reviews, women's fiction

Review: Love Me Or Leave Me

Another review of a new book – out today in Kindle, and later in the month in paperback (though I think it’s been available in giant airport size paperback for a few months) – it’s Claudia Carroll’s Love Me Or Leave Me.  You’ll be pleased to here that it’s not one of a series that I’m coming to mid way through, or a serialisation that’s driving me to begging.  I’m also well rested and hopefully coherent!

This is the third of Claudia Carroll’s novels that I’ve read – I have a fourth waiting on the Kindle for me to get around to it (quelle surprise!) and I’ve read a few of her short stories too.  She’s one of a gaggle of Irish authors who I’ll always have a look at when I see that they have something new out, but won’t necessarily automatically buy.

Love Me Or Leave Me tells the story of Chloe – dumped at the altar and rebuilding her life – who takes a job as the General Manager of Ireland’s newest concept hotel – a divorce hotel.  That’s right – you check in married and check out divorced (practically) as the hotel helps you untangle your life from your ex-spouse’s.  But the book doesn’t just follow Chloe – it also follows three of the couples who check in for the hotel’s opening weekend.

I really liked the multiple Points of View you get with this novel – Chloe is a first person narrative – and the others are third person – which helps keep the focus on Chloe and her journey.  But all the stories are interesting and having four means that there are enough twists and and turns to the novel to keep it pacey and interesting without it seeming forced or over dramatic – after all when your heroine’s been left at the altar at the start of the book, there’s not a more drama that can happen to her without it seeming like she’s being picked on by a higher power!  I liked the little reveals of the secrets in the other couple’s relationships and I found myself rooting for different people and various different outcomes.

And for a novel about divorcing couples (and heartbreak) it’s actually a cheerful and up-beat read.  And that’s partly because of that four-way narrative again – each couple’s story is well-fleshed out and feels real, but because there are three of them (and Chloe’s story) you don’t have to have 100 pages of each couple being miserable to set up the split and make you care about what happens to them.  In fact I’d say Carroll’s done a great job of writing each story so that it grabs you and gives you definite opinions about the characters very quickly – without a lot of background waffle.

This is a lovely back to school read – it is romantic and chick lit-y but to me it doesn’t feel like a book for reading on a sun lounger.  Perfect for a rainy Sunday afternoon as you curse the British weather – and the lack of an Indian Summer!  Find the Kindle edition here or pre-order the paperback here or from Hive or at your bookseller of choice.

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