'I am simply a 'book drunkard.' Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.' L.M. Montgomery

'There are no faster or firmer friendships than those formed between people who love the same books.' Irving Stone

Friday, September 19, 2014

Instructions for a Heat Wave by Maggie O'Farrell

A novel about a family crisis set during the legendary British heatwave of 1976.

Gretta Riordan wakes on a stultifying July morning to find that her husband of forty years has gone to get the paper and vanished, cleaning out his bank account along the way. Gretta's three grown children converge in their parents' home for the first time in years: Michael Francis, a history teacher whose marriage is failing; Monica, with two stepdaughters who despise her and a blighted past that has driven away the younger sister she once adores; and Aoife, the youngest, now living in Manhattan, a smart, immensely resourceful young woman who has arranged her entire life to conceal a devastating secret.

Maggie O'Farrell writes with exceptional grace and sensitivity about marriage, about the mysteries that inhere within families, and the fault lines over which we build our lives-the secrets we hide from the people who know and love us best. In a novel that stretches from the heart of London to New York City's Upper West Side to a remote village on the coast of Ireland, O'Farrell paints a bracing portrait of a family falling apart and coming together with hard-won, life-changing truths about who they really are.

Good book. I enjoyed The Vanishing of Esme Lennox more but I like O'Farrell's characterization in all her books. She does people and relationship well. The storyline with the dad taking all the money and leaving didn't hit home for me, without giving away why, what or who happened. I don't know why he would have taken all the money for the reason he went. I suppose it was the clue that he didn't just walk away with Alzheimers or something, but I don't think he would have left Gretta high and dry like that. A little out of character. Minor grumble there, really not worth mentioning. It was good. I'd recommend it for sure.


  1. I've been wanting to read this author for a while (maybe since your review of The Vanishing of Esme Lennox?) and have The Hand that First Held Mine in my tbr pile. Hope to get to it soon.


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