Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Things We Never Say - Sheila O'Flanagan

Abbey Anderson is the last person to go looking for change. Yes it's tough that she barely sees her mother these days - but in San Francisco she has great friends, a steady relationship and a job she enjoys. If she has regrets, she's dealing with them.

When Abbey is contacted out of the blue by Irish lawyer Ryan Gilligan she learns in an instant everything she believed about her roots is a lie. She must travel to Dublin to find out more - but she's scarcely off the plane when she's plunged into a new crisis. One that will change everything not just for Abbey but for the family in Ireland who had no idea that she even existed.

Now Abbey has to make a choice that will affect everyone she knows. How can she be sure she makes the right one? Who can she trust to advise her? And can life ever be quite the same again.?

Published by: Headline Review - Fiction
Year: 2013 Hardback
Pages: 504
ISBN: 978-0-7553-7843-2

How would you feel if you were suddenly contacted out of the blue and informed that you have inherited a house in Ireland.   Well this is what happened to Abbey Anderson.  Her mother was adopted as a baby and never knew her birth parents.  All these years later Abbey's natural grandfather dies and much to the shock of his children he leaves the house and contents to his illegitimate daughter. He never got over the guilt that he got a young Irish catholic girl pregnant at the age of sixteen and she was sent to a Magdalene laundry. Having read in the newspapers and seen the news reports on the laundries his guilt surfaces once more. With this in mind he makes changes to his will that will change Abbey and her mother's lives forever but at the same time causing a family rift between his other children who knew nothing of the existence of an older sister.   The family contest the will and try and use emotional blackmail to get Abbey and her mother to sign everything over to them.  To make things even harder Abbey's mother lives in a convent and has not seen the outside world for many years and would not see the necessity of having such a large amount of money.

Although much has been written about the Magdalene Laundries it is not referred to in this novel apart from the fact that this is where Abbey's mother is born.  The novel relates more to the internal wranglings of a family in turmoil.  They had no idea of an older sibling but why would they this had all happened before their parents were married.  The fact that their father had harbored such guilt at abandoning his sixteen year old sweetheart was totally unknown to them or even their mother.  With the help of Ryan Gilligan, an Irish Lawyer, Abbey and her mother have big decisions to make as to whether they accept the terms of her late fathers will or whether they do as the family has requested and sign everything over to them.  

I did think at first this was going to be a big romantic story with Abbey and Ryan eventually getting together, and whether that is the case of not I shall not reveal here. But it definitely showed just how families can tear each other a part when there is property and money involved.  

Although this was the first Sheila O'Flanagan novel I have read I thoroughly enjoyed it and found I couldn't put it down staying up reading to the wee small hours to finish another chapter, not a good thing when you get up as early as I do.  

This is my fourth book from my 'Yet to be read' shelf challenge, and It's definitely one I would recommend you to read, especially if you are off on your travels, it would make for a great traveling companion read. 


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