Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Three Women by Marita Conlon-McKenna

I first became aware of Marita Conlon-McKenna via her junior fiction writing for O'Brien; Under the Hawthorn Tree, The Blue Horse and Wildflower Girl amongst others. Since 2000 Marita Conlon- McKenna has written six adult novels and Three Women is her seventh.

Set in Dublin, with familiar street names, pubs and locations, Three Women tells us the stories of Erin, adopted at twelve weeks and brought up in a loving middle-class family with an adopted brother, of her mother Nina, who has dedicated herself to bringing up her children and creating a warm and comforting home, and Kate, Erin's birth mother who has never really got over the sacrifice she made when she gave up her daughter for adoption but has gone on to have a loving marriage and family of her own.

Going the way of all the best soaps, there are revelations and confrontations, let downs and then comforting support. Erin shares a flat with two best friends and their lives are interwoven as is the progression of Erin's boyfriends career and how it impacts on their relationship. Erin's mother has to deal with her feelings of jealousy as her daughter pursues the path to find her birth mother and also that her husband Tom has started buying new clothes and is taking a renewed interest in his appearance. Kate has to face up to the fear of meeting her daughter twenty-six years after giving her up.

Like some of the best movies, it's a little forced in the opening pages, such as when Erin says '"I can't believe I'm twenty-six!" ... It sounded so old. Yikes - thirty was only around the corner!'. Really, who says or even thinks 'yikes' these days? - it sounds like something out of The Famous Five. But the characters very quickly settle down and the reader charges forward to find out what will be the outcome of each stage in the story and I happily found myself reading late to get to the end and hopefully find it had all come to a happy conclusion.

Marita Conlon-McKenna has written a most satisfying story that addresses a subject that is very present in society today. It brings up the fears and doubts that all parties in the triangle must experience and at the same time has managed to write a most engrossing story.

Three Women is published by Transworld Ireland

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