Yet again Sheila O’Flanagan has won me over with a new set of characters and an intelligent but romantic storyline. It’s heart-warming, has some fab locations and a lively pace that kept my attention from beginning to end.If You Were Me by Sheila O'Flanagan
Published by Headline on 2014-07-03
Genres: Contemporary Women, Emotions & Feelings, Romance, Womens Fiction
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On a sultry summer evening in Seville, anything can happen... Carlotta O'Keefe is happily engaged, and the wedding plans are coming together. She's clear about her future path, both personally and in her busy career.
Maybe Chris doesn't make her heart race every time she sees him, but you can't have that feeling for ever. Can you? Then, on a trip to Seville, Carlotta runs into Luke Evans. Luke broke her heart so long ago she'd almost convinced herself she'd forgotten him.
Now, he's not that boy any more, but an attractive and intriguing man. And he can explain everything that happened way back when. Suddenly Carlotta's not so sure of anything any more. Except that what she decides now will shape the rest of her life...
First Line of If You Were Me:
When I open my eyes and focus on the clock beside the bed, I realise with absolute horror that I should have been awake an hour ago.
My Thoughts on If You Were Me:
Well I think the 5 star rating is a bit of a giveaway that I loved this one. My favourite thing about this is Carlotta who is the main character. She is an intelligent, career driven woman and her life seems charmed. She is engaged to a handsome man who on paper seems to be her Mr Perfect, her career is on the up and up, she has close ties with her family and her best friend is always there to lend her rock solid support.
However the only problem with Mr Perfect is that the chemistry is ok but it’s not sizzling. They have a good relationship but you see very early on that Carlotta is settling for ok and thinks that is enough. Her career is important to her and she puts a lot of her passion and creativity into succeeding at her job and into carefully manoeuvring her way through the tricky environment of office politics. I love reading about focused women who are ambitious and dedicated but who are still warm and frivolous. I’m all for bursting through the glass ceiling and doing in a pair of kick ass trendy heels.
When reading, I felt that her fiancé Chris was stifling her. It was his way or no way and even though Carlotta’s career was every bit as successful as his, you just knew that he saw her job as far more trivial. As did his meddling mother! A future mother-in-law from hell which made me groan in sympathy and frustration for Carlotta.
The book starts off in Spain as Carlotta is on a work assignment there. And it is obvious from this book (and lots of Sheila’s other books) that Spain is very dear to her heart. She always describes the settings so well that you are wrapped up in warm haze of Spanish sunshine. And it’s never the obvious tourist places instead it has the authentic Spanish off the beaten path feel to it.
And in Spain she runs in to her long lost friend Luke. As a teenager, he was her best friend and her first love and when he disappeared overnight from her life, he smattered her heart. In the relaxing Spanish setting; the sizzles that were missing from Carlotta’s life are finally exploding around her like fireworks. And it means she has a lot of thinking and re-evaluating of her life ahead of her. She needs to dissect all parts of it and see what’s really important.
I did find that the direction the story was heading in was predictable however that didn’t detract from my love of it in the slightest. It is such a character driven book that the journey to the destination is what matters. And the theme of finding balance between work and personal life is one that I’m sure one that lots of people will relate to and engage with.
Overall this book is warm, romantic, and full of emotion with characters that spring to life before your eyes. I love that it’s not just a fluffy read but it has a great mix of serious and relevant topics alongside the fluff so that it an attractive and compelling read. It has summer read scribbled all over it and just screams to be added to your beach bag.
|Did I feel it?|
Who should read If You Were Me:
I’d highly recommend this for all lovers of contemporary fiction especially if you like characters that are strong, intelligent and engaging. Also recommended to you if you like Irish or Spanish settings as these were a highlight of the book for me. Fans of authors such as JoJo Moyes, Carmel Harrington and Patricia Scanlan should also appreciate this book.
Thanks to Bookbridgr and Headline Books for giving me a copy of this book in exchange of an honest, unbiased review.