Sunday, 17 March 2013

Review of Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell

Instructions for a Heatwave is an outstanding novel by award winning author Maggie O'Farrell.

It is the summer of 1976, the year of the drought and heatwave in England. For Gretta Riordan, the day begins the same as any other when she bakes bread and her retired husband leaves the house to buy the newspaper. However, that is where normailty ends, for Robert doesn't return from his visit to the local shop. It is a mystery, like he has vanished into thin air. In her desperation to find out where he is, Gretta tries to get into contact with her three grown up and very different children.

Siblings Monica, Michael-Francis and Aoife all live separate lives and seem to make little contact with one another. At the time of their father's disappearance, each of them are living with their own problems. Monica is trying to deal with her partner's children, Michael-Francis and his wife are having marital problems and Aoife is living in New York doing a job she loves, but struggles with. As the family get to grips with Robert's disappearance, the reader gets to know each character and their own story. From London to New York and onto Ireland, the reader is swept away in this mesmerising story.

This absorbing and beautifully written book illustrates the ways in which secrets can tear families apart and in some ways seek to bring them closer together. I really loved this book, the characters are so well formed that I felt like I knew them and the element of mystery meant that I didn't want to put it down.

5 stars

Thank you to Tinder Press for sending me a copy to review.

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