First published in paperback in 2010 by Headline Review
An imprint of Headline Publishing Group
Britt McDonagh, hard-nosed divorce lawyer, has written a romance novel entitled "The Perfect Man" and it has hit all the best seller lists. She agrees to talk about her novel and offer some writing tips on board a cruise ship during a two-week Valentine Cruise and takes her single-mom sister, Mia, with her to act as her PA.
Britt has a hard time reconciling her hard-hearted lawyer self with her softer, romantic self, so she writes the novel under the name Brigitte Martin and presents herself to the world as a glamorous woman, which is quite unlike the heartbroken divorced woman she actually is.
Mia's past includes a passionate affair in Guatemala which produced a daughter. The relationship never sustained itself, but four years on Mia still loves Alejo and can't move on.
"The Perfect Man" is, of course, a romance novel; what else could it be when a Valentine Cruise is so conducive to love? As usual O'Flanagan has hit the nail on the head in the romance department.
Also as usual, O'Flanagan delves deep into family relationships. The unfolding story of Britt and Mia - who had never been exceptionally close but were now roomies for the duration of the cruise - show us exactly how siblings can be.
O'Flanagan also takes us inside the life of a best-selling novelist; the doubts of a writer, how to take an idea and make it into a book, and what happens when the writing takes over. Perhaps O'Flanagan was referring to herself when she wrote this paragraph after Britt questions herself on what to do with her book's characters:
"They're not real people, she reminded herself sharply. I can do whatever I like with them. But she knew she couldn't. She knew that they were the only ones who were calling the shots. She just hoped they knew what they were doing."
I knew what I was doing when I purchased this book - Sheila O'Flanagan never, ever disappoints.