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A Keeper: The Sunday Times Bestseller

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Elizabeth Keane travels with a heavy heart from New York to Buncarragh just north of Kilkenny. Her mother passed away and it is now up to Elizabeth to sort through her things and close up the house. She's a recently divorced mother of seventeen year old Zach. Zach will be spending time with his father in San Francisco during her absence. The story of a daughter returning to Ireland and discovering her identity is moving, but even more so is the story of her mother, who, now dead, brought up Elizabeth on her own in the society where single mothers were not accepted with open hands. Patricia defied the conventions and devoted her life to her daughter. No spoilers here, but the plot is intriguing, and the truth revealed proves that life sometimes prepares for us most extraordinary surprises, just like for Elizabeth. Then”: 32-year-old “spinster,” Patricia Keane, having cared for her ailing mother for 14 years, places a “Lonely Heart” ad seeking male companionship after her mother finally dies. She receives a reply from one Edward Foley of Castle House, and what unfolds reminded me often of Stephen King’s ‘Misery’ - without the gore. Graham Norton has been on TV for years in the UK. He is a comedian who regularly host a chat show and the Eurovision Song Contest. This is his second novel. His first novel I loved so when I seen he had this new novel coming out, I just had to get myself a copy. It's set in Buncarragh, Ireland. The duel storylines gel well together. It's only while you are reading the book, you realise the significance of its title. A story of missed chances, love and loss. A well written book that at one point, i did find a bit far fetched. I did enjoy his first novel, Holding, a bit more than I did this novel. But I will be looking forward to reading more from this Graham Norton in the future.

I didn't listen to the audio version much, but what I did hear, I enjoyed. Five stars to the audio performance. From the bestselling author of HOLDING comes a masterly tale of secrets and ill-fated loves set on the coast of Ireland. one of the more authentic debuts I've read in recent years ... in such an understated manner, eschewing linguistic eccentricity ... in favour of genuine characters and tender feeling ... this is a fine novel ' John Boyne, Irish Times

I can't say much about anyone else in this book because they are not developed well at all. We have Elizabeth's son Zach, her ex-husband, Patricia's ex friend Rosemary and Edward Foley. Don't even get me started on why we get a separate POV for Rosemary, it wasn't necessary and added nothing to the story. Graham Norton has won 9 BAFTAs for Best Entertainment Performance, and Best Entertainment Programme. He presents The Graham Norton Show on BBC1, a show on BBC Radio 2 every Saturday, and is a judge on RuPaul's Drag Race UK. Norton won the Special Recognition Award at the National Television Awards in 2017. This is the 2nd novel I have read by Graham Norton and once again I am so impressed with his writing. Don't be put off by his stage persona and read this book as you would any other author. This is a fabulous little book and I read it from start to finish in one sitting wanting to know more. Magnificent ... his writing is evocative and perfect. His grasp of human loneliness and longing is beautiful and comforting.' MARIAN KEYES The book's setting is Ireland in the present and the 1970s. Maybe I have been reading too much Tana French and Maeve Binchy, but the book didn't feel "Irish" to me. Even Elizabeth didn't. Maybe because she had been away for so long, but there's no mention of her having an accent or how her relatives sound, etc. We get descriptions of the house and farm and that's it.

The writing was not very good I found. I just think that there were too many things happening and that Norton didn't make sure that both POVs worked well. Maybe if there was no Patricia POV that would have helped flesh out Elizabeth's POV more. The book then could have been more reliant on the mystery aspect. I thought that whole thing fizzled out. Elizabeth finds out about things and just does nothing. I just had to shake my head on all of that effort to tell this story for no big pay off.Graham Norton is one of the UK's most treasured comedians and presenters. Born in Clondalkin, a suburb of Dublin, Norton's first big TV appearance was as Father Noel Furlong on Channel 4's Father Ted in the early 1990s. He then secured a prime time slot on Channel 4 with his chat shows So Graham Norton and V Graham Norton. If you haven’t yet read a Graham Norton novel, do yourself a favour and hop to it. He’s a brilliant writer and each of his novels are so different from each other, yet instantly recognisable as his work, offering a reading experience that is both a comfort and good for your soul. I raved about HOLDING two years ago ... A KEEPER is even better. A powerful, very sad story, beautiful writing, two time frames that are perfectly balanced. Outstanding. Will easily be one of my books of 2018.' JOHN BOYNE Living in America has left a void in Elizabeth as she tries to interact with her extended Irish family. She comes across some handwritten letters to her mother from a man by the name of Edward Foley in Cork. Elizabeth is perplexed as to the nature of these letters. This novel will never be nominated for grand literary prizes, but I believe it makes an enjoyable read for those who like a good story with twists and turns.

I had a couple of “eye roll” moments with this book, and I noticed several detail oversights, but this was an excellent read for me. There wasn’t a single character here I didn’t like, or at least sympathize with (including Edward’s deranged mother Catherine) and I loved the setting. Recommended to mystery fans or anyone looking for a riveting read on a rainy day. A Keeper has the vibes of Misery by Stephen King in some respects. What begins as a mother/daughter relationship novel will soon take on a much, much darker theme. And that, Boys and Girls, is a delightful plum pudding.years earlier, a young woman stumbles from a remote stone house, the night quiet but for the tireless wind that circles her as she hurries further into the darkness away from the cliffs and the sea. She has no sense of where she is going, only that she must keep on. I raved about Holding two years ago ... A Keeper is even better. A powerful, very sad story, beautiful writing, two time frames that are perfectly balanced. Outstanding. Will easily be one of my books of 2018.' JOHN BOYNE This compelling new novel confirms Graham Norton's status as a fresh, literary voice, bringing his clear-eyed understanding of human nature and its darkest flaws. The rooms weren’t empty, they were filled with the absence of someone. The dead don’t vanish, they leave a negative of themselves stamped on the world.’ I tend to wait at least a day after finishing a book to post a review, but I am highly annoyed right now and just want to put this book behind me. I maybe at one point while reading this ARC said are you serious and then started muttering to myself about just DNFing it. I don't like to do that with NetGalley reads though, so I may have to rethink on that in the future. This book was all over the place. I thought I was sitting down to read a solid mystery about a woman returning (Elizabeth) to her hometown in Ireland and finding out about her mother's (Patricia) past. Instead we don't really find out about it, we hear bits and pieces via other inconsequential secondary characters. The author throwing Patrica's POV in did nothing to help things. The plot with Elizabeth's son came out of nowhere and just made zero sense. Maybe if Norton actually spent time building up any of these characters I would have cared more.

The flow was not great. The POVs between Patricia and Elizabeth and the mini POVs for Edward and Rosemary just didn't hang together well. I know this is Norton's second novel (his first was soo much better!), but he really left a lot to be desired in this book. Maybe he needs a better editor as well, as there were so many points that could have used further explanation while working on the timeline.Now”: Only child Elizabeth Keane, a 44-year-old college instructor, divorcée and mother to 17-year-old Zach, living in a tiny apartment in Manhattan, travels to Ireland to finalize her recently deceased mother’s estate in Buncarragh. She finds a hidden box of letters filled with clues about the father she never knew. From the bestselling author of HOLDING comes another sweeping, evocative tale set on the coast of Ireland. Perfectly crafted, a beautiful, gripping account of Irish memory and deceit. A terrific achievement.' ANDREW O'HAGAN The next chapter is the "Now" and we meet a young single mom who has just learned her mom has passed. She needs to go to Ireland and clear out her house and wind up her affairs. She is dealing w/the loss of her mom and also with her teen son, whose situation is complicated because she is raising him alone. Perfectly crafted, a beautiful, gripping account of Irish memory and deceit. A terrific achievement .' ANDREW O'HAGAN

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