Sunday, 15 August 2010

The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern

GENRE: mystery/contemporary romance

The magical new novel from number one bestseller Cecelia Ahern. Tamara Goodwin has always got everything she's ever wanted. Born into a family of wealth, she grew up in a mansion with its own private beach, a wardrobe full of designer clothes and all that a girl could ever wish for. She's always lived in the here and now, never giving a second thought to tomorrow. But then suddenly her dad is gone and life for Tamara and her mother changes forever. Left with a mountain of debt, they have no choice but to sell everything they own and move to the country. Nestled next to Kilsaney Castle, their gatehouse is a world away from Tamara's childhood. With her mother shut away with grief, and her aunt busy tending to her, Tamara is lonely and bored and longs to return to Dublin. When a travelling library passes through Kilsaney Demesne, Tamara is intrigued. Her eyes rest on a mysterious large leather bound tome locked with a gold clasp and padlock. What she discovers within the pages takes her breath away and shakes her world to its core.

Call me biased, but I just love everything that Cecelia Ahern writes. So far, she hasn’t disappointed me because, again, she wrote a fantastic novel.

This novel deviates from her usual chick-lit stories. Well, I personally wouldn’t label them as chick-lit, more like contemporary romances, but although this story features some romance, it is definitely not primarily a romance novel by far. It involves elements of mystery, suspense and drama, which brings it close to the thriller genre. It’s a mix, really. Not quite a thriller, but close.

Told from Tamara’s point of view, we learn about Tamara Goodwin’s extraordinary story that started as something completely ordinary. Tamara used to have it all, being the only child of wealthy parents. She was spoiled and quite unpleasant because she thought she could just do and say anything she wanted. But things change when her dad dies, debts amass and their properties need to be sold. Reduced to a state of poverty and despair, Tamara and her mother have to move to Tamara’s aunt and uncle in the country. Their new home, a house next to Kilsaney Castle in the village of Kilsaney Dumesne (based on a real castle, Killeen Castle near Killeen) in the County Meath, is nothing like Dublin. It’s a village with almost no population and nothing fun to do, so for the first time in her life, Tamara is forced to really think, not just about the disasters that have happened to her, but also about her life in general.

Her new life is not easy. She is stuck in Kilsaney Dumesne, with a depressive mother who doesn’t talk anymore and who only sleeps all day, with Uncle Arthur, who is remote and with an overly eager aunt, Rosaleen, who is always breathing down her neck. One day, a travelling library comes by, together with the handsome Marcus, and things suddenly seem better. First of all, there is Marcus, and secondly, she stumbles upon a mysterious book. Once she opens the book with her interesting new friend, Sister Ignatius from the nearby convent, Tamara discovers that the book tells her every day what will happen tomorrow. And here is the question: can tomorrow be changed and should it be changed?

It seems that together with the arrival of the book, things begin to happen. There are a lot of mysteries forming around, something which Tamara doesn’t like, and she is determined to solve them, using her special diary/book as her guide. But things are not so simple and some mysteries are dangerous. Tamara is sucked into a vortex of lies and what she discovers is shocking. I can’t tell you exactly what I’m referring to, because I would give you clues and spoil too much, but in the end, it is all connected to Tamara, who is the linking point of everything, quite unknowingly and unexpectedly. Ahern gave clues, sometimes subtle, sometimes more obvious, but I still guessed wrong. I was very close to the truth, but I missed it a notch, which is great, because I love surprises in literature.

I also loved the way the suspense was building and how frustrated and very curious I was, on Tamara’s behalf. Really, a great plot, with a great twist. I also love the “Irishness” of the novel. Ahern always manages to make her novels very Irish and I really like that. After all, she’s an Irish writer and I’m glad she doesn’t hide it. The characters are really great and interesting to read about too, especially Tamara, who starts as a spoiler teenage brat, but goes through a lot of change. In the end, her essence and the typical spark of Tamara are still there, but she is wiser and more mature. She finally learns what’s really important in life, what actually matters. I’d day that Tamara is one of my favourite Ahern characters so far. The boys are not that outstanding because that’s not meant to be a love story primarily, but they are sweet, as always.

I definitely recommend this book to all Cecelia Ahern fans, and to everyone who likes a good mystery and a bit of romance and, of course, magic.


READ FOR: Ireland Challenge 2010


Vicki said...

I'm one of the few that wasn't all that keen on P.S, but I loved this. I really liked Tamara and her developement through the book. Great review!

Shan said...

This was the first book I read by her and I really enjoyed it, I'm definitely going to check out more of her stuff.

Julie P said...

Nice review, Irena! This book does sound intriguing....

Blodeuedd said...

I wouldn't call them chick-lit either, I have only seen the PS movie, but so not chick-lit vibe

Bookalicious Ramblings said...

Great review of a FANTASTIC book! This is the only Cecelia Ahern book that I read, but I absolutely adored it and it's making me want to read the rest of her books too!

The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

I'll admit that I've never been keen on Ahern (I've never actually read any of her books because there are so many books I am excited about) but your review has me very interested. I'm putting this on my list and hopefully I'll get to it soon.

Dot said...

I enjoyed this but for me it isn't my favourite book of hers, I found it really hard to identify with the main character.

Jan von Harz said...

I have never read Ahern's books but this one sounds like one I would thoroughly enjoy. Fantastic review.

Katie Edwards said...

This is my favourite Ahern book that I've read so far - somehow it reminds me of the books I used to borrow from the library when I was a teenager and lose myself in. Great story.

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