I’m absolutely delighted to be part of the launch celebrations for The Girl I Used To Know by Faith Hogan because Faith has previously provided a couple of lovely posts for Linda’s Book Bag but until now I haven’t had chance to squeeze in a review of one of her books. You’ll find a post all about character in My Husband’s Wives here, and another all about secrets, from when The Secrets That We Keep was released, here.
The Girl I Used To Know
A beautiful, emotive and spell-binding story of two women who find friendship and second chances when they least expect it. Perfect for the fans of Patricia Scanlan.
Amanda King and Tess Cuffe are strangers who share the same Georgian house, but their lives couldn’t be more different.
Amanda seems to have it all, absolute perfection. She projects all the accoutrements of a lady who lunches. Sadly, the reality is a soulless home, an unfaithful husband and a very lonely heart.
By comparison, in the basement flat, unwanted tenant Tess has spent a lifetime hiding and shutting her heart to love.
It takes a bossy doctor, a handsome gardener, a pushy teenager and an abandoned cat to show these two women that sometimes letting go is the first step to moving forward and new friendships can come from the most unlikely situations.
My Review of The Girl I Used To Know
Tess and Amanda are at loggerheads and hate each other. However, they may have more in common than they thought.
Never having read Faith Hogan before, I was amazed at how much reading The Girl I Used to Know felt like returning to a favourite author. The writing felt familiar, loved and welcome. Faith Hogan has a style that is smooth and effective, drawing in the reader to the story without them actually realising they are reading a work of fiction. I loved the way in which events from the past were threaded through, providing insight into the lives and characters of Tess and Amanda and helping me understand them as people.
In fact, I was instantly invested in Tess and Amanda’s stories, even though I didn’t much like Tess to begin with as I thought she was too self-centred and delusional. The intense sadness of their later lives touched me so that I was desperate for each to have a happy outcome. I think there are aspects of both their characters that anyone could relate to as life doesn’t always pan out as we hope or expect. Although both Douglas and Richard are unpleasant men, they too felt real and three dimensional and their negative personalities were well complemented by the characters of Stephen and Carlos giving very balanced perspectives in men’s behaviour through highly skilful writing.
Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed the story in its own right and found it very entertaining, particularly because I cared so much what happened to Tess and Amanda, it was the themes of The Girl I Used To Know that gave me the greatest satisfaction. Our routine lives can make us lose sight of who we really are or who we wanted to be when we were young and the way in which Faith Hogan wove in the subtle changes we can make so that all is not lost was beautifully handled. Reading The Girl I Used To Know restored my belief that age is just a frame of mind and that anyone can fulfil a dream. I thought that friendship, materialism and relationships were brilliantly explored, giving real prescience and understanding for the reader to apply in their own life.
It has been far too long for me to discover Faith Hogan’s writing. The Girl I Used To Know has shown me just what I have been missing. It’s a lovely book.
About Faith Hogan
Faith Hogan was born in Ireland. She gained an Honours Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree from University College, Galway. She has worked as a fashion model, an event’s organiser and in the intellectual disability and mental health sector.
She was a winner in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair – an international competition for emerging writers.
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