Open Cathy Kelly's newest novel and you enter a world full of
characters you would like living in your neighborhood. They
instantly warm the atmosphere around you with fresh cooking aromas,
English gardens and pets so adorable you'll ache to cuddle them.
Curling up with WHAT SHE WANTS is an ideal way to pass the lazy
days of summer. It's a great feel-good book.
Hope Parker has a gorgeous husband, Matt, and two children whom she
yearns to spend more time with. But when Matt unilaterally makes
the decision to uproot his family and transplant them to Redlion in
County Kerry, Hope balks at the idea. He argues that he needs the
freedom and atmosphere to write the great novel that is bottled up
inside him. Always compliant, Hope bites her lip, smiles and
agrees. Writer's block isn't the only problem that faces the couple
Hope's sister Sam lives the life of the high-powered businesswoman
in London, pushing herself through a daily grind that constantly
assaults her physical and mental well-being. It takes a medical
scare and a trip to Redlion to make her step back and see herself
as those around her do. A surprising change comes into her attitude
and, ultimately, her life. What had at first seemed a pesky new
neighbor blossoms into an enchanting new male friend. Their verbal
sparring lessens, but there are still rocky roads to travel.
Meanwhile, Nicole --- young, beautiful and talented --- has hopes
of becoming the newest pop star. Darius, Sam's business colleague,
discovers Nicole at a karaoke bar one night and falls hopelessly in
love with her and her husky voice. Nicole, feeling her usual
responsibility for her mum and little sis, wrestles with her
conscience over her newfound love and freedom. She wants to share
any success with all of them.
Widow Virginia Connell, a year out from losing her beloved husband
Bill, picks up stakes and moves to Redlion, her goals manifold. She
wants to cherish his memory, but without painful everyday
reminders. And her three grown children and their families worry
about her too much. Being a greater distance away, she hopes, will
give her the breathing --- and grieving --- room she longs for.
Then along comes Kevin, a Redlion widower, and he and Virginia
strike up a friendship. The awkwardness of seeing a member of the
opposite sex is quickly apparent to both of them after lengthy,
happy marriages. Settling into a rhythm with each other proves
Mary Kate, founder of the Redlion Macramé Club --- a
euphemistically named group organized as an excuse for the ladies
to get together and indulge in cocktails and frank talk --- is the
voice of reason, dishing out sage advice along with her wild
martinis. She is the glue when their lives fall apart.
Cathy Kelly has a Maeve Binchy style about her. There is something
so wholesome about WHAT SHE WANTS, yet primly erotic, that it's
seductive. Don't try to put it down. Hope, Sam, Virginia, Nicole
and the Redlion community will beckon from the pages, drawing you
deep into their lives, their problems and their joys.
Reviewed by Kate Ayers on January 24, 2011
What She Wants