Thursday 26 April 2018

Review: Popular fiction: The Lingerie Designer by Siobhan McKenna


It is easy to see why first-time author Siobhan McKenna is the winner of TV3's 'Write A Bestseller' competition. Her stylish novel has all the ingredients of a bestseller: a great plot, endearing characters, exotic locations and plenty of twists and turns.

Poolbeg publisher Paula Campbell said The Lingerie Designer was the first manuscript she read for the competition and it set a very high standard for all the others. Perhaps it is fitting that it happened to be the first manuscript out of the hat, as the book is all about synchronicity. Helen Devine and Poppy Power have had a special bond since primary school. Their treatment at the hands of bullying classmates drew them together and left both with feelings of insecurity, which they overcame in different ways.

Helen is a high-achieving and very successful designer for Eden, a leading UK lingerie company. The job comes with a healthy salary, travel and prestige. Poppy has opted for the alternative, holistic lifestyle. As they approach their late 30s, neither has ever found a soulmate, though Poppy has a teenage daughter.

Gorgeous, sexy Helen is used to travelling business class and quaffing champagne, but Poppy decides to take her out of her comfort zone with a budget holiday in Vietnam to take stock of their lives and commune with the universe.

As they immerse themselves in the magical Halong Bay, a series of coincidences leads Helen to the handsome Jack Taylor. Could he be the one? Poppy thinks so, but tragedy strikes and it looks as if the universe is conspiring against them.

But as the tension rises to a crescendo, the women find their destiny and discover they didn't necessarily have to go all the way to Asia to find what was inside them all along.

McKenna knows her subject well, after a career in the international clothing market, which involved much travelling in the Far East, and she now works as a lecturer in stress management and meditation.

She is a cousin of famed Abbey actress Siobhan McKenna and hopes she can continue the family tradition of entertaining through her writing, which is absorbing, witty and full of colour. The mother of two landed a three-book deal with Poolbeg and I've no doubt readers will look forward to more from this new name in Irish writing.

Ann Dunne

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