There’s something about books about Ireland (and, for that matter, books with Irish authors, or even sometimes just a single Irish character). I can’t put my finger on quite what it is, but an ‘Irish’ book will never fail to leave me smiling.
The Kinsella Sisters is no exception. Written by Kate Thompson (and read by me only because it was in the Twelve Days of Kindle sale over Christmas), it is set in the village of Lissamore, on the west coast of Ireland. This is the kind of village which everyone wants to live in, a picturesque little place where everyone knows one another. And of course, as is natural in such a village (and least in a good book), there are secrets just dying to come out. The central characters are the eponymous Kinsella sisters, estranged for years, but thrown back together by the death of their father. Rio is a faintly eccentric single mother whose son Finn is about to fly the nest, while Dervla is the more practical one, a successful estate agent who left her sleepy village home years ago for the bright lights of the city.
It looks like a recipe for conflict, but in fact there is surprisingly little, most of the problems seeming to have occurred in the distant past before the story begins. Instead, the plot focuses on the interactions of the sisters with millionaire Adair Bolger, his pretty daughter Isabella, and Rio’s ex-lover, dashing Hollywood wannabe (and poet) Shane Byrne. It is, for the most part, hardly what you would call plot-driven, but nor does it suffer from this thanks to the strength of the characters created, some of whom I fell in love with, and others who I loved to hate. There are also some interesting twists, although some of the secrets are revealed a little too quickly and easily for my liking, in particular the ‘family secret’ mentioned on the cover, which actually plays far less of a role than you might be tempted to think.
Aside from this I had only two real complaints about this story. The first was the dialogue, which was a little wooden at time, with certain words (‘gal’ in particular) being overused. I was also disappointed by the ending, as The Kinsella Sisters drifts to a rather unsatisfactory conclusion, leaving many loose ends untied. This may be a ploy to allow Thompson to write more books about Lissamore (which she has, two of them), but for me it detracted from what was otherwise a thoroughly enjoyable read.