Jolly japes and scrapes

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - - Books - MAR­GARET CAR­RAGHER

AS a plot de­vice to cut straight to the chase an emer­gency coun­selling ses­sion takes some beat­ing. Just a few pages in to Ally Bun­bury’s lat­est novel we al­ready know that its hero­ine Elodie Gold is a frus­trated artist who lives rent-free in her mother Ju­lia’s Lon­don man­sion; has nu­mer­ous is­sues with said mother, not least the fact that she is thor­oughly spoilt and has no time for Elodie’s adorable brother Max; has re­cently bro­ken up with her ob­nox­ious mil­lion­aire busi­ness­man boyfriend Do­minic Finchly; and has just wit­nessed the death of a junkie in a Lon­don bou­tique — hence the emer­gency coun­selling ses­sion.

From here the nar­ra­tive moves through sev­eral short-lived at­tempts by Elodie at gain­ful em­ploy­ment dur­ing which she meets the dev­il­ishly hand­some Luke Hamp­ton who seems in­stantly smit­ten. Then, fol­low­ing yet an­other row, Ju­lia cuts off Elodie’s al­lowance be­fore swan­ning off with her live-in lover Lorenzo. Mean­while, Elodie’s brother Max re­turns from LA to dis­cover that his girl­friend Char­lotte has had a baby and is liv­ing in a hippy com­mune. Now landed with his baby daugh­ter while Char­lotte takes time out to ‘find her­self ’, Max looks to Elodie for guid­ance; and with lit­tle choice given their im­pe­cu­nity, the pair de­camp to Bel­lam­ore, their grand­fa­ther’s grand Irish res­i­dence where they spent much of their child­hood sum­mers.

Once a shrine to mon­eyed splen­dour, Bel­lam­ore’s thread­bare ele­gance re­flects that of its owner who swans around with his much younger lover and their twin ter­ri­ers Bon­nie and Clyde, swill­ing sloe gin and throw­ing par­ties at the drop of a hat. Such blithe, handto-mouth liv­ing is all very well, Elodie reck­ons, but as the plas­ter crum­bles off her an­ces­tral home she won­ders how long it can con­tinue. And can she pos­si­bly turn it around?

With its epic cast and de­light­fully silly japes this novel is pure Jilly Cooper. I can’t say bet­ter than that.

RO­MANCE In­fi­delity Ally Bun­bury Pool­beg €14.99

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.