Absence makes the heart grow fonder…doesn’t it? What happens when two people decide to give themselves the year off…from each other?
Annie and Dan were the perfect couple. But now the not-so-newly weds feel more like flatmates than soul mates and wonder where all the fun and fireworks went … When Annie lands her big break in a smash-hit show that’s heading for the bright lights of Broadway, she’s over the moon. Goodbye remote Irish village of Stickens, hello fabulous Big Apple! But with their relationship already on the rocks, how will Annie and Dan survive the distance? They’re hitting the pause button on their marriage. One year off from each other – no strings attached, except a date to meet in twelve months at the Rockefeller Centre to decide their fate.
Will they both turn up? Or is it too late for love?
The first Claudia Carroll book I bought was 'Personally, I Blame My Fairy Godmother.' As a true lover of anything having to do with happy endings or fairy tales, the title already convinced me to get the book without even reading the blurb. However, up until this day, the book is still lying on my to-read pile. During one of my trips to the UK last year, I picked up another Claudia Carroll novel: 'Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?' Another blogger's excitement (thanks Kevin!) about Claudia Carroll's novels actually got me to pick this particular novel as my next read, and I'm glad I did!
Annie and Dan are childhood sweethearts, who after having met at boarding school as teenagers, married in their early twenties, and now live in the Irish countryside. After the death of his father, Dan decided to take over the family veterinary practice in Stickings, a small village approximately two hours from Dublin. Annie came with him, giving up her chances of breaking through as an actress to be with her husband. However, Annie continues to struggle not only with rural life, but also with her family in-law. So, when she is offered her dream job, a leading role in a play that is heading to Broadway, she simply can't refuse. The distance turns out to be one bump in the road too many, which leads to Annie and Dan deciding to take a one-year break from their relationship. No rules, no pressure. But what will happen when the year is up? Will Annie be able to resist her handsome director Jack? And what will happen when Dan is alone back in rural Ireland?
Personally, I struggled with the beginning of the book. I thought the start was a bit slow as it took me around 100 pages to really find myself getting into the novel and enjoying the story. I also thought Annie's behaviour was slightly frustrating. I just wanted her to take the first bus out of Stickens and get far away from everything that made her unhappy. However, as soon as Annie arrived in New York... From that moment I started to really like her as a character and I was hooked on the story itself and didn't want to put the book down. I loved the mix of rural and city life (and the descriptions managed to capture the two different settings perfectly), but the combination of Annie and the city turned the story into some exciting I simply didn't want to stop reading about.
Even though this is my first Claudia Carroll experience, it is already her 8th book. This shows in her writing, because the novel is easy to read and the story really started to live in my head. The repeated use of some specific words ('Anyroadup', Jack's 'cold' hands, Annie's 'blond' apartment) in the text slightly annoyed me, but the need to read on and find out what was going to happen made it possible to ignore that. Overall, I found this a really enjoyable novel and the fact that there are several other Claudia Caroll novels out there, waiting to be read, is definitely getting me excited!