Review: Once Lost by Ber Carroll

Once Lost Book Cover Once Lost
Ber Carroll
Fiction

Are some things better left unfound?

Best friends Louise and Emma grew up next door to each other in a grim inner-city suburb of Dublin. Now Louise, an art conservator, is thousands of miles away in Sydney, restoring a beautiful old painting. She meets Dan, whose family welcome her as one of their own, but she will always feel lost until she finds her mother who walked out when she was just eight years old.

Back in Dublin, Emma is stuck in a job where she is under-appreciated and underpaid, but her biggest worry is her ex-partner, Jamie. Emma has lost so much because of Jamie: her innocence, her reputation, almost her life. Now she is at risk of losing Isla, her young daughter.

So where is Louise's mother? Will Emma ever be free of her ex? Both women frantically search for answers, but when the truth finally emerges it is more shattering than they had ever expected.

Just over a year ago, I read Worlds Apart by Ber Carroll. That book told the story of Erin and Laura, in Ireland and Australia – I loved it. It was so honest, and I was hooked from the beginning, completely wrapped up in how their stories were unfolding.

So, when I got an email about reviewing Carroll’s latest book, Once Lost, I was excited. On it’s face, it seemed like it would be just as good as Worlds Apart – two women, half a world away from one another, dealing with life, and everything it throws at them. I wasn’t disappointed!

Emma and Louise are both very well written, and the reader immediately sympathises with their situations, even though they may not have experienced anything similar themselves. It’s not easy to write characters that are so realistic, so Carroll should be commended for that. The characters were quite reminiscent of Erin and Laura in Worlds Apart though; even insofar as they had the same initial!

Also beautifully written are the descriptions of life in Ireland and Australia. Being an Aussie girl myself, I always love it when Australia features in a story, and I’ve visited Ireland too, so I was happy to be reminded of my adventures there.

This is definitely a book I’d recommend. A little more serious than ‘chick lit’, this is fiction that is worth reading in a cozy chair with a warm cuppa. Now, please excuse me, I’m off to hunt down some of Carroll’s other books!

Amazon

I received a copy of Once Lost by Ber Carroll from CLP in exchange for a review and my honest opinion. 

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REVIEW: Worlds Apart by Ber Carroll

Worlds Apart Book Cover Worlds Apart
Ber Carroll
Fiction
368

Two women worlds apart ... 
one secret that changes everything. 

Erin and Laura are cousins and best friends who share a love of languages and travel. 

Erin, a French teacher in Dublin, reaches crisis point and drops everything to move to Australia. In Sydney, not only does she land the perfect job, but she meets the perfect man. Finally, her life is falling into place. Except Sydney isn't home, and never can be. 

Back in Ireland, Laura is struggling. Her husband appears distant, her work life is spinning out of control and her daughter's strange new nanny is undermining her at every turn. She longs to travel in Erin's footsteps, to drop everything and run far away. But these are dangerous thoughts for a mother and wife. 

As Erin and Laura desperately try to find their place in the world, a shocking family secret comes to light, and nothing will ever be the same again. 

I received a copy of this Worlds Apart by Ber Carroll in exchange for a review and my honest opinion.

Worlds Apart captivated me from the first page. Written from the perspectives of cousins Erin and Laura, the girls are struggling to find their place in life.

When Erin begins to crumble under the pressure of what ‘could have been’. What if her mother and father hadn’t fallen ill, and she hadn’t spent the last decade putting her life on hold? She takes a leap of faith, moving to Australia in the hope of finding where she is supposed to be in life. Laura, who loves her company and her little family, is surprised and ashamed to feel desperate to escape too. Overwhelmed by the hectic demands of busy life, her relationships start to suffer and she struggles to find balance and happiness.

Their stories are told in parallel, Erin in Australia and Laura in Ireland. Both women share a love of languages that influences their actions throughout the book; in many ways, their lives echo that of their mothers, who once escaped Ireland to live in the glamour of Paris, but are now both back in Ireland and have an intense impact on the girls. Herself a transplant from Ireland to Australia, Carroll captures the essence my home perfectly. I love it when Australia makes an appearance in a novel!

Beautifully written, Worlds Apart is a captivating novel; the characters are brought to life and immediately the reader feels a connection with them. As their stories unfold, and more of their past is brought to life, we see the girls make decisions that will shape the rest of their lives – I felt a kinship with both of them, myself being unsure of exactly what it is that I should be doing with my life! It was reassuring to read about these two women, after some heartache, working it out.

I would definitely recommend this book to those looking for a more mature version of chick lit; a bit deeper, a little longer, and a tad more thoughtful.

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PS. In case anybody was wondering (as I was), Ber is short for Bernadette – but only her mother calls her that.