Saturday 18 November 2017

Review: Popular Fiction: A Year Like No OTher by Pauline Lawless

Poolbeg, €13.99

After her successful novels, Because We're Worth it and If The Shoe Fits, Pauline Lawless's latest book is about a life-changing year for four very different women.

Ashling is thrilled when her banker husband is posted to Paris for a project. A year in France is a dream come true and she hopes that it will change her workaholic husband, who has so little time for their family.

Dowdy, upper-class snob Felicity is terrified at the prospect of leaving London when her husband is chosen for the project.

Taylor is a high-maintenance New York socialite. Her wealthy husband is hoping the city of romance will rekindle their loveless marriage.

From Munich comes Jazz, a successful banker in her own right, but her body clock is ticking.

There are shopping sprees, chic makeovers and parties as the designer-clad women rub shoulders with VIPs, ambassadors and even the French president.

Enough champagne is quaffed over the year to turn them all into alcoholics, but only Taylor succumbs. Already addicted to prescription drugs, she goes into a downward spiral.

The other wives reinvent themselves, taking courses in wine appreciation and Cordon Bleu. Jazz finds the man she once loved and lost, but he is married.

By the end of the year, the women have blossomed, apart from the obnoxious Taylor, who gets her comeuppance and there is the patter of little feet for some and surprise wedding bells for Jazz.

Recession-hit readers may be irked at the profligate spending by bankers' wives, especially Taylor, who thinks nothing of dropping a cool €10,000 on a morning's shopping. But Lawless fans will enjoy the light-hearted escapism that A Year Like No Other provides.

Ann Dunne

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