When Darcy McCall loses her beloved Aunt Molly, she doesn’t expect any sort of inheritance – let alone a small island. Located off the west coast of Ireland, Tara hasn’t been lived on for years, but according to Molly’s will Darcy must stay there for twelve months in order to fully inherit, and she needs to persuade a village full of people to settle there, too. Darcy has to leave behind her independent city life and swap stylish heels for muddy wellies. Between sorting everything from the plumbing to the pub, Darcy meets confident Conor and ever-grumpy Dermot – but who will make her feel really at home?
Breakfast at Darcy’s is Ali McNamara’s second novel, following her huge rom-com hit From Notting Hill with Love … Actually which was released last year. It is a completely stand-alone story although fans of FNHWLA will regognise some similarites; a lead charcter with a complex past searching for contentment, rival love interests, a hint of magic in the storytelling and a truly romantic ending!
The novel is narrated by Darcy herself and we meet her as she attends her Aunt Molly’s funeral where she learns that Molly has left her an inheritance with a challenge; a small island off the coast of Ireland which the locals know as Tara. In order to recieve the full (very valuable) inheritance, Darcy must live on Tara for a year with at least foutreen other people. As Darcy soon discovers, provisions on Tara are very basic and its up to her to make it liveable for the new community she hopes will live there. I wasn’t sure about Darcy at first; she seemed selfish and self absorbed but as the book progressed and Tara worked its magic on her I did grow to like her.
The setting up of the new island community makes for a good variety of characters in this book. The core story focusses on a five or six main charcters with Darcy in the lead but considering all of the action takes place on a very small island, Ali McNamara has packed a lot into the plot and I thought the story was fun and original. I loved Darcy’s best friend Roxi and I liked builder/project manager Dermot straight away too despite his grumpiness! The romantic side to the story is nicely set up and has some good twists and turns but one of the things I liked most about this nove was that the island of Tara was a character in itself and has a profound effect on Darcy and all of its new residents. Through the history and legends of Tara, Ali McNamara brings a feeling of fate and destiny to the story and there is something a little bit magical about the island. Personally I would have liked to have seen this aspect developed even more but overall I really enjoyed the story and there are a number of good twists as the book progresses.
Ali McNamara retains her crown for queen of the romantic ending, producing a beautiful finale to her novel that left me with a big smile on my face. With Breakfast at Darcy’s Ali has firmly taken up residence in my list of favourite rom-com authors and I’m already eagerly awaiting her third novel which will be a sequel to From Notting Hill with Love … Actually
Breakfast at Darcy’s is out now and I’d like to thank publisher Sphere for sending me a review copy.
You can find out more about Ali McNamara and her books on her website at: http://www.alimcnamara.co.uk/