Old flames, new temptations . . .
With only a few weeks to go until her Dublin wedding, Molly Jackson is happily anticipating married life with Declan, her boyfriend of four years. Her sister Laura has all the arrangements firmly in hand, from the designer dresses to the prestigious venue; and if Molly would have been happier with something a little more low-key, she can hardly complain. She’s got everything she ever wanted: her perfect job, as an agony aunt for online magazine Teenage Kix; Declan, the love of her life; and, in Belle, Oliver, Rory and Laura, a loving and warm, if slightly eccentric family.
Then Declan drops his bombshell: he has to go abroad, on business. The wedding must be postponed. Hurt, and reeling from the shock, Molly is seeing Declan off at the airport when she bumps into Luke Fortune. Luke, her childhood sweetheart, left the country when they were both eighteen. It’s been almost twelve years, and Molly thought she had moved on. But, seeing Luke again, she realises that she has a window of opportunity, while Declan is away, to put a few of the ghosts in her past to rest . . .
Our journey begins on the way to the airport. Molly is driving Declan, he’s on his way for the interview that will lead him abroad. At the airport, Molly makes eye-contact with childhood sweetheart Luke and so begins her journey of not only healing her heart from a sad loss but to also finding out where her heart truly belongs.
As we get to find out more about Molly, we also get to know the members who make up her family. Her father Oliver is still making the most of exploring life and mother Belle is very perceptive and intuitive about her children. I found the Jackson’s Sunday brunch fascinating – it’s open house and they all get the opportunity to maintain their links. We get to know more about the people through their interactions with each other.
Molly’s older sister Laura and her family also figure quite strongly in the story. Laura fell pregnant at 19 and married, the twins Ashling and Adam are now 14. Life isn’t going exactly in the way she expected. In both families, Laura is well-known for her nagging and always finding something wrong. She has a tendency to act superior and although materialistic, we see a slipping of her mask. We follow Laura as she fights against her feelings, trying to find her way in life. I loved the sibling relationship between Molly and Laura.
I have to say that Colette Caddle portrays the angst of teenage years so well - how Laura’s children interact with her is so spot on! ………….. as the parent you are seen as the enemy and the author captures this brilliantly.
It’s not often I read about the male point of view in a story but the author has included this for Laura’s husband Robert – it made him very real and worked well.
Not only do we get involved in the people’s lives already mentioned but Molly’s best friend Ellen and her life is also another plot running alongside. Ellen is pregnant, the father, Andrew, is not around. The one and only complaint I have in this story is that I would love to know what unfolds for Ellen, I was so hoping we would get to see something more for her!
We don’t see much of Declan (as he’s working abroad). We get to know more about the men in her life from conversations Molly has with the important people around her.
Molly’s career was chosen as a result of the sadness she carries in her heart and even though a family member thinks she’s wasting her skills, it is the role of agony aunt on Teenage Kix that is quite pivotal at one point in the story. Another part of the story that had me gripped!
Not every detail about ‘the ghosts’ in Molly’s past are revealed until we’re near the end. We are told some things as the story progresses. In fact, I thought my guess was accurate but I didn’t foresee the whole of the experience. It had me on the edge of my seat.
Another thing that hooked me in Always on my Mind was that each time something started to settle, another thing happened to rock the boat. This kept me avidly turning the pages, wanting to find out where we were going. I found this quite emotional and admit to tears in places!
I really didn’t know which man Molly would choose – would it be fiancée Declan, childhood sweetheart Luke ……………or ……….. Gareth?
Always on my Mind is a fabulous story of family, love and friendships. I was really involved with the characters and reluctantly turned the pages towards the end, as I didn’t want to say goodbye to the characters and their lives. In my world, there is no higher accolade than that!
I would like to thank the author for choosing me to win this signed copy.
Always on my Mind was published by Simon & Schuster Ltd in paperback on 7 July 2011.
You can find out more about Colette Caddle on her website.