Sunday, 22 June 2008

If Not Now… by Denyse Devlin

Penguin Ireland

MARINA ffrench has resigned herself to being single, but would love to find love. She meets the ‘deeply, provocatively attractive’ Luke on holiday in Morocco, and falls like a ton of bricks.
But the problem with Irishmen is the mammy, and Luke is on holiday with his elderly mother, who seems slightly batty.
The relationship between widow Marina and Luke seems to progress, but Luke is strangely uncommitted, blowing hot and cold. Is he wildly in love? Is he only playing? Is he gay?
Marina has her own complications. An uncentred plot brings in problems to solve for family and friends, lost teenagers to be put right, stories about the past, lots of conversations about relationship.
Things go slowly with Luke and his busybody of a ma, and Carlotta, an elegant Italian who hangs around Luke with a proprietary air.
But this reader, at least, felt an urge to boot Marina, with her constant selflessness and self-questioning. She’s a born martyr.
Gradually the secrets behind Luke’s involvement with Carlotta are revealed, and Luke and Marina start to trust each other and approach the dilemmas of a shared family together.
But with multiple relationships as convoluted as the Lisbon Treaty, it’s not an easy ride.
No one reaches 40 without having plenty of baggage. Luckily, Luke’s includes a lovely villa on a lake in Italy. Unluckily, his son is engaged to Carlotta’s daughter – but falling in love with Marina’s daughter.
Devlin’s multigenerational saga isn’t one to pick up unless you’re in it for the long haul. It’s a holiday read for those long airport waits.

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