Aisling Brady is a married Mother of four, who is dreading Christmas for the second year running. There is an empty chair at the table and her heart is broken. Tension in the house is building and to make matters worse, the gaudy outdoor illuminations have blown her fuse box so they have no electricity on Christmas Eve. What else can happen? A lot, as it turns out. Their make-shift nativity scene,on their front lawn, has a new addition. One that requires nappies and bottles. But why did someone choose to leave their child on Aisling's lawn on Christmas Eve?
This is the story of a regular family, on a regular Dublin street, trying to come to terms with changes within their four walls. Aisling and her husband, Mossie, are drifting apart and as their children are growing up, they wonder if they can bear the thought of spending time together forever. A special delivery brings about change in the Brady household, but is it enough to forget the past and heal wounds that are gaping open?
Clare Dowling has written an account of family life that is real and has a warts and all feel about it. Issue such as depression, drug abuse and unplanned pregnancies are all dealt with in this novel, but in a non-judgemental way. It shows that every family has its issues and not everyone, within the family unit, will agree with how to address these issues.
A strong cast of family characters makes the story more believable and some guest appearances by Aisling's Polish neighbour, Zofia, adds some comedy to the tale. Her antics, and language faux pas, had me smiling a lot and wanting more. This is a book with a message or two. Forgiveness, understanding and adjustment being the ones that jumped out at me. I'm sure everyone can find something to take away from this story. Even if it's just the longing for a make-up artist, polish neighbour to brighten up your day!
This is Clare Dowling's tenth novel and it is perfect for fans of Sinead Moriarty and Sarah Webb.
A Special delivery is published by Headline Review
You can follow Clare on Twitter @Clare_Dowling