A Hundred Pieces of Me was the first book of Dillon’s that I read (I suspect I was drawn to it as I process slight hoarding tendencies). The prospect of Gina having a clear out and keeping only a hundred things was appealing, as it got me thinking about what I would keep.
‘All her life, she realised, she’d been creating this paper trail of possessions, hoping that they’d keep her attached to her own memories, but now she’d found out they didn’t.’
Having started the divorce process after discovering that Stuart, her husband of 5 years has been having an affair. Gina finds herself moving to a much smaller flat, causing her to revalue what is important, especially when her annual oncology check up reminds Gina of her biggest regret.
All I Ever Wanted starts when Caitlin’s husband Patrick, leaves her and their children for a job in Newcastle after suspecting her of infidelity. Their 4 year old daughter, Nancy retreats into herself during this transition causing her to develop Selective Mutism, which leaves her particularly vulnerable.
‘The thought of never hearing that sound again, that sheer joy, made her want to die inside. She looked up and saw Eva’s eyes were full of tears too. Without speaking, Eva – her chilly sister-in-law with the child-unfriendly carpets – reached out a hand and squeezed her fingers. Neither of them said a word, but each understood something that was too powerful and indefinable for words in any case.”
Eva is living alone with Bumble & Bee, her pugs following the death of Michael, her actor husband who has left her with a dilemma which is causes her to question the nature of their marriage. Eva is Patrick’s older sister, so it’s ideal when her home is perfectly located to accommodate Patrick, Joel and Nancy during their contact weekend, bringing a whole world of choas, love and questions into her peaceful life.
The Ballroom Class follows 3 very different couples as they learn to dance at Longhampton Memorial Hall, under the watchful eye of Angelica. Lauren and Chris are about to have the wedding of their dreams, Bridget and Frank don’t want to embarrass their daughter on her big day but Bridget’s financial secret could ruin it all. Stressed out Katie and Ross’s marriage is failing quickly so their marriage counsellor suggests they take up a new hobbie in order to reconnect, away from their two young children.
‘Their noses were almost brushing and his breath was warm on her face. They were so close to each other that she had no choice but to look deeply in his face, and for a moment the rest of the room blurred into nothing as the shock of being so intimately connected after months and months of physical detachment swept through every nerve ending in her skin.’
The Secret of Happy Ever After is all about family, Anna is struggling to navigate the difficulties of being a parent to her 3 moody step-children while also trying to find fulfilment in her own life. Especially when 18 year-old Becca’s unplanned pregnancy causes Anna’s own plans for a baby to be derailed. Michelle is an enterprising businesswoman who has left her controlling husband behind, to start a new life who quickly becomes great friends with Anna.
‘Anna developed an immunity to the sound of transatlantic baby crying, but inside it felt as if someone was peeling the skin off her heart…The house felt crowded. Becca’s bump was getting bigger by the day, and there never seemed to be a room that didn’t contain a prengnancy magazine.’
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What items would you keep?