Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Review: Luck Be a Lady by Audra North

3 stars
Release Date: 23/01/16
I received a free ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. My opinion is my own.

It took me a while to get into Luck be a Lady, and I didn't enjoy it as much as Audra North's other books, particularly my gold standard, Giving It Up

Set in Ireland, Luck Be A Lady is the story of Aoife Gallagher and Michael Faraday (like the scientist). They were childhood friends, until Aoife overheard something that sent her running. Fifteen years later, after Aoife has built up an internationally successful cosmetics company based in the US, the two are in Dublin. Michael makes contact when he thinks Aoife might be able to help him professionallly, but he soon realises that he's interested in more than her connections.

My main problem with with Luck be a Lady was that the relationship between between Aoife and Michael was on the weak side. First, a miscommunication kept them apart for 15 years. To North's credit, the two of them got this sorted out quickly and in a pretty straight-forward manner. However, after that, we keep being told that they really enjoy being together, but their purported connection is told and not shown. To me, it doesn't feel like there's much extended dialogue or many extended interactions between Aoife and Michael shown entirely on the page. We're not shown that they have a good time together, instead Aoife informs us that when she is "with Michael, [they] hav[e]...fun simply talking" (loc. 1242) and "it was amazing to her, how easy it was to be with him....She loved talking to him, laughing with him..." (loc. 1651).  And big moments, like the one where they essentially formalise their relationship and decide that they're together, even if it's long-distance, take place off-page: 
They were going to try to make it work, though.  They'd agreed it was worth a shot, even if it meant a long-distance relationship and they'd only been together for a few weeks....They'd barely slept last night, talking and trying to store up enough moments to last them through the next few weeks apart. This morning, they'd said goodbye....
If I'd actually seen this conversation and some tender goodbyes play out, I think I would have been much more emotionally invested in the black moment and resolution of their relationship. 

As it was, much of the interesting, potentially hashing-out-a-relationship stuff got skipped over in favour of drama from external sources, which I didn't like, but which prompted both Michael and Aoife to think about themselves, their emotions and their relationships, which I did like, although I still felt this was somewhat inhibited by the weakness of their romance.

Although their relationship wasn't everything it could have been, both Michael and Aoife were characters with interesting facets. Michael's passion for Ireland and her history was sweet, while Aoife's experience as a teenager has led her to value and prioritise phyiscal beauty. The exploration of this theme was well done, as Aoife slowly challenged this mentality with Michael's help. Similarly, I enjoyed the way Aoife, having built her business up, slowly comes to terms with the fact that she is no longer enjoying her work and explores other options.

Overall, quick and easy summer (or, I suppose, winter if you are in the Northern hemisphere) read but not all that I'd hoped, given the strength of North's previous work. 

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