Saturday 16 December 2017

Review: Popular Fiction: Every Time We Say Goodbye by Colette Caddle

Simon & Schuster,€12.99
Available withfree P&P or by calling 091 709350


Charles Dickens once advised budding novelists to make their readers laugh, make 'em cry, but most of all, to make 'em wait. And bestselling writer Colette Caddle does all three with an assured hand in her latest book, Every Time We Say Goodbye.

Little wonder it went to number two on the bestsellers' list just three days after hitting the shelves here, and it's number one this week.

UK publishers Simon and Schuster must be pleased, too, to see that the first book in their new two-novel deal with one of our top women's fiction writers (her bestsellers include Always On My Mind) is doing so well.

But then the Dubliner has form. This is her 12th novel and the very human story Colette tells over a well-honed 400 pages is full of instinct and warmth.

It has something else too -- Every Time We Say Goodbye is a page-turning thriller that leaves the reader guessing until the final pages. Boy, can Colette Caddle make us wait.

She can make us cry too, but there is little room for mawkish sentiment in central character Marianne Thomson's life.

When gardaí arrive at her door to say her 38-year-old stockbroker husband has dropped dead of a heart attack, her immediate thoughts go to her children, Kate (9) and Andrew (5).

Marianne was brought up in care and is fiercely protective of her own children. Her one hope in life was to provide a stable, happy home and she succeeded until her husband, Dominic, started to change. He became volatile, moody and occasionally violent.

It is when describing the creeping menace of domestic violence that Colette Caddle comes into her own.

Her depiction of Marianne's horrific reality is revealed in chilling snapshots. And even though those episodes seem more than one person could bear, we know that there is more.

When a text comes from her dead husband's phone, Marianne suspects something is very wrong and resolves to get to the bottom of it.

Strange as the circumstances seem, there is something very real about Marianne, her life and the people in it.

Her roguish, resourceful mother-in-law Dot and her two closest friends, Jo and Helen, who shared her experience of growing up in care, ring true.

They have real-life concerns and face real-life troubles.

However, it would be wrong to think that Every Time We Say Goodbye is depressing. It is peppered with delicious humour. There is hope too, and, of course, love. Caddle can whip up a tremendous love story.

Just don't expect it right away -- remember, this is the lady who loves to make you wait.

Clodagh Finn

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