05 December 2010

Stand By Me

By Sheila O'Flanagan
Published by Headline Review
an imprint of Headline Publishing Group
First published in 2010

Dominique Brady, named after St. Dominic and pronounced the same way, was brought up in an ultra-religious Catholic home in Ireland. Her brother, Gabriel, is being groomed for the priesthood and his parents couldn't be prouder. Dominique, however, has no time to waste on religion and gets on with being a teenager in the 1980s, eventually getting a job in a diner where she meets her future husband.

Dominique's life changes over the years and she becomes a wealthy socialite, raising money for charities, and throwing the best parties. But life is never an easy path and Domino, as she is now known, has serious choices to make along the way. Of course, that's where the title of the book comes into play: if you're married, do you always stand by each other? If you're a family, do you always stick up for each other? When is it necessary to stand by your friends?

O'Flanagan always writes an interesting story, often with complex layers and digging deep into marital and family life. As well, O'Flanagan's supporting characters are well written and some become as important as the main characters in how the reader feels about them and how their lives will turn out.

Stand By Me is a bit of a saga, covering Domino's life from her late teen years into her forties. It dissects love, depression, betrayal, and religion, yet doesn't become boring or preachy. O'Flanagan has turned out yet another book that provides the reader with a good storyline, some thought-provoking moments, and an overall enjoyable read.