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PS, I Love You by Cecelia Ahern
Published by Harper Collins 2004

Cecelia Ahern’s first novel was launched with a maximum of hype and publicity. If one believes the publicity, she is the next Shakespeare – a suggestion which does no favours for Ms Ahern. Readers’ expectations are raised to expect a profound work of literature and instead they get a nice holiday read.

The heroine of the book is Holly, a thirty year old Dublin woman whose husband died of cancer and who is trying to get on with her life as a young widow. The idea is brilliant – her husband leaves her a series of challenges to be carried out each month during the year following his death. However, the author’s writing skills do not live up to the good idea. It is clichéd and predictable with more than a suggestion of the ‘Dort’ accent and lifestyle, which revolves round trendy night clubs and bars and getting stupidly and embarrassingly drunk.

The characters are slightly drawn and are the stock figures of romance – disapproving in-laws, unsympathetic and tear-away siblings and supportive but puzzled parents – who all behave predictably. The theme of the book is, I think, meant to be how Holly comes to terms with the devastation of losing her husband - with his help. Bereavement and loss are very weighty subjects for a young inexperienced author to tackle effectively. She does not succeed in doing justice to her chosen theme and fails to convey any depth of feelings or emotion in her main character.

That said, this is an easy read with an in-built feel-good factor and is ideal for whiling away the hours on the beach.

Reviewed by a Clare County Library Staff member.