Saffy finally feels like everything in her life is going right for her. She's got a great job that she loves, a beautiful expensive apartment, best friends and she is sure her boyfriend Greg Gleeson is going to propose to her at last! Greg, however, seems a bit more focused on his television career and cracking Hollywood than he is settling down anytime soon but he doesn't want to tell Saffy that. Their best friends Conor and Jess have it pretty good too. Jess doesn't ever want to get married but is happy in her relationship with Conor and their twins, and despite the fact Conor would love nothing more than to make Jess his wife, he's happy just being with her and trying to write his book. But there are secrets all around that are threatening to ruin everything the four friends have ever worked for - will the truth make or break these friendships and relationships once and for all?
This is Irish author Ella Griffin's debut novel, and a very good one it is too! I was impressed when I received the book because there on the front cover was a quote from Marian Keyes saying what a good author Griffin is, so that's a pretty good recommendation to go by, especially for a debut author! I have to say I really don't like the cover - it is quite bland and dull, and certainly doesn't stand out against some of the other books I have received lately which is a shame, but as the age old adage goes... never judge a book by its cover and I am glad I didn't on this case. Inside is a really good debut novel and it certainly makes me keen to read more from Griffin, a new promising voice in Irish chick-lit!
The book begins introducing us to Saffy and Greg, a couple who on the surface look very much in love, and like the perfect couple. Greg is a TV star and very famous and good-looking, and Saffy is happy to sit in the background, except when the female attention towards her boyfriend gets too much for her. Straight away, I took a dislike to Greg - he seemed too cocky and dismissive of Saffy, and I could see that he was going to a real problem for Saffy and her needs. He was arroagant, cocky and certainly the male character we are supposed to hate in the book, and Griffin has written him well, although perhaps a bit of a cliché. Saffy on the hand I really liked - she was cool, calm and collected despite what Greg does to her, but I did want to give her a bit of a shake at times as she did seem a bit too oblivious to Greg's negative sides too much.
The other main characters are Conor and Jess, who also happen to be Saffy and Greg's best friends. Their story is very much the opposite of Greg and Saffy, they aren't rich, they work hard to get what they can for their young twins and seem very happy. I could relate much more to this couple than I ever could Greg and Saffy, and I am glad that Griffin chose to put some more down-to-earth characters into the book as well. I felt really sorry for Jess and Conor as things started to go wrong between them, and really wanted them to work at it, they are clearly very much in love but as usual a breakdown in communications is where things start to go wrong for them. Conor in particular was very sweet and I really liked him a lot, and while he did a few wrong things, I couldn't help but think his heart is in the right place!
The book is told in the third person and it worked really well for this book because of the amount of main characters, I was easily able to follow the four different story lines and also the more minor characters with ease too. As well as the issue of love and relationships which is the main theme of the book, Griffin also tackles some more serious issues within as well. Saffy's mother suffers a serious illness within, and Griffin uses this as a tool to not only develop this storyline in a touching and sincere way, it also gives her a chance to have a great storyline develop between Saffy and her mother Jill, and I thought this was very touching, despite its twists and turns along the way. This story easily sits in alongside the main plot, and works really well for me. I also have to mention the storyline with Joe and Liam, it was very well handled by the author again and I was really impressed how she has managed to squeeze so many serious topics into one book!
Overall, I was very impressed with this debut novel. It has a real warmth about it that made it very readable and despite the fact there is constantly a lot going on, I found it easy to follow and all the characters (bar Greg!) were very likeable and believable. I really felt for Saffy as she didn't have an easy time of it throughout the book but Griffin writes her in such a way that she is a strong character and holds the book together very well. The writing style was excellent and made for a pleasant reading experience, and I was especially taken with how sensitively Griffin tackles the more serious issues within the book. I would definitely recommend this excellent debut novel, and look forward to reading more from Ella Griffin in the future.