9 June 2011
Book Review: Since You've Been Gone by Emma Heatherington
Emma Heatherington is published by Irish publishers Poolbeg, and this is her second women's fiction novel. She also writes for the Poolbeg Crimson umbrella under the name of Emma Louise Jordan, and I have enjoyed one of her books there so thought it would be a sure bet I'd enjoy this one too! I have to admit I wasn't too fond of the cover when I first picked up the book, it didn't really ooze the glamour you'd expect from a book about "Little Hollywood" and the dramatic story within. However, the story inside more than made up for the pretty drab cover, and soon enough I was absorbed in Erin's world wondering how it would all end for the residents of Millfield! In fact, this book is a pretty good example of when NOT to judge a book by its cover!
There are quite a few characters in this book, so much so that I had to occasionally double-check I was thinking about the right person as I was reading, but I did eventually get them all set in my head and managed to work out who was who! Our leading lady is Erin, and she is the one we follow throughout the book. Although she is perhaps a slightly sympathetic character, there is something a little bit dislikeable about Erin, she's very selfish and a bit of a drama queen about everything, but that does make for good reading, it has to be said! Erin's relationship with Taylor changes throughout the book, the reader can see the direction its taking but Heatherington stretches it out for a good while, and I enjoyed the development of this story between the characters, it did work really well.
Taylor is the leading man of the book, although he doesn't appear all too frequently because he is in Hollywood, USA, not Millfield, Ireland where our book is set! I didn't like him from the off, he was a bit too arrogant and smarmy for my liking but again, it made for drama with Erin and her own problems! One of my favourite characters was the villain Sorcha O'Daley - a naive young girl determined to make Taylor fall for her, no matter the cost. Her scenes were dramatic and exciting to read, and made a really good addition to the book. The other characters within are mainly locals, except for Olivier Laurent, the French character who I loved. I was surprised it took so long for him to appear in the book actually, but it did take some surprising turns along the way.
Heatherington's writing style is very pleasant to read, and I found it easy to pick up and put the down as I pleased, quickly immersing myself back into Millfield as soon as I began reading again. The small town of Millfield is well described, with the descriptions being enough for the reader to imagine the places along the way. I especially liked the scenes at the TV studios where Erin worked, they were really fun to read and it was good to see the character of Erin in a different environment. Heatherington also covers some more serious issues in the book, in a soft and gentle manner that befits the character, and I think she did this very well, despite the nature of the issues.
This was a really great book to read, and despite the cover which may well put you off, please don't let it because it is a really enjoyable read with some fantastic larger-than-life characters that will have you glued page after page. Heatherington moves the story along in a good pace, not dwindling too long on storylines that aren't overly relevant but ensuring there is a bit of everything in there to entertain all sorts of readers. There's lots of laughs, a few tears but plenty of enjoyment along the way. If you haven't yet discovered the writing talent of Emma Heatherington, then I suggest you start with this book!