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In her second novel, Australian author Monica McInerney revisits many of the themes and places of her debut 'A Taste For It'. 'Upside Down Inside Out' is set in the dual locations of Ireland and Australia (adding London this time for good measure), offers plenty of good food and wine – McInerney's last heroine was a chef, this one works in a delicatessen – and, of course, has the obligatory pair of star-crossed lovers who just can't manage to get it together without a variety of ridiculous complications.

You probably won't be surprised to hear that starring couple Eva and Joseph do manage to live happily ever after, despite the pair's decision to take on alternative personas during their respective holidays in Australia. Unfortunately this bid to make themselves more interesting doesn't stimulate the reader's interest in quite the same way. The agonising that they go through when deciding whether or not to tell each other the truth gets rather wearying after a while.

None of the characters are particularly well rounded and the freshness which characterised 'A Taste For It' is missing from 'Upside Down Inside Out'. Maybe a beach read, but be warned – you just might feel like tossing the book into the waves by the time you finish it.

Caroline Hennessy