Thursday 23 November 2017

Review: Along came a stork by Marisa Mackle

(Poolbeg, €14.99) Paperback

MARISA Mackle is a newspaper columnist and author of nine novels including several bestsellers. Her latest is a highly entertaining, breezy but insightful exploration of motherhood through the generations of one Irish family. In particular, it's the story of the single motherhood of Diana, a 30-something gal around town type.

Diana is a presenter on a daytime TV dating show which is doing pretty well in the ratings. Then, with timing that could not be worse, she discovers to her horror that she is pregnant.

The father is former boyfriend Roger but the relationship has been over for a couple of months and he's in no hurry to come back. Her boss, who has just found out that viewership for her programme has soared, is not going to be pleased. Her slightly old fashioned parents don't seem to grasp what's going on.

So to give herself some space she bolts to her aunt's cottage in Connemara to hide away and lick her wounds. In the peaceful surroundings of this idyllic refuge she stumbles upon a dark family secret. Her personal turmoil is forgotten as she loses herself in the story of a family scandal that has been swept under the carpet.

By the end the uncovered family secret brings them all closer together and Diana's pregnancy is one which she grows to embrace. It's an absorbing story, well told, with plenty of laughs along the way -- and it's a must read for all lone parents and their families.

Marisa's own family history was the inspiration: Marisa's grandmother was a single mother who gave her child up for adoption and never told any of her family of the child's existence. Her son turned up some 60 years later.

Mairead Byrne

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