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Review: Finding Mr Flood BY Ciara Geraghty

Ciara Geraghty has every reason to be grateful to Dylan Moran.

After all, if she hadn't been distracted by the sight of the comedian when she was choosing a night course, she probably would have signed up for her intended choice of pottery and might have a few misshapen bowls and perhaps a vase or two for her efforts. Instead her new hobby has led to critical acclaim, propelled her up the bestseller lists and prompted comparisons with Marian Keyes.

Ms Geraghty has certainly been busy during the last few years. Finding Mr Flood is the third novel from the mum of three who is based in Co Dublin. Like her previous endeavours, debut Saving Grace and follow-up Becoming Scarlett, it's an easy-to-read novel set firmly in the ever burgeoning chick-lit category.

It may just be a reaction to the R-word, but we do seem to have an insatiable appetite for this genre, which offers the most lucrative rewards if you're successful. And while there's a lot of snobbery surrounding it, many of its proponents do actually tackle serious issues between friends, between families and, hardest of all, between ourselves, albeit within pink and bland covers.

Finding Mr Flood may be encased in navy blue, but there's no mistaking its provenance.

Its heroine, Dara Flood, always maintained that the most interesting thing in her life happened 15 days before she was born when her father went to get a packet of cigarettes and never returned.

Although Dara endures a slightly strained relationship with her mother, she never left home because of her beloved elder sister Angel, who has been diagnosed with end-stage renal failure.

Despite this, Angel embraces life in a way that the cautious Dara simply can't. But as attempts to find a suitable kidney donor fail, Angel's seemingly bountiful supply of optimism begins to fail her. Dara, devastated by the shocking changes wrought in her sister, vows to find their father to discover if he is a match.

Her journey to save Angel causes her to cross paths with a private investigator who has experienced his own share of heartache, and ultimately leads her to question her entire life.

At over 500 pages, Geraghty, a natural storyteller, certainly offers value for money with Finding Mr Flood, if you're looking for quantity, that is. But this undemanding, overwritten tale would have really benefited from some judicious editing. It's packed with clichés (would any self-respecting Parisian woman really breathlessly murmur ooh la la?), which become increasingly jarring.

Although her core fan base is bound to love this latest offering, a more sophisticated approach would have worked so much better.

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