Sunday 10 December 2017

Holiday tale is perfect for taking to the beach

Fans should enjoy this fourth book from author Pauline Lawless as she revisits some of the themes of her previous bestsellers.

The Birthday Girls is about four Irish women who met on their very first day in school. They have been friends ever since, celebrating each significant birthday together, although three of them have made their lives in America.

As they approach their 39th birthday, Angel, now a famous Hollywood actress, announces that this is the last birthday she will celebrate. She believes admitting to being 40 is social and professional suicide. So the friends agree to spend their 39th birthday in Florida at the palatial home of Lexi, who is now a wealthy artist.

Mel arrives from New York where she is a high-flying partner in a law firm. Lastly, stay-at-home mum-of-five Brenda is thrilled when Lexi sends her a ticket to Florida for her first ever foreign holiday.

With her brood now grown and away working or at college, Brenda realises her marriage is in trouble. Leaving recession-hit Ireland in winter, Brenda finds the lavish, Floridian lifestyle almost irresistible, the shopping sprees, the round of parties, not to mention Troy, the stunning, rich and single next-door neighbour.

Despite a seemingly endless array of eligible and interested men, Mel falls for a drifter and Angel is knocking back the wine until it is clear to all that she needs help. The holiday ends on a sour note.

Lawless then takes her protagonists and the reader on a rollercoaster of emotions as she follows the friends' progress up to their 40th birthdays, with happiness and second chances for some, tragedy for others, making The Birthday Girls a perfect book for the beach in an Irish heatwave.

Ann Dunne

Irish Independent

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