Sunday 25 February 2018

Review: Fiction: A Message to Your Heart by Niamh Greene

Penguin Ireland,€14.99
Available with free P&P on www.kennys.ie or by calling 091 709350

First came chick lit. Now we're in the middle of mummy lit, with school runs and nappy changing replacing chardonnay and romantic shenanigans.

Women over 30 buy more new fiction than anyone. So a thousand agents right now are making a thousand pitches: "It's Bridget Jones with a tedious husband, three kids and a toyboy. Pride and Prejudice meets Grazia."

Niamh Greene is brilliant at this, with added humour. Her wicked sense of fun made her debut novel Secret Diary of a Demented Housewife a huge bestseller here and in Britain.

It revealed a thirtysomething yummy mummy who feels her identity has been usurped by her maternal one and her frustration leads to a disastrous flirtation with infidelity. It was a huge hit with stressed-out yummy mummies.

In her fifth novel, the heroine isn't married, that is if you don't count being married to her job as a literary agent. She's in a relationship with Gary who comes with the baggage of two teenagers.

Frankie's behind in her rent payments and constantly feigning indifference to Gary's refusal to acknowledge her publicly. She's an endearing heroine: gutsy and warm with pleasing imperfections.

Frankie heads off to San Francisco to seduce publishing bigshot Ian into business with her. "Easy-peasy, lemon squeezy" or so she thinks. Enter some wrong first impressions, chance encounters and lots of serendipity.

The novel gushes swiftly along towards a neat conclusion and inevitable redemption.

At one point Frankie muses that in a recession "readers are only buying books they know they'll like". Greene can be assured her readers will love her latest offering.

Lorraine Courtney

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