Saturday, March 21, 2015

[Recommendation] For Once in my Life - Marianne Kavanagh

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In FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE, Tess and George are destined to be with each other, but first have to find each other. If you listen to what their mutual friends say- they're soulmates.

Even though they've shared several paths in life, gone to the same school and live in the same city, they have never met. Their friends try to set them up multiple times over the years, but something always comes up.

When they do eventually meet, Tess' theory that everyone has a soulmate somewhere out there is put to the ultimate test.

A Sense of Calmness 

Some books just have a certain emotion or feeling tied to them.
In Maggie Stiefvater's SHIVER I felt like I was sitting in the cold snow the entire time without her actually doing anything to give the reader that sensation. In "For Once in My Life" Kavanagh gives the reader a feeling of calmness, almost one of comfort. Her writing is very, very pleasant and not intrusive or pushy.

It's perfect for that kind of story; a calm, sweet romance story that just makes you want to crawl inside the book and cuddle everyone in it.
I didn't like that Kavanagh decided not to structure the novel in too much detail and didn't put the happenings in chapters. Sometimes there are cuts that seem very random and I found myself wondering how much time had passed inbetween the paragraphs. I'm not a big fan of changing the point-of-view mid-chapter, but if you don't have chapters, it's inevitable.

Amazing Character Building  and Development

Tess is a vintage enthusiast that loves 40s style clothing and whose biggest dream is to open up a secondhand clothing business. She's a very smart, but nervous person and overall just a sweetheart. It's impossible not to like her. The group of friends she surrounds herself with are as diverse as they are entertaining and it's just pleasant to go through her everyday life.

George is an aspiring musician who dreams of his band making it big eventually. Things don't always go well for him, because in contrast to Tess, he knows exactly what he wants in life. I loved all his band mates, who are again diverse and interesting characters with all their own stories and motivations.
With all characters in the novel you can tell that there was a lot of work into developing them and making them as realistic as possible. I could tell you stories from the top of my head about every single character and what they would or wouldn't do, which just makes the novel overall very, very realistic, life-like and interesting.

The plot sometimes drags, but that's inevitable if you're telling someone's whole life in a contemporary novel. There isn't necessarily always something interesting happening and there is indeed some filler, but that just contributes to the realisticness. Never did I have the impression that the novel was boring me or stalling time. I would have hated the idea of Kavanagh deliberately putting unnecessary drama into the novel just so there's more action.

Despite the lack of actual happenings, I was very much entertained and I read the novel pretty quickly and enthusiastically.




Overall: Do I Recommend?

A wonderful novel. It's impressive for a debut and I'm stoked on reading more of Kavanagh's work. Love the writing voice, the story idea and the marvelous character development.

You won't want to put this novel down. A clear recommendation.

Additional Info

Published: February 16th 2015
Pages: 384
Cover: Blanvalet, 2015.
Genre: Adult / Romance
ISBN: 978-3-442-38389-4

"Everyone has a soul mate... but what if you never find each other?

Meet Tess. A vintage clothes–obsessive, she’s trapped in a frighteningly grown-up customer relations job she loathes. Still, she’s been dating the gorgeous accountant Dominic since university, and has a perfectly lovely flat, which she shares with her best friend, Kirsty. But if her life is so perfect, why does she tear up whenever anyone mentions her future?

Meet George. He’s a brilliant jazz musician who spends almost as much time breaking up fights between his bickering band mates as he does worrying about his ailing father and living up to his stockbroker girlfriend’s very high expectations. For a guy who has always believed in romance, the grim practicalities of twenty-something life have come as something of a shock. Seemingly always on the verge of a big break, he’s looking for something more...something special.

They just might be two halves of one perfect whole. Now, if only they could manage to cross paths...

Follow Tess and George through a decade of bad dates, chaotic dinner parties, magical birthdays, dead-end jobs, romantic misalliances, and lots of starting over. For Once in My Life is a charming and intelligent modern comedy of manners, friendship, and missed connections

Do you believe in soulmates and the like? 

Do you like reading about them?

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