JB San Antonio, TX
Does not make demands on the reader
The Disenchanted Widow is a good book for those weekends when you just cannot face another demand being made of you and only want someone "to tell you a story." It touches on the terrorism that took place in Northern Ireland and England in the 1980s because it is that terrorism that puts the plop into action. While some of those scenes are horrifying, they are a small portion of the book. The majority of the story is clever and humorous. If you enjoy books that really leave an impact and make you think, this book is probably too light a read. If you like to see flawed characters work through the situations that come their way and, in some cases, get what is coming to them, then you will enjoy this book.
Rebecca J. (Knoxville, TN)
The Disenchanted Widow
I was a bit put off when I got the book and it said "stunning sequel to The Misremembered Man"! Fortunately, they weren't that connected because I didn't feel as if I was missing any essential information. The story involved a woman, Bessie, and her son, Herkie (short for Hercules!) who are on the run from Belfast and the Irish Republican Army who mistakenly thinks the pair is hiding some of the IRA's stolen money. The setting is 1981 and feelings are high and bombs are going off.
It took me a while to realize that a major reason I enjoyed this book so much was because of the similarities with the 44 Scotland Street books by Alexander McCall Smith. The characters were funny and weird and the relationships very real. The book often made me laugh out loud and I really cared about the characters. I think I'll go back and read the first book in the series.
Renee P. (Sanford, FL)
Breathless in Ireland
The first couple of pages took some getting used to, it is written in a rather frenetic fashion that sort of left me breathless at times, and I did not think I was going to like it. But for this book, once I got a little further into it, in this time period of early 1980s Belfast, Ireland, with all its political uncertainty varied with the outlying country settings of arcane silliness, that frantic feeling that one must gulp down the words as quickly as possible method of getting the plot lines out and jumping seemed an appropriate fit. Indeed, I read this book quickly in just 3 days.
By the end I was rather sad to leave the trials and tribulations of the quasi-heroine of this story.
Linda M. (Windsor, CA)
This book was a fast read but I didn't find it compelling. The characters weren't very likable nor memorable. The story kept my attention but I wouldn't have read it all the way through were it not for this review. I simply didn't care enough about the characters to wonder where the story would end up. The dialogue is difficult to read at first since it uses an Irish vernacular - I got used to it as the book went on but still found it off-putting. I understand why it was used - to show that some of the characters weren't "posh" (to use Bessie's words), but I still found myself slowed down trying to interpret some of the words. Overall I really didn't enjoy the book; I found the ending to be tied up very conveniently although the author had set everything up throughout the book.
Sue J. (Wauwatosa, WI)
Bessie Lawless, recently widowed and her son, Herkie leave Belfast quickly to escape an IRA goon known as The Dentist. Bessie's late husband, an abusive alcoholic was mixed up with the IRA and stole money from The Dentist. On her way to her sister's house, unexpected car troubles land her in the village of Tailorstown. The local mechanic rents her his aunt's house and she gets a job cooking for the local priest. She becomes involved with some of the locals, including Lorcan Strong who also is trying to avoid The Dentist. The ending was clever and unexpected. My only criticism is the author in my opinion overused the local dialect a wee bit.
Helen S. (Sun City West, AZ)
In the Driver's Seat at Last
From the moment I first met Bessie in The Disenchanted Widow, I was cheering for her! In fact, I couldn't put the book down until I found out if she could and would make a new life for herself and her son, little Herkie after she left Belfast. The author created several memorable characters among the Tailorstown locals, and their behavior even had me laughing out loud at times. I highly recommend this book with its optimistic tone suggesting that the future will be better than the past when you have faith in your dreams and the courage to overcome many harsh obstacles along the way.
Portia A. (Mount Laurel, NJ)
It's Ireland in the midst of the troubles. Bessie's husband is dead and the IRA is after her. She and her young son run off to hide and end up in a small village..interested? The story is a mixture of hope and fear and I read it in 2 days because I had to find out how it ended.