Sunday, 22 June 2008

Two Days in Biarritz by Michelle Jackson

MOUSY mouse Annabel was always the follower, and glamorous Kate the leader and the one who had the fun, in Michelle Jackson’s first book.
When Annabel gets langered (in both senses) on a holiday in Biarritz and tells Kate about her long-ago one-night stand with Kate’s dad, that’s the end of that friendship.
The two friends part, and the action strays back and forth through their lives, tracking the events from the day they met.
Predictably, Annabel has married a controlling man who suits his own sweet self, while Kate flitted from one man to another and lived from her art.
But now that they’ve separated, both women have to find their real selves. For Annabel, it’s the career she always wanted. This time, she’s determined, her husband can’t put his foot down.
For Kate, life presents immediate and desperate horror: her mother is dying of cancer and her own marriage is disintegrating. There’s one upside, though - an old love is back in the offing.
This is art teacher Jackson’s debut novel, and her inexperience shows in the often awkward writing.
But it is a heartwarming story of women who find their own strength, and readers like it enough to have it selling well all over Ireland.
Colin, Annabel’s husband, is a satisfyingly creepy chicklit villain. He’s bone selfish, nagging his son into a near-breakdown and trying to edit him to be a copy of Dad.
But we know that there’s a happy ending waiting out there. Domestic bliss and career success are sure to be on the cards for our girls.
There are sexy surfers and alcohol-rich seductions, misunderstandings and huffs and reconciliations over wine or coffee.
There’s even a climactic childbirth scene to close the action. Typical Poolbeg.

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