“No Way To Say Goodbye” by Anna McPartlin

This is the second Anna McPartlin book I’ve read, and follows the lives of five (the blurb will tell you five, but it’s mostly four) people in the small town of Kenmare in Ireland. Despite the pastel cover with added glitter obviously aimed at the chick-lit market, this book is a whole flight of steps up from the romantic comedy of a chick-lit story. McPartlin creates real people with real lives, and weaves their stories together effortlessly but without any sense of predictability or inevitability.

Within a couple of chapters you feel as if you know all the characters as friends, and want to be involved in their stories. I love that their histories are as much a part of the novel as their present day story line is, and all are brought together gradually throughout the book. But it’s not only the main characters who play their part in this book, the town of Kenmare and all the smaller characters who make up the community give a real sense of place to the story.

There is laughter, sorrow, pain, anguish and warmth expressed throughout the book – I even had to hold back the tears at one point. McPartlin has a refreshing way of writing real dialogue, so you get the fun, the sarcasm, the irony and the anguish in the words her characters say, and when that’s backed up with the description of the emotions of them, it gives you very real people who you come to care about.

My only grumble would be that Adam really doesn’t get enough page time to be included in the blurb as one of five main characters, and is actually underdeveloped as a character. I wanted to know more about him, and why he made the choices he did that had a such a far reaching consequences.

Definitely recommended to chick-lit fans, but don’t be fooled by the cover, this is a book that would appeal to others too, as it’s about hope and acceptance, and moving on with your life. And funny, don’t forget it’s funny.

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