Foraying into Kate Thompson’s west Irish world for the second time, I was not disappointed that I had decided to delve further. The O’Hara Affair is a sequel of sorts to The Kinsella Sisters, although you do not need to have read the latter in order to understand the former, they simply feature many of the same characters.
In The O’Hara Affair we return to the pretty Irish village of Lissamore, where a film is being produced about the life of Scarlett O’Hara’s father. The protagonist of this book is Fleur O’Farrell (who had only a minor role in The Kinsella Sisters), who is conducting a steamy love affair with the film’s executive producer, Corban O’Hara, as well as finding her way in the strange new world of social networking. The Kinsellas, prominent in Thompson’s last novel, also appear, particularly Dervla who, having given up her job as an estate agent, is now struggling to care for her elderly mother-in-law, Daphne. For the most part, Rio (the second Kinsella sister) plays only a minor role in this book, although she and her son Finn do appear from time to time, as does Finn’s father Shane, who is playing the romantic lead in the film.
This is a book which attempts to have it all: drama, passion, mystery, and suspense. And, for the most part, it succeeds, although some of the supposed twists are more predictable than Thompson may have intended. I was also irked by the fact that a character was introduced in the prologue and then ignored until the final few pages, in what appeared to be merely an attempt to whet the reader’s appetite for Thompson’s next book.
It was certainly thought-provoking though, and quite uncomfortably so at times, with its messages on the dangers of online relationships and treatment of the elderly. For this reason, it would be ideal for a book club, and indeed in my copy there were questions included at the end to facilitate such discussion. Or for anyone who, like me, has fallen in love with Kate Thompson’s characters in The Kinsella Sisters, The O’Hara Affair is sure to make an enjoyable read.