Today I start my Christmas shopping list of book recommendations. They are in no particular order, just as I come across them.
The first is ‘Belfast Girls’, by Gerry McCullough. Published by Night Publishing.
Three girls, friends from childhood. Supermodel Sheila Doherty is kidnapped. Can John Branagh rescue her? Her friend, Phil, is arrested. Mary takes an overdose.
Sheila, Phil and Mary, of different religions, meet as children and throughout their lives and loves remain close friends.
Sheila, a skinny, ginger-haired child, hates her own appearance. But she grows up, wins a beauty contest and to her amazement becomes a world-famous model. Many men love Sheila, but only one matters to her – her ex-boyfriend, John Branagh – who thinks Sheila is a promiscuous slut.
Phil has other problems. She is deeply in love with Davy Hagan, a drug-dealer (one of many who have sprung up since the ceasefires). Phil is torn miserably between her hatred of drug-dealing, and her love for Davy.
Mary, at first a wild child, moves from underage drinking to hard drugs. But she ODs, narrowly escaping death, and begins to re-evaluate her life and her beliefs.
When Sheila is kidnapped by mistake, John realises she still matters desperately to him. Ignoring the risk, he follows to try to rescue Sheila.
The police discover a gun and a consignment of drugs in the flat Phil shares with Davy, and Phil is arrested.
“This is a character-driven story about the three women, their relationships with men and each other, and how they became who they are today. The setting is unusual but intriguing to American audiences, who might not know much about the political situation in Ireland.” said the publisher, Harper Collins.
“the depths of the world Gerry has crafted are yet to be experienced in one chapter alone we begin to see only the edges.” Suzannah Burke, author of ‘Dudes Down Under’ and ‘Empty Chairs’.
“A world of glitter and privilege, full of promise and promises … and lies. And a nightmare.” Diane Nelson, author of ‘Mounted Exercises.’
What I think is:
‘Belfast Girls’ is a great mixture of chick lit and thriller, two worlds colliding managed convincingly by Gerry. A book to get absorbed in while curled up safely by the fire.