Monday, April 13, 2015

The Pink Pepper Tree by Muriel Bolger

3 Star

June Cusack has always enjoyed making plans - for her flourishing career, for exotic holidays with her closest friend Danielle, and for her future with Peter Braga, the love of her life.
But as Peter prepares for the grand re-opening of his fashionable restaurant The Pink Pepper Tree, June finds her boyfriend increasingly distracted. So when Danielle suggests a relaxing trip to Monte Carlo, she jumps at the chance.
However, while on holiday, the events of one terrible night change her forever and when June returns home, the life she and Peter had built together slowly starts to disintegrate.
Heartbroken, June forges ahead with new plans for her professional life. But she is about to discover that happiness and love come when you least expect it, and from the most unlikely places.

Kathryn - 3 Star

I was underwhelmed by this novel at first because I didn’t immediately bond with June’s voice. There was something a bit light about the way she interacted with her best friend Danielle as well as with long-term boyfriend Peter.  The dialogue came across as incomplete which didn’t lend to the character development. At first I didn’t even realise that they were all still in their 20’s?  However, I kept reading because I became interested in the girls’ trip to Europe and wanted to see how their holiday would reflect the route they’d had experienced as younger women.  While they didn’t end up re-creating that back-packing trip at all, the holiday was fun and gave me a better sense of their friendship.  It also propelled the plot into a more intriguing read…

The most significant part of the novel for me was actually June’s career in the wine industry.  I loved that Muriel Bolger took her all over the world for her education and I felt close to the experiences with her.  It wasn’t until well into the story that I remembered the first chapter and the strange scenario that played out.  I’d completely forgotten about the man we meet in that setting and once he was re-introduced I did become interested in finding out how June had ended up in that fateful scene.

While the story does have a happy ending there wasn’t a lot of joy in it for June throughout. I found myself very sad for her despite her wonderful support system.  It’s not as light a novel as I’d initially expected and upon reflection now I actually got a lot out of it.  I wish my relationship with June had been established earlier so I could have really gotten the most out of the book. I would definitely read another novel by the author, there was much that I respected in her writing.

Thank you to Hachette Books Ireland for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

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