Friday, October 12, 2012

Book review: Breakfast at Darcy's - by Ali McNamara

How would you like living on a small uninhabited isle in the Atlantic Ocean, miles away from the coast of Ireland and light years away from chaos and traffic? honestly? I’d love that, right now: it would be the perfect place for writing a novel and reading, with no stress whatsoever and only the sound of the waves lapping the shore and the wind whistling in your ears. so, if that’s how you feel too, read on to find out more about this book.

It was a rainy day when I walked into the bookshop and I immediately felt better – the lovely smell of printed paper is better than caffeine to lift my spirits! And as I browsed the shelves, the cover of the Italian version of the book almost sparkled in the distance, begging me to pick it up. I noticed the title and I thought: “Cool, this reminds me of breakfast at Tiffany’s!” – did I mention I love that movie?? – and I wondered if Darcy was actually Bridget Jones’s Mr. Mark Darcy – I really like Colin Firth! But when I read the blurb I was pleasantly surprised, because Darcy is actually a girl, who has to move from London to Glentara (Tara), a small Irish isle and live there for a year, as stated in her aunt’s last will. The two words Irish and isle were enough to convince me that I had to buy the book – did I mention my love for Ireland? Hmm… I think I did, didn’t I? – and as I started reading it I thought: wouldn’t it be awesome if the isle of Tara really existed? And if people could actually move there and be part of the small local community? That’s exactly how I felt while I was reading this book; I often tend to get very much involved with a main character’s life and, as I was reading Darcy’s daily events on Tara, I frequently found myself wishing it was all real, and I could almost feel the strong, cold wind blow in my face and ruffle my hair.

I have to say it: Ali McNamara knows how to describe a place in a way that you feel you’re actually there; and the characters do come alive in the pages, they almost jump out of the book and come face to face with you. I could very well imagine Darcy’s best friend, Roxie, striding around the isle in her high heels and fancy clothes, or Dermot the builder, with his rough attitude and handsome looks, or even old Eamon, the “guardian” of the isle, who plays an important part in Darcy’s life on Tara.

So, just to give you an idea of what the book is about and why you should read it: Darcy is the main character, as you may have guessed, and she is a young woman who lives in London and works in a magazine, although she’s not particularly happy there. When her beloved aunt Molly dies, Darcy finds out she has left basically everything to her, but she will only be able to inherit if she can manage to live on the isle of Glentara for a year, and start a new community of people there too. Leaving London and moving to an isle in the Atlantic Ocean doesn’t seem like a good idea to her at first, no matter how much money she will get if she does, but when the apartment she shares with Roxie is badly damaged and she’s forced to move in with a colleague, she decides she will at least give it a try.

Among the first people to move on the island with her are Niall, the shy attorney who’s taking care of her aunt’s last will, her inseparable, and a bit crazy, friend Roxie, good-looking Conor, a local Irish guy with a mysterious past and Dermot, the contractor who’ll take care of building cottages and equipping the barren isle with modern amenities.

As modern life mixes with celtic legends and Darcy starts settling in, the bolted safe in her heart starts to open and all of her childhood memories, which she had safely stored in there, will slowly crawl back and help her understand who she really is.

I obviously won’t tell you what happens while she’s living on Tara, as I don’t want to spoil all the fun, but get ready for some funny and romantic moments, that will keep you glued to the pages.

And if once you’ve reached the last page you’ll start looking for Tara on google maps and in your old school atlas, wishing with all your heart that you’ll be able to locate it somewhere, well, don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Have you read Breakfast At Darcy's already? Leave a comment and let me know what you thought of it. 

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