Book Review: Hush Hush by Gabrielle Mullarkey

Hush Hush by Gabrielle Mullarkey
Release Date: 17th November 2014
Publisher: Corazon Books
Buy: Kindle
Rating:
5 star

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Widowed a year ago, thirtysomething Angela has retreated into her shell, reluctant to dip a toe back in the job market – let alone the dating game. Between them, her bossy mum and her best friend gently nudge Angela back to life, persuading her to find a job and even try a solo holiday – which ends with a luggage mix-up and an encounter with a rugged Irishman called Conor.
Back home, Angela resolves to take her new romance slowly, particularly as Conor’s (non-holiday) baggage includes the original ‘child from hell’ and a temperamental ex-wife with Pre-Raphaelite hair. Since Angela’s never liked winging it, is a future with Conor too uncertain to contemplate?
But as she’s about to discover, her old life was far less secure than she thought. And the past won’t let go until she confronts its long-buried secret.

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Recently widowed Angela tries her best to convince herself that she’s happy being alone and hiding from the world after the sudden death of her husband, Robert. However, after some (forceful) encouragement from her mother and best friend, Angela comes to realise that maybe it is time she got back out into the ‘real’ world once again.
She finds a job working for a magazine and even ventures off on holiday (Alone! Although admittedly the holiday is a ruse to delay her actually starting her new job…) It’s on the journey home that Angela meets Conor, a rough-and-ready Irishman (who apparently ate one of her contact lenses.)
Despite assuming she’ll never see Conor again once she’s off the aeroplane, fate intervenes when there’s a mix up with their luggage and the more Angela gets to know Conor the more she starts to like him and his rugged good looks.
However there are one or two things Angela doesn’t like; such as Conor’s evil son Shane, and the constant presence of his ex-wife lurking in the background. Surely this romance can only spell disaster? It’s certainly a learning curve for Angela, someone who has only ever known a secure and steady relationship.
Although it soon appears that Angela’s past wasn’t as idyllic as she first thought and she’s carrying around some rather big secrets herself. Can she overcome the fears and regrets from her past to make a go of her future?

Hush Hush is not your usual woman-loses-husband-and-turns-life-around story. There’s so much more depth and intrigue to it than that and it was one of those novels that I couldn’t read fast enough. Not only because I desperately wanted to know what happened to these quirky and interesting characters, but also because Gabrielle Mullarkey’s writing is extremely entertaining, making the story easy to glide through.
The thing that I liked most about this novel is that I found it to be massively real. The storyline is real, the feelings conveyed are real, the sadness is real, the anxieties we face are real and the characters are real. Angela is the ultimate character that you can relate to and I really felt like I was inside her head and could identify with how she was feeling. She was scared, flawed, complex and uncertain – just like the rest of us. Gabrielle really brought her to life for me through her writing and as with any good heroine; I was desperately hoping that things would be ok for her in both love and life.
The characters were really well formed; Conor and Sadie exasperated me at times but they made me smile too and I loved Conor’s Irish dialogue! Despite initially disliking Shane, I found I had a soft spot for him eventually and Conor’s ex-wife Kate is the kind of woman you’ll love to hate.
It was clear that Angela was hiding some secret from an event that had happened in the past, hence her reluctance to get a job and travel on the tube, but you don’t find out what this is right until the very end. In fact, many things come to light right at the last minute and I loved the fact that certain secrets are kept under wraps until the end. (It completely justifies the title, Hush Hush in so many ways.) There’s just the right amount of twists and turns in the story to keep it both realistic and a page-turner at the same time.

This is the kind of novel that will make you laugh, make you cry, make you think and turn you into a fan of Gabrielle Mullarkey for certain. It’s poignant, witty, truthful and full of elements of surprise. I loved it.

A huge thank you to publishers Corazon Books for sending me a copy of Hush Hush to read and review.

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Gabrielle MullarkeyFor the past 20 years, I’ve worked as a sub-editor on all sorts of titles, from women’s weeklies to the trade press, contributing articles and opinion pieces to a host of publications alongside the ‘day job’. For example, I used to write the TV review column for MsLondon magazine (sadly, now defunct) as well as share my views on everything from my skills at Irish dancing (Michael Flatley can rest easy) to ‘why he’s not calling you any more’.
And all that time, I’ve been writing stories. While working as PA in Holland, I started sending them to magazines in the UK – the first one I ever sold was a romantic comedy to Woman’s World.
I’ve now had over 1,000 published, which have appeared regularly in Woman, Woman’s Own, Woman’s Weekly,best, Take a Break, Take a Break Fiction Feast, and that’s life, as far afield as South Africa and Australia.

In 1999, I had my first novel published, Hush Hush, followed, in 2001, by A Tale of Two Sisters.
Hush Hush is now also available on Amazon, updated as an e-book, published by Corazon Books. A Tale of Two Sisters will follow in 2015.
In 2014, I was among the first students in the UK to be awarded an MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes. I know that writing can contribute to wellbeing and personal development, because it’s been crucial to me in both areas. One of my aims is to help others discover similar benefits by tapping into their inner scribbler – currently, I facilitate creative writing for Mind, the mental health charity.
Meanwhile, my third novel is soon to seen the light of day – and there will always be more stories!

Gabrielle MullarkeyWebsiteTwitterGoodreads |

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