Books: It's tenth time lucky for Sinead Moriarty
Fiction: The Secrets Sisters Keep, Sinead Moriarty, Penguin, pbk, £12.99
Rowena Walsh meets the Devlin sisters - again - in the latest novel from the prolific Sinead Moriarty
It's been 10 years since Sinead Moriarty made her best-selling debut and, in that decade, she has become one of Ireland's most prolific and best-loved writers.
She has achieved the latter accolade despite, or because of, her ability to tackle uncomfortable subjects in a characteristically warm manner - from her first tale The Baby Trail, a bittersweet comedy about a couple struggling to conceive in the hell of anorexia in Pieces of My Heart to the earth-shattering aftermath of a one-night stand for two women in This Child of Mine.
And it's paid off.
To date, all of Moriarty's books have been bestsellers. So although she's prolific - her last novel was released barely a year ago - her many fans are bound to be eagerly anticipating her latest tale.
I have read several of her books, and while Moriarty has always demonstrated her ability to weave an engaging story, in her previous novel, Mad About You, she showed that she wasn't afraid to address darker topics. She skillfully captured the growing paranoia of a wife who no longer believed that she could trust her husband, and didn't shy away from the sometimes unpalatable truth that marriage might not always be forever.
So my expectations were high for her tenth tale, The Secrets Sisters Keep.
Once I began reading, I realised that Moriarity had gone back to more familiar surroudings.
The Secrets Sisters Keep is a sequel of sorts to her seventh novel Me and My Sisters, which had introduced the Devlin siblings, three women who had very different ideas when it came to work and motherhood.
Julie was a frazzled stay-at-home mother who was desperately trying to juggle triplets, a toddler and an increasingly distracted husband. Louise, a former London high-flier, had to come to terms with unexpected motherhood, while former model Sophie seemed to have it all - with a designer lifestyle, rich husband and sweet little girl - until her life was turned upside down.
When we rejoin the Devlin sisters, all has changed and they are struggling to cope with the demands of their new lives.
Julie's husband received a substantial inheritance from his aunt, but she feels dangerously lonely in her seemingly improved situation. Louise may have left the bright lights of London but she is still trying to control everything in her life. Sophie is still hoping for love, but is thrown by her daughter's hero-worship of her ex-husband's new, young squeeze. If only they could confide.
Moriarty's latest tale is as engaging as her myriad of fans could hope for.
Her characters have retained their integrity since our first encounter, their dilemmas are all so realistic and while some of their conversations are flat, their personalities certainly fizzle.
Although it didn't keep me up at night, this is an enjoyable distraction for the long summer evenings.