Friday 24 November 2017

Review: Fiction: A Very Accidental Love Story by Claudia Carroll

Avon Books, €12.99, tpbk, 432 pages
Available with free P&P on www.kennys.ie or by calling 091 709350

Eloise Elliott is the power-heeled editor of The Daily Post, a lightly disguised version of The Irish Times. The fictional newspaper is even located on Tara Street.

This devil wears Reiss and she has stringent expectations of her subordinates who must cancel their personal lives.

The book opens with Eloise celebrating her 30th birthday all on her lonesome, with no family, no friends and crucially, since this is chick lit, no man. Fast forward three years and Eloise has opted to have a baby using a sperm donor.

She is now mother to Lily, an adorable three-year-old with strawberry-blonde ringlets.

Lily has started asking questions about her dad so Eloise decides to put her journalistic talents to use and track him down.

Lily's father turns out to be a criminal, serving a two-year sentence.

The pair strike up a highly unlikely friendship that might prove the redemption of the pair of them, as Eloise sets about moulding Jake into a desirable father for little Lily.

There's always a danger in being transformed into someone else's toy but Carroll's novel is primarily a romance, so it's useless to expect it to bear too much reality.

Jake is more than willing to play Eliza Doolittle, in fact Pygmalion is one of his favourite plays.

"He and Eliza Doolittle both despised where they'd come from and didn't want to get sucked back. They both wanted more out of life, without being dragged back into the past."

All Carroll's trademarks are to be found here: her sharp turn of phrase, the skill with which she teeters on the brink of sentimentality and the fairytale ending.

The Fair City actress turned author also gives us state-of-the-nation fiction, dramatising concerns from redundancies to Downton Abbey, the forthcoming US presidential elections to eye-gaze dating (It is like speed dating but you simply stare at the person to gauge the chemistry).

It is total froth but Carroll's comic touch and empathy win through.

Lorraine Courtney

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