Friday, December 15, 2017

Book Review: THE GIRL I USED TO KNOW by Faith Hogan

 by Faith Hogan

A beautiful, emotive and spell-binding story of two women who find friendship and second chances when they least expect it. Perfect for the fans of Patricia Scanlan.

Amanda King and Tess Cuffe are strangers who share the same Georgian house, but their lives couldn't be more different.

Amanda seems to have it all, absolute perfection. She projects all the accouterments of a lady who lunches. Sadly, the reality is a soulless home, an unfaithful husband, and a very lonely heart.

By comparison, in the basement flat, unwanted tenant Tess has spent a lifetime hiding and shutting her heart to love.

It takes a bossy doctor, a handsome gardener, a pushy teenager and an abandoned cat to show these two women that sometimes letting go is the first step to moving forward and new friendships can come from the most unlikely situations.

My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

Maureen Cuffe was a mouse of a woman, forever playing small to augment her husband’s supremacy…  her mother talked of his impending retirement with a sense of doom worthy of an undertaker. ‘Not long now,’ she would say when he left the house.

She actually nodded towards the dumpy little woman, with absurd copper rouge hair piled too high on her head. She stood transfixed, once she realised it was her own reflection. She studied the woman staring back at her with her expensive clothes and too much make-up. Amanda King was under there, somewhere. Her breath caught in her throat, she had been lovely, once. Where was that girl she used to know?

Nicola thought all teenagers should be sent away to boarding school. Nicola’s kids were packed off as soon as there was the danger of a negligent hormone ripening to make her perfect life appear untidy.

‘I’ve started exercising, just gently until I’m fully mobile,’ she whispered. Somehow, it didn’t seem right to add that she had only started to want to live longer so she could spite her neighbours.

Well, I’ll tell you this for nothing, if he so much as winked at me, I’d have my best linen on the bed and I’d be inviting him in for a stiff one before we got down to business…

My Review:

I found The Girl I Used To Know to be a captivating and resonant story – I adored it, but I might not have fully grasped the brilliance and depth of the insightful narrative when I was in my roaring 20s, but I’m older, and thankfully, much wiser now.  Ms. Hogan turned out a wryly humorous, craftily paced, well-written, and engaging tale that frequently had me smirking yet also squeezed my heart and stung my eyes.  Although I have never been to Ireland and would love to, it wouldn't have mattered where this story had been based as these women’s transformative tales were universal; betrayal, regret, loneliness, missed opportunities, heartbreak, infidelity, losing oneself – these unfortunate events happen everywhere and in every culture.  I adored the clever juxtapositions and parallels drawn between the upstairs occupant and basement tenant who had always been at odds and had at first glance appeared so different. Ms. Hogan is an observant and cunning scribe; I greedily want all her clever words. 

Empress DJ

Bio Faith Hogan

Faith Hogan was born in Ireland. She gained an Honours Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree from University College, Galway. She has worked as a fashion model, an event’s organizer and in the intellectual disability and mental health sector.
She was a winner in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair – an international competition for emerging writers.

Faith Hogan Contact:

Twitter (her favorite)

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