If I hadn’t already compiled by Top Reads for 2017, which happens to include another Faith Hogan book, Secrets We Keep, this book would have been a strong contender.
In The Girl I Used to Know we have two strong female lead characters in Tess Cuffe and Amanda King. These two share a house though not particularly willingly. Tess rents the scruffy basement flat of Amanda and Richard King’s large and immaculate Georgian house in Dublin. The two do not have what you would call a warm relationship since Richard has tried unsuccessfully and at great expense to evict Tess.
On the outside, Amanda appears to have the perfect life. In her 40s, she has two children, a beautifully stylish house, a successful and handsome husband and a group of stylish friends. Yet Amanda is increasingly wondering what happened to her life. She hardly sees her husband as he is constantly at work, her teenage son in particular is turning into a sneering youth with barely disguised contempt, she feels that her life has lost its way and she has lost her sense of who she really is along the way.
Tess is in her 60s, lives alone and appears to delight in being cantankerous. Her health isn’t the best and she has no friends. She didn’t initially seem to be a character who I would warm to she seemed to have very little redeeming characteristics. But with the arrival of Matt on her doorstep (a great addition to the story!) we soon begin to see her softer side.
Through the chapters woven through the book from years gone by, the author shows her readers the girls both Tess and Amanda used to be. I was so intrigued about what had happened in Tess’s life in particular to change her from the optimistic girl moving to Dublin to start at Uni to the grumpy woman, living alone with no enthusiasm for life. Faith Hogan writes movingly and with great insight about how Tess and Amanda’s hopes and dreams slowly ebbed away leaving them both with disappointing realities, and lives they felt trapped in. I loved the way the women blossomed and grew in confidence as they took the first tentative steps towards friendship just as their new keep fit routines saw them taking steps round the square where they lived. The author had just the right balance of insights into the past blended with their present lives to create understanding and empathy with her characters.
A wonderful warm-hearted book about missed opportunities, second chances, friendship and how it’s never too late to have a new adventure and to find love.
My thanks to the publishers Aria Fiction for my review copy of this book. The Girl I Used to Know is available now as an ebook and at the time of writing is only 99p. You can order a copy on the following links.
From the back of the book
A beautiful, emotive and spell-binding story of two women who find friendship and second chances when they least expect it. Perfect for the fans of Patricia Scanlan.
Amanda King and Tess Cuffe are strangers who share the same Georgian house, but their lives couldn’t be more different.
Amanda seems to have it all, absolute perfection. She projects all the accoutrements of a lady who lunches. Sadly, the reality is a soulless home, an unfaithful husband and a very lonely heart.
By comparison, in the basement flat, unwanted tenant Tess has spent a lifetime hiding and shutting her heart to love.
It takes a bossy doctor, a handsome gardener, a pushy teenager and an abandoned cat to show these two women that sometimes letting go is the first step to moving forward and new friendships can come from the most unlikely situations.
Faith Hogan was born in Ireland. She gained an Honours Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree from University College, Galway. She has worked as a fashion model, an event’s organiser and in the intellectual disability and mental health sector.
She was a winner in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair – an international competition for emerging writers.
Connect with Faith Hogan:
Twitter (her favourite) https://twitter.com/GerHogan
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/faithhoganauthor/
Web Page. http://faithhogan.com/
If you have missed any of the blog tour so far, here are all the details of who has taken part. Don’t miss Novel Gossip tomorrow and Boon’s Bookcase who is rounding off the tour on Friday.