Hodder Headline Ireland, £6.99
A wonderful story of romance, complicated by cheating partners, confusions of the heart and loneliness, 'Love Happens' is both true-to-life and wonderfully told.
For ease of understanding it should be explained first of all that Sarah O'Brien is two people. Helena Close and Patricia Rainsford have been friends since they were teenagers, and have recently begun to write novels together, under the pen name of Sarah O'Brien, their previous outing being 'Gazumped'.
In this offering Ruth Burke's life makes for the most instantly addictive of stories. We meet her as a happily married young mother but all that is about to change (because let's face it, it would make for pretty boring reading if it didn't). So one cheating husband later and a bucketful of tears and Ruth's life it about to plunge into the depths of despair and confusion, with more than a few shocks in store.
As the action centres around Ruth's life, and those of her neighbours and friends Tracy and her husband Derek and the handsome journalist next door Kevin and his son Mikey, there is never a dull moment. Ruth falls in and out of love with the men who she encounters on her journey towards a happier life.
Ex-husband Emerson is determined to make amends for what he has done, neighbour Kevin is the perfect shoulder to cry on and hotel boss Ferdia knows how to wine and dine a lady. But Ruth also has three-year-old son Paddy to think about, as well as long-lost politican father Gary and psychic mother Kathleen. Throw in her crazy Munster rugby-supporting neighbours Tracy and Derek and their even crazier kids and between the lot you've got a large helping of disaster coupled with heartbreak.
Close and Rainsford obviously have a very good relationship. Their writing is seamless, with no hint of two brains or indeed two pens having an input into the final product. The story they tell through their joint writing is addictive. We could all easily identify with the complications in Ruth's life as she struggles to make sense of the goings-on around her.
'Love Happens' is a very light-hearted take on relationships with family, friends and partners - complete with laugh-out-loud moments throughout and plenty of drama to keep you turning the pages at speed.