Thursday, July 21, 2011

Review: "The Promise of Happiness" by Erin Kaye

After choosing an unconventional way to conceive her child, Louise McNeill returns home with her 3-year-old son to where her parents and her two grown sisters live, hoping for their support as she starts over. Not quite over her divorce, Louise craves both healing and sanctuary.

Louise’s older sister Joanne has it all on the outside- three beautiful daughters and a husband who provides for them while Joanne works part-time. However as Louise spends more time with her sister she sees the cracks beneath the facade, and she sees that Joanne is less happy than she portrays on the outside. As Joanne’s “perfect” marriage crumbles before her eyes, it will be up to her sisters to help her keep her head high.

Louise’s younger sister, Sian, has a wonderful fiance, Andy, and a quest to save the world with one environmentally friendly action at a time. Sian makes no secret of the fact that she doesn’t desire to have any children because she would be contributing to the overpopulation of the world, but when Andy expresses his desire for a baby of his own, is Sian willing to give him up to stick with her beliefs? Or is there something more to Sian’s desire to remain childless than first appears?

As the three sisters struggle with their separate dilemmas they will be reminded of the bonds of family, and hopefully they can come together to create their own happy endings.

Erin Kaye transports her readers to the idyllic Irish town of Ballyfergus with The Promise of Happiness. I am a fan of all things Irish and I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to get in a little armchair travelling while the story of the McNeill sisters unfolded. The three sisters were at the heart of the story and I was able to relate to them all in some way, making the plot that much more enjoyable. I related to Joanne the most, as she navigated the waters of parenting three young children with attitudes and personalities all their own. Joanne was a tough nut to crack- at the beginning she comes off as being judgmental and not an incredibly sympathetic character, but as the plot continues we begin to see the pressures that Joanne is under and we start to understand why she feels the need to keep up the tough exterior at all times.

Well-written and with just enough dramatic suspense to keep the reader wanting more, The Promise of Happiness is an engrossing read perfect for sisters or for those who enjoy their women’s fiction with a helping of drama. Thank-you to HarperCollins UK for providing me with this review copy.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Challenges: 2011 100+ Reading Challenge

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