If you're a fan of the chick-lit genre - as it has been immortalised in the media - then you'll think all your Christmases have come together with the launch of 'Irish Girls About Town'. Modelled on the very successful short-story collection, 'Girls Night In' -which was a big hit in the UK and on these shores a couple of years ago - this collection comes from the most successful, talented and brightest of Ireland's female authors and with £1 from every copy sold going to the very deserving charities of the St Vincent de Paul and Barnardos of Britain, it's worth investing in.
But worthy causes aside, is it any good? With contributions from the likes of Maeve Binchy, Cathy Kelly, Marian Keyes and Martina Devlin, names that have graced the bestsellers lists here and in the UK, 'Irish Girls About Town' unsurprisingly entertains in most parts. The subjects and characters are diverse, ranging from a fifty-something free spirit who returns to Ireland following the death of her married Italian lover, to a twenty-something boring accountant who has a shocking secret to hide.
However, there are a few misses among the hits and surprisingly, the opening story from Keyes particularly disappoints. In fact, the best of the bunch are from the lesser-known contributors with Catherine Barry's story, 'The 28th Day', standing out from the rest as she describes with frighteningly accurate detail a bad case of PMT.
'Irish Girls About Town' won't quite grip you in quite the same way as a novel from one of its celebrated contributors usually does, but it makes enjoyable reading nevertheless - even if just to prove that Binchy, Kelly et al are not the only Irish female authors worth checking out.