Readers of my blog may be surprised by this choice of book, no murder and no mayhem just some truly likeable characters dealing with everyday stuff. The book is billed for fans of Maeve Binchy. I vividly remember the first Christmas after I left home. I was just 17, had to work on Christmas day and I was feeling a little dejected. I’d been given a book (surprise), a copy of Maeve Binchy’s Light A Penny Candle and so I did what I always do and forgot about my problems and immersed myself in someone else’s life. That book made that Christmas bearable and the author retained a special place in my heart.
So onto A Perfect Guest. I defy anyone who reads this book not to warm to the characters within the pages, this is a book to read for the pure pleasure of meeting some lovely people, to worry with them as they try to sort out everyday problems a book where even when things are difficult there is hope that on the next page that all will be resolved.
The characters include Kathleen Williams who is returning to Ireland for a three month stay. Her first visit since she left as an eight year old girl. Instantly she meets the friendly people and sets about tracking down the house she lived in as a child. Number 3, Cashel Square is owned by Lexie and her husband Sam who welcome their guest with open arms. During her stay she gets to know the couple’s family and friends including Lexie’s niece Am̗élie who is supposed to be studying but is keener on her boyfriend. The chapters are interspersed with excerpts from Am̗élie’s diary including some interesting vocabulary, making this a truly multi-generational novel.
So is this worthy of its billing? Well it’s set in Ireland, populated by ‘characters’ has an over-riding feeling of warmth radiating it but it isn’t all lightness and fluff; there are some serious issues explored. So on balance I don’t think anyone can claim Maeve’s crown but this doesn’t miss the mark by too much.
I’d recommend this as a perfect summer read for a time when you simple want to meet some really nice people before returning to the real world and if you are lucky the feeling of hope will last a while after you close the last page.
I received my copy from the Lovereading Book Review Team in return for my honest opinion.