Carla Caruso, Cliquemedia
Delicious. That is the best way I can think of to describe One Day in May. No wonder it’s a number one bestseller.
I must admit it took me a few attempts to get stuck into this tome – sidelined by other tantalising books and magazines – but once I got past the first few chapters, I was smitten.
Aside from British writer Catherine Alliott’s gorgeous way with words – “beetling” to describe walking, being one of them – it is her honest portrayal of the characters that really throw you into its world. There is no glossing over the traits of family and friends depicted – as in life, they all have their flaws. As well, the main character has a rich “back story”, which makes the journey she takes you on even more believable.
The novel revolves around Hattie, a single mother, who has a flourishing antiques business, a teenage son, who is settling at boarding school, and a fling going with a sexy, younger man.
But, her world is shaken when her job takes her back to the idyllic village of Little Crandon, where painful memories of her first love – a married politician – emerge. She bumps into her ex’s widow – and his gorgeous, younger brother.
Unlike many chick-lit novels, Alliott keeps you guessing right until the end, with twists and turns abounding. The protagonist even tells you – the reader – a white lie along the way, which will leave you a tad shocked when all is revealed.
There is nothing not to love about this book – Alliott has a truly magical, unique way of storytelling (hence, her bestselling success).
On Alliott herself, a blurb at the back of the book says she writes with the nearest pen in exercise books, “either in the garden or on a sofa”. She lives in the English countryside, with “a menagerie of horses, cows, chickens and dogs”, adding: “Some of her household have walk-on parts in her novels, but only the chickens would probably recognise themselves.” Ah, as gorgeously depicted as the book is throughout.
Available now: Penguin RRP$32.95