Tag Archives: the kinsella sisters

Book Review: The O’Hara Affair (Kate Thompson)

4 Feb


Image: Borders

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 SistersThe O’Hara Affair is sure to make an enjoyable read.

Book Review: The Kinsella Sisters (Kate Thompson)

28 Jan

Image: dooyoo.co.uk

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.