Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lagan Love by Peter Murphy

Lagan Love is a general fiction novel.

Janice, a young Canadian girl, has inherited some money from her father's estate and he has stipulated that she is to use this money to study abroad.  Janice chooses Trinity College in Dublin where she is studying History.  Janice is also an artist who loves to paint the local character of Dublin and the interesting people who reside within.

Aiden Greeley is a rising poet who has troubles with the bottle and more women than a man can handle.  Sinead, who befriends Janice at school, is one of his conquests and though Sinead knows the two of them are only ever meant to be lovers, it still hurts when Janice becomes the love of his life.

Gwen is a matriarch of the artistic world and showers her money and her influence on young and upcoming artisans. Aiden is her latest conquest, except she has fallen in love with him, something she is not akin to doing.  Some have likened Gwen to a Lenanshee, an ancient Irish legend states that they are women who seduce men via their arts, the Lenanshee will promote them and make them "famous" but it comes at a price, those who fall in love with a Lenanshee are doomed to die at a young age and usually at the peak of their careers.

When Aiden and Janice fall in love, their lives seem blissful and complete as they dream of their future painting and writing beside each other.  However, Gwen is a jealous woman and draws a wedge between the two lovers.  She turns her back on Aiden leaving his career in the dust and focuses her attentions on Janice.  The two lovers part ways after an altercation and Aiden moves to England after being paid off by Gwen.  Gwen wraps Janice into her fold and she forgets everyone in her life, including her life back in Canada.

I would give this book a two and a half stars out of five.  Though the slang and lingo was a chore making heads or tails of, there is a lot of Irish grammar within the pages, it was needed to show the reader the difference of cultures, language and customs of the Irish people.  There is moderate to heavy expletives throughout the pages but I believe that it works for the characters.

I didn't really get a sense of the story, at times I could see where the author wanted to go with the plot but it was a hodgepodge of mixed ideas and emotions all smashed together upon the pages leaving the reader to make sense out of the discombobulation found within. 

I didn't understand why the character of Sinead and her parents were even involved with the story, if their whole section was to be removed from the pages, you wouldn't even notice their removal, they had nothing to do with Janice and her journey.  I believe it was supposed to be Janice's friend and confidante, but one cannot be either after meeting briefly over coffee, their whole relationship did not work for me and only added to the confusion of the story.  I actually got the impression that the only reason Sinead and her parents were in the story was to give the author the opportunity to lash out against the buggering in the Catholic Church, I believe a more intellectual way of handling this delicate subject could have been found and make the story richer for it!

I did not like the character of Janice whatsoever, I thought her to be manipulative, self-centered and demeaning to her friends and family.  I was hoping her whole world would come crashing down around her and it was the reason why I continued to read the story.  I was quite disappointed in the ending, we were left with the wonders and thoughts of three drunken fools who didn't share enough information with the reader regarding the outcomes of all the characters involved.

I did like reading about the myths and legends and being a Canadian myself, it was neat reading about Toronto within the pages and knowing exactly where the author is talking about.  I did like Gwen and wished we could have seen more of her and her back story, we were not given enough information to access what the author was trying to do with the character and I believe she should have played a larger role in the whole charade. 

I enjoyed many of the back story characters, the nutty lady in the hat and Gerry are two examples of fine secondary antagonists.  Without the two feeding the reader with pertinent information, you would have been lost in a sea of feck this and feck that and wishing you had a life boat to cling onto. 

** Disclosure: I did not accept any compensation from the sponsors other than review copies, my views are my own, reviewed by me..as I see it~!! **