What drives a well-heeled, middle-class woman to a criminal act or how do you tell an eight-year old that his mother is dying? These are just two of the questions addressed in Caroline Finnerty's third novel.
Published on September 1 by Ward River Press - Poolbeg's new imprint which aims to bring a more sophisticated level of literature to readers than the usual romantic fiction - Finnerty's new novel is a perfect fit. Ward River's authors include Helen Moorhouse and Sophia Hillian and other writers who deal with wider issues than the standard chicklit fare.
Fans of Jodi Picoult's writing which provokes a "what would you do?" response will find a resonance in Finnerty's issues and moral dilemmas.
Glamorous TV presenter Ella Wilde is a household name in Ireland. She earns a six-figure sum exposing corruption in high places on her popular news programme. Ella seems to have it all, living with devoted husband Dan and three children in a restored Martello Tower, run like clockwork by Mrs Frawley, her housekeeper.
But Ella is not coping well since the birth of her last baby. When she is caught shoplifting an expensive bracelet, the repercussions are devastating. With a court case pending, she loses her job. Dan grows cold and distant, total strangers harangue her and she endures accusing stares of other mums at the school gates. Her eldest daughter suffers the consequences. Shunned by school pals, she hates her mum. Even Mrs Frawley leaves.
She turns to old friend Conor for support. Recently widowed, Conor is drowning in a sea of sorrow and bills. His dream of quitting his job and opening a bookshop has become a nightmare since the recession. Then Jack, a small boy from a nearby disadvantaged area begins coming to his otherwise empty shop. They develop an innocent friendship, viewed with suspicion by everyone else but actually beneficial to Conor and Jack.
The boy's mother is dying and she doesn't want his feckless father to have custody of him. Rachel, the social worker assigned to the case, becomes involved in all their lives.
As their stories overlap, the characters must deal with what life throws at them. Finnerty deftly pulls it all together with sensitivity, drawing the reader along with the protagonists as they develop and find redemption. Into the Night Sky is engaging from the get-go and Finnerty keeps up the pace, which along with her considerable storytelling talents, make it impossible to put down.
Into the Night Sky
Ward River Press, tpbk, €16.99
Available with free P&P on www.kennys.ie or by calling 091 709350