Bantam, €6.99

Romantic tale 'He Loves Me Not, He Loves Me' is the debut novel from actress Claudia Carroll, renowned in the role of Nicola Prendergast in 'Fair City'. With all the ingredients for an enjoyable literary meander, the book is filled with energy from the off and brimming over with enthusiasm in each new chapter.

Essentially this is a tale of life's struggles, from finances to love, told in a warm, funny and engaging manner. The story revolves around the Davenport family, living at the beautiful (if a little dilapidated) Davenport Hall in Kildare, which has been the family residence for generations. But the family have recently fallen on hard times and when gambler Black-Jack Davenport decides to leave his wife Lucasta and their two daughters Daisy and Portia high and dry, drastic action is called for.

With a reputation for being the sensible one, Portia is left to take charge of her alcoholic psychic mother and flighty younger sister, in an effort to save their precious home from being sold out from under them. But just as every cloud has a silver lining, the Davenports are due a run of luck. And when a film crew arrives in town, where better to shoot their movie than in the vast grounds of Davenport Estate? Then comes the romance, as the Hollywood star, the reliable lawyer and the guy next door win (and break) the hearts of the Davenport girls, in a series of very funny ups and downs for the family.

Carroll is all about the adventure in her writing, creating fantastical characters that somehow manage to maintain an element of natural credibility, despite their hilarious unwillingness to engage with the real world. Her style of writing is light yet sincere, with the material very easily-absorbed as pleasure reading.

If you're looking for a good girlie book to soak up while lying on the beach on your holidays, then Carroll has the formula for fluffy entertainment wrapped up here. While, it's probably not the sort of book that you won't be able to put down, it's still the kind of novel that you'll very much enjoy picking up.

Linda McGee