Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Book Review - "All She Ever Wished For" by Claudia Carroll.

I received a copy of this title, from the publishers, in return for an honest review...

Tess and Bernard are getting married and the wedding preparations are in full swing.  Choosing to have the event at Tess's family home seemed like a good idea at the time but as the date approaches, the bride-to-be encounters many obstacles, not least the fact that her family don't like Bernard and Bernard's family are not overly-keen on her.  To make matters worse, Tess has been called for jury duty and all the wedding plans are side-tracked.  

Kate and Damien King were Ireland's golden couple and held the whole country in rapture with their lavish lifestyle.  Now the tides have turned, with their bitter court battle becoming the new media folly.  Just how can a marriage go so badly wrong?  

The two women's lives come with different sets of expectations and realities, yet they both want the same thing.  A new beginning and a chance at happiness.  Courtrooms can be more than an arena for judgment...

This is Claudia Carroll's thirteenth novel and she once again captures the essence of friendship, comedy and a little romance with her signature wit and humour.  The two main characters are Tess and Kate, but these are supported by an amazing cast of memorable personalities.  Tess's fiancee, Bernard is an absolute howl, with his parents tendency to overwhelm everyone with their academic lifestyle and attitudes causing many a giggle.  Their family home is one we have spotted on every tree lined street, with overgrown garden, cranky cat and a air of disrepair despite it's affluent location.  The Prendergasts just don't care.  On the other side of the coin is Tess's family.  Salt of the earth, living in an immaculately maintained three-bed-semi, they are throwing themselves into preparing their home for the wedding day. Tess just wishes they 'got' Bernard and Bernard 'got' them.  

Kate and Damien are living the life most of us could only dream of.  A country mansion, straight out of the pages of VIP or Hello magazines, extravagant  parties, luxurious holidays and a well-connected circle of friends.  However, all this is irrelevant to  Kate.  There are some things that money can't buy.  When their marriage disintegrates, she hits Damien where it hurts hardest; landing herself in court.  
As the drama unfolds daily, the jury are thrown together and what a bunch they are.  Tess is one of the youngest, by a few decades, and the matriarchal group are like the panels of a patchwork quilt; all stitched together, despite their differences.  There are some cringe-worth moments, dodgy hypochondriac monologues and entertaining pensioner tensions.  Everytime they convene to their waiting room, the comedy balances the structure of the court system.  The jurors take their roles very seriously and the verdict lies in their hands.  Tess needs to put her wedding woes aside and make a decision that may change her own life as well as deciding the fate of Kate King. 

 This is a book that relaxes the soul and warms the heart.  At the end of a busy day there is nothing better than switching off, relaxing with a light read and escaping into a world that can do you no harm.  The humour is a constant presence throughout the novel and the interactions of the jury are just brilliant.  In contrast, the life of the Kings is drip fed and the reader builds a picture of how they ended up on either side of a Dublin Courtroom.  An idyllic holiday read, or a tonic at the end of a more demanding day.  Highly recommended contemporary fiction. 

All She Ever Wished For is published by Avon and is available in TPB in Ireland and ebook format is available worldwide via amazon link below: 

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