EXCERPT: ‘We could have gone to Bali!’ Aisling was on one of her moaning rolls as the two friends strode along Freers Beach under a milky blue sky that promised another hot day in Tasmania. ‘Why did I let Mick’s family decide how we’d spend our anniversary?’
Heather was already well versed in the circumstances that had led to the latest drama in the Fitzgerald’s lives, but Aisling went over it again just to blow off steam.
‘The indignity of it! Spending a week in the bogs of Ireland when we could be in some idyllic resort, drinking cocktails at one of those swim up bars.’ But as Aisling knew only too well, the gift from her in-laws, or outlaws as she liked to call them, was as much a present for Mick’s forthcoming fortieth as it was for their anniversary. If it had been left to her, there’d have been a big party. But no, Lilian Fitzgerald had other ideas. She’d give her son a holiday in West Cork and she’d have a few weeks with the grandchildren all to herself in Tasmania.
Aisling had all manner of fantastic ideas for surprise parties, but although loath to admit it, Mick would have hated that. So in the end, Lily Fitz got her way.
ABOUT ‘A WEEK TO REMEMBER’: Whether it was the lure of the rugged coastline or the comforting image of the house, he wasn’t sure, but he couldn’t remember the last time he’d taken a holiday. . .
With its brightly painted front door, white-sash windows and garden path sweeping down toward the sea, Lizzie O’s guesthouse promises a welcome escape from the world. Aisling and Mick Fitzgerald are travelling all the way from Tasmania to celebrate their wedding anniversary, but Aisling is burdened with a secret that could ruin their marriage. Declan Byrne, exhausted from an unhealthy routine of long hours, takeaway and too much red wine, has spontaneously taken the week off to visit the village of his childhood summers. Katie Daly returns to West Cork after an absence of 35 years to care for her ageing mother only to find she must confront her painful past. Finally, Mia Montgomery is taking this holiday without telling her husband.
Each of this group of strangers is at a crossroads. And one week in the middle of winter may change all of their lives.
MY THOUGHTS: A Week to Remember is a lovely, lovely read reminiscent of a Maeve Binchy. It was a delight to read this beautifully written story of a disparate group of people, all at a crossroads in their lives, thrown together in a guest house on the Irish coast. The subplot follows Lilian Fitzgerald as she looks after Mick and Aisling’s two children in Tasmania.
Campion writes with humour and feeling, and A Week to Remember enveloped me from the start. She describes both cultures and landscapes eloquently and accurately. I could smell the Aussie BBQ every bit as clearly as I could hear the lilting Irish voices.
There are a lot of issues dealt with in this gentle drama, both current and historic. There’s a marriage or two on the brink, burnout, infidelity, caring for an aging infirm parent, and in the past, abuse, rape, and the shunting off to a home for unwed mothers of a pregnant teenager. There are tragic pasts to overcome, and present problems to conquer.
I loved this book from start to finish and I will definitely be reading more from this author who blends the Australian and Irish essences seamlessly.
Don’t be put off by the twee cover. A Week to Remember is anything but.
‘Life (is) far too unpredictable to miss an opportunity to eat icecream on a searing hot day with someone you love.’
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THE AUTHOR: Esther Campion is from Cork, Ireland and currently lives in north-west Tasmania. She attended North Presentation Convent in Cork and has degrees from University College Cork and the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.
Esther and her Orcadian husband have lived in Ireland, Scotland, Norway and South Australia. They have a grown-up daughter in Adelaide and the two youngest at home in Tassie with an over-indulged chocolate Labrador and two horses, which Esther firmly believes are living proof that dreams really can come true.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Hachette Australia via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of A Week to Remember by Esther Campion for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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