Book Quote:

“Dublin didn’t just look different from Melbourne, it smelled different. The air was a mixture of winter smells, fresh rain on pavements, a hint of smoke from open fires burning in nearby houses, beer and Guinness aromas from the pubs along the street.”

Book Review:

Reviewed by Danielle Bullen (AUG 20, 2009)

If you’re looking for a breezy, late-summer addition to your library, pick up a copy of Monica McInerney’s novel, Greetings from Somewhere Else. A combination of an easy to follow main storyline combined with compelling subplots and a likable main character make it a quintessential beach book.

Lainey Byrne runs an event management company in Australia and juggles her relationships with her chef boyfriend Adam and her parents and three brothers. The family receives word that great-aunt May has passed away in Ireland. Her nieces and nephews were her only family and she left them her bed and breakfast, but there’s a catch. One member of the Byrnes must live in and run the inn for a year before they can inherit it. Lainey’s father suffers from an accident he had at a construction site and the family needs money for his care. If they follow the plan, they can later sell the bed and breakfast. Lainey is nominated as the representative.

She takes a leave of absence from her job, breaks up with Adam, and heads to County Meath. When she arrives at the inn, Lainey is in for a shock. The run-down old house has clearly seen better days, the inside is dusty, smelly, and old-fashioned. May’s lawyer tells her that there have been hardly any guests. Around town, Lainey’s aunt had a reputation for being an obnoxious, stubborn old lady, and her bed and breakfast had developed a stay-away status.

Lainey uses money May had left her to redecorate the inn with the help of her friend Eva from Dublin. She throws herself into the project to distract herself from thinking about Adam. Another distraction soon comes along, Lainey’s childhood friend, Ronan, now a handsome documentary filmmaker in the country on assignment. Her flirtation with Ronan forms one of the undercurrents of the story.

Coming up with clever new ways to market and fill Tara Hill, her new name for the bed and breakfast, keeps her busy. Her brother Hugh keeps in touch by sending videos of the family. Lainey sees Adam’s influence in some of the videos and wonders if it had been a mistake to end things with him.

Greetings from Somewhere Else also has another  ingredient that makes for a good story —  a main character who changes for the better. The more Lainey learns about her aunt, the more she sees herself in May’s bossy, single-minded, isolating behavior. “She had to learn to take a step back, let things unfold, let people live their own lives. . .Not be the one in charge of the world. . .It was going to be very, very hard.”

Lainey’s year in Dublin is the catalyst for positive changes in her personality and her relationships, and it mellows her view of the world.

McInerney’s writing is clear and compelling and the pages move quickly. A plot point involving a series of letters May wrote and Lainey inherited could have been fleshed out more; yet, for the most part, the story is well-developed and a good choice for some light entertainment.

AMAZON READER RATING: stars-4-0from 3 readers
PUBLISHER: Ballantine Books (July 7, 2009)
REVIEWER: Danielle Bullen
AMAZON PAGE: Greetings from Somewhere Else
AUTHOR WEBSITE: Monica McInerney
EXTRAS: Reading Guide and Excerpt
MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION: More late summer reads:The Late Lamented Molly Marx by Sally Koslow

Girl Talk by Julianna Baggott

Tokyo Fiancee by Amelie Northomb

And another enterprising business woman:

Chez Moi by Agnes Desarthe


August 20, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Family Matters, Ireland, Reading Guide

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