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11 May 2014

Review: 'A Special Delivery' by Clare Dowling (2014)

Every family has its ups and downs...

Aisling Brady is miserable. So is her husband Mossy. The three kids are too. Yet nobody dares say a thing. Instead the Bradys keep their heads down and grimly look forward to another miserable Christmas in Dublin. 

What Aisling doesn't know is that this year, they will get the most unexpected gift of all. One that will bring joy and heartbreak, hope and a string of sleepless nights. 

As their world is turned upside down, questions have to be asked. But are the Bradys ready to face the truth about themselves? And what each of them has done?

Earlier this year I read my first Clare Dowling novel, 'Can't Take My Eyes Off You' (click here to read my review). I really enjoyed the book; I liked Clare's writing style and was gripped by the plotline. I've more than once seen her novels described as chick lit with a twist, and based on just the one novel I read, I agree with that description. I was curious to try another Clare Dowling novel and thankfully, the lovely Clare herself was so kind to send me a copy of her latest release, 'A Special Delivery.' I instantly looked forward to reading it with the hope I'd enjoy it as much as 'Can't Take My Eyes Off You'!

Just like your average family, the Brady's, consisting of Aisling and Mossy and their four children, have had their fair share of both good and bad times. This Christmas falls into the latter category, and it will take a lot to get rid of the tension and painful memories that haunt mainly Aisling. The distraction they are looking for eventually comes, but in a completely unexpected way, when they find an actual baby in the crib that's part of the nativity scene built in their front yard. It's unclear who has left the child with the Brady's, but it doesn't take long before questions are answered and truths revealed...

I expected to really enjoy this book, after having read my first Clare Dowling novel earlier this year, and it certainly did not disappoint. The start of the story included some mysterious elements in which the reader can sense something is definitely not right with this family, but it takes a bit of time before certain things are revealed. I don't want to give too much of the story away, so I won't go into the details, but I personally really enjoyed the guessing and trying to fit the pieces of the puzzle. The story was realistic, including quite some serious and intense topics like unplannend pregnancy, drug abuse and family relationships, which Clare Dowling deals with in a gripping and lifelike manner.

I loved how strong and distinctive the different characters in the book are. Aisling is willing to do everything she can to keep her family together; Mossy is the brooding silent type whose thoughts you just have to guess. I also warmed to the Brady children and their different personalities, and the character of Nicola is incredibly well-written as well. It took a bit of time for me to get really into this novel, but as soon as I did I couldn't stop reading until I had figured it all out. ‘A Special Delivery’ is a captivating tale about the importance and complexities of family; definitely recommended to those who are looking for chick lit with a twist! 
For more information about this book: / Goodreads 
Thanks to the author for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

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