I made a booboo with these books – I read them the wrong way around. One Summer takes place two years before After the Wedding, on the same small island of Roone, off the west coast of Ireland, and with largely the same cast of characters. That meant that I knew most of the major plot points of One Summer before I even picked the book up. Happily, though, that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of it.
On Roone, an island off the west coast of Ireland, stands a stone cottage by the edge of the sea. The locals are convinced that it brings luck to those who live there and Nell, its current owner, is certain there’s something to it. After all, it drew her back to the island from Dublin and it brought her Tim, her fiancé, whom she’s set to marry in a few short months.
So when Nell decides to rent out the cottage during the summer to raise money for her wedding, deep down she hopes that it will work its magic and attract the right tenants to her home.
But as the summer unfolds and Nell’s carefully-laid plans for her wedding start to go awry, she begins to question her decision to let out her beloved cottage.
As the arrival of each of the tenants brings about unexpected change to the lives of the islanders, Nell is forced to face some home truths about herself and answer one increasingly burning question . . .
One thing’s for sure, it’s a summer on the island that nobody will ever forget.
I really enjoyed both these books. They were nice, fluffy, summery reads about a little community of Irish people living off the west coast of Ireland on an island with a little bit of magic in everything that happens there. Both books have a large cast of characters with a lot of overlap between the two.
There’s not much to complain about with Meaney’s writing – it’s nice and easy to read, her characterisation is good and fleshed out, if at times a little predictable. The motivations are believable, and the little touch of Roone magic adds a little something to everything she writes.
The first book, One Summer, is divided into time periods – at first, months, then when it comes to summer, into the two-week chunks of the lodgers. While it makes sense for the story progression, I found that it made the book a little hard to read at times, and it felt like it needed breaking up into smaller chunks.
I also don’t like Meaney’s constant POV-switching, where you can’t always tell who is talking to whom (although at times that’s deliberate). Two little jarring things which make two otherwise very pleasant and enjoyable books just that little bit less.
Still, though, decent marks for each.
One Summer – Three Stars ***
After the Wedding – Four Stars ****