Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Book Review - 'One Monday Morning' by Jennifer Burke.

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

Every year a group of friends meet on a hillside to remember their friend, Gerry.  His death was shocking and his loss is still felt.  Trish, Ciara and Stephen have all moved on, yet still manage to keep their own secrets close to their chests. 
Trish is now Cabin Crew with an International airline and enjoys the solitude it brings.  Ciara is working toward her Olympic dream but is sacrificing another part of her life.  Stephen is coming to terms with his recent redundancy but it has cast a new shadow between himself and his partner.  The friends have no idea they are all suffering under the weight of their secrets.  When the news breaks of an untimely death in London the threads of the secrets begin to unravel...

The blurb on the back of this title give no indication of the strong stories inside.  From the outset we are introduced to the ongoing abortion debate in Ireland, with pro-life pitted against pro-choice.  Each side has their firm beliefs and Trish is caught in the middle.  Her sister carried a baby, suffering with Edward's Syndrome, to term despite knowing he may only have lived a few hours.  The baby is in need of 24 hour care and in constant pain.  The medical expenses mean never-ending fund raising and eternal debates on the Irish constitution.  
Meanwhile, Ciara is part of another debate.  Herself and her wife seem to have differing views on the idea of motherhood.  Ciara is determined to run in Rio and is not keen to start a family, while Nikki sees no reason to wait.  The tension becomes intense when Ciara discovers text messages on Nikki's phone.
Stephen is also hiding something.  Being out of work has unleashed a darkness within his relationship. 

Contemporary Ireland is the backdrop for Jennifer Burke's third novel and its timing is perfect.  The whole country is once again embroiled in the debate surrounding abortion and the out-dated constitution that gives the State more rights over a woman's body than the women themselves.  The author does not preach or instill her own personal views, but lays out the facts and lets the reader decide what they believe is the right answer.  There are other topical subjects; gay marriage and their rights to become parents; unemployment; domestic violence; familial divisions and fractured friendships.  All of the characters have an element which could be representative of many of Ireland's younger residents.  This is, after all, a country still bound by its past governments and religious presence within its schools, but also one that is leading the way for more accepting generations.   Burke has hit the nail on the head, with perfect timing.  It is a novel of substance, written with clarity and concern.  The cover is fairly generic and the blurb very vague.  Don't be fooled by the packaging.  The contents are deeper.  This was a one-sitting read for me.  The stories are tightly linked and are completely believable.  This is a small group of friends, not on each others doorsteps but there when needed.  Ireland is moving forward and Jennifer Burke shows how the younger generation are now dealing with the shift.  A great read.  

One Monday Morning is published by Poolbeg and is available in TPB and ebook format.  You can get your copy, with Free Worldwide Postage and 15% discount, HERE.  The ebook can be ordered via amazon link below:

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