Sunday, 9 November 2008
ANNE Dunlop is back with a blast in this gently funny story of love and marriage in the 1970s.
Beauty queen contestants Jane and Kathleen couldn't be more different. Jane's a svelte, dark Derry beauty, Kathleen a fine sonsy hunk of a farm girl.
Jane confides that her ambition in life is to marry for love, and to live happily ever after.
Be careful what you wish for. Months later she's a 17-year-old bride, married to Kathleen's brother Michael and living on a farm on the top left-hand corner of Lough Neagh, with his Bible-bashing father and spiteful mother, and raging Kathleen.
Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy, as the Bible has it.
Jane soon chickens out and makes a run for it, moving into a house in a nearby council estate.
And we're off - into a cosy world where Jane's new neighbours teach her how to live, and turn her into a hothousing mother who force-feeds her children Mozart and mackerel, while flirting with sexy Oliver, father of 10, from down the road.
Poor Michael, meanwhile, is a slave on his father's farm.
This is pure fantasy. It's set in Northern Ireland from around 1971 to 1988, but there isn't a whiff of the Troubles - just adorable mountainous farmers beating the Lambeg drum at the Glorious Twelfth marches.
It's cuddly, undemanding and fun, with a sweet humour that is very appealing.
And don't worry - Jane gets the second half of her wish too.