Marino, £7.99

It’s not often that a book can make you cry as often as you laugh out loud but 'Water Sign' is such a novel. It is one of the most original and unusual love stories you will ever read.

The two protagonists, Dubliners Paul Rooney and Mary Conroy, are unaware that destiny has already decided their fate while each wallows in the despair of having lost their spouses early on in life. Although the pair have never met, their paths crossed momentarily, two years before the book opens. In a cold, damp graveyard they both recognised their pain and loneliness in a stranger’s face, and recognised that they were travelling the same path.

Two years on, neither Paul nor Mary have overcome their grief. Paul is going through the motions at work, staying at home each night with a packet of Pringles. Mary can barely make enough to live on from her photography, and spends too much time eating popcorn with just her rubber duck for company. In their own time, Paul and Mary will both come to realise the stranger on the same path is so much more than that but, before they can do so, they must turn the page on their past and overcome further tragedy.

'Water Sign' is definitely not a book for cynics. Although filled with intense sadness and despair as bereavement is explored with great pathos and understanding by Connolly, the overriding theme is one of hope and optimism. If you are willing to cast aside the sometimes far-fetched coincidences that pepper this book or are eager to turn yourself over to the possibility that there is such a thing as destiny, then you will experience a wonderful story filled with likeable characters and witty observations that will flirt with the full range of your emotions.

Amanda Fennelly