everyone get sorted out by the time of the wedding ‘which started with Paris’? This is well written and entertaining romantic fiction with plenty of detail about clothes and food (one character runs a superior cake shop). Also some good rows; this is not romance which is all sweetness and light. It reminded me rather of Debbie Macomber’s books, which are also peopled by characters with problems. I preferred this one.
It Started with Paris will be published on 9th October. I read it courtesy of NetGalley.