Pink and fluffy – but this chicklit novel also has a dark side
One Wish Maria Duffy Hachette Books Ireland; tpbk, £12.99, 300 pages
Homelessness. Infertility. Eating disorders. The struggles of single parenthood. Hardly the pink, fluffy stuffing of your average chicklit plot, is it?
But in Maria Duffy's hands, these themes are explored without ever collapsing into the murky blackness of depression. She has written a novel that is funny and entertaining, despite its subject matter.
Becky is a successful banker, 30 years old and a single mother. She fled her own family in England years ago to go it alone, and has done so very successfully in Dublin.
Having herself had a childhood blighted by both alcoholism and violence, Becky's focus is on her own daughter's security and her happiness.
At the age of four, Becky's precocious little girl, Lilly, begins to ask questions about her father. Since Lilly is the result of a one-night stand with a bon viveur from the Celtic Tiger days (remember them?), Becky is reluctant to seek him out.
Eventually, though, the pressure to do so becomes too much, and she decides to go looking for Dennis Prendergast.
But Dennis now lives a very different life, so Becky is in for a real shock.
Meanwhile, her two close friends are not exactly tiptoeing through the tulips, either.
One develops a curious penchant for laxatives, in an attempt to lose the weight necessary for her modelling work.
The other friend, meanwhile, is battling with early menopause symptoms after a lifetime of unsuccessful attempts to get pregnant.
It all sounds a bit grim, doesn't it? But it's not – it's an engaging and light-hearted look at the daily lives, laughs, and loves of three fairly ordinary women.
And at the same time, we also get a close look at the real human cost of the post-Tiger years.
In One Wish's acknowledgments, Duffy reminds her readers that just three years ago, she was an unpublished writer. This novel is her fourth, following on three huge successes.
She has managed to leap from obscurity to bestselling author in a very short space of time. And bear in mind, she's nothing if not prolific.
I'd venture a guess that she's hit the jackpot yet again with One Wish. Her fans, and chicklit fans in general, will love it.
Available with free P&P on www. kennys.ie or by calling 091 709 350