Staying in with Caroline Grace-Cassidy

My enormous thanks to Janne Moller at Black and White publishing for inviting me to participate in the blog tour for The Unexpected Love Story of Lexie Byrne (aged 39 1/2) by Caroline Grace-Cassidy and for putting me in touch with Caroline so that we could stay in together.

Staying in with Caroline Grace-Cassidy

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Caroline.

Hi Linda! Thanks for having me! I’m coming to you from Barna – a little fishing village in Co. Galway here the sea is roaring this morning.

How wonderful. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.

I LOVE staying in. It’s my new favourite thing! Pre-Covid I was always running around – I’ve learned to slow down – realised that I actually love the couch, TV – a good book and a little glass of something nice in the evenings.  Much more fun!

I’m beginning to think I agree! So, tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?

The Unexpected Love Story of Lexie Byrne (aged 39 1/2) is the book I’ve brought. It’s my new novel and it’s been a blast to write it. It was published on the 12th August by Black & White Publishing, and I’d like to think it’s perfect company for a night in.

Belated happy publication day! What can we expect from an evening in with The Unexpected Love Story of Lexie Byrne (aged 39 ½)?

I’ve wanted to write about a women approaching 40 for a while … to change the narrative about what society expects for us. There is a lot to love and laugh about in this book. Even though Lexie is single and almost 40, she has refused to settle for anything less than ‘the one’.

Quite right too!

Lexie has seen too many people say “I DO” just because, well, “HE’LL DO”.

I think Lexie has a point there!

Men never have to settle. They can procreate into their 70’s! They are considered “a catch” or “distinguished”, but society always tells women over 40 to HURRY UP! TIME IS RUNNING OUT! – when in fact life begins at 40!

I think life can begin at whatever age we want actually…

There is a whole world to explore – Lexie knows this and is happy and content by herself.

So, is Lexie avoiding men?

No. As Lexie says herself: “I don’t need a man, I want a man.” Big difference.


Then on the one night she really doesn’t want to go out …. She meets HIM.

I think this sounds great fun. What inspired you to write The Unexpected Love Story of Lexie Byrne (aged 39 ½)?

The book is highly influenced by DIRTY DANCING. I remember my 16-year-old self watching the movie for the first time and just fell utterly, deeply, head over heels in love with Johnny Castle. That visceral chemistry he had with Baby and the background of steamy Latin dance was HOT! HOT! HOT!

Hmm. Dare I say I’ve never actually seen Dirty Dancing?

Lexie is obsessed with the movie, too – it pushes her to reaffirm her belief in waiting for the one and not settling for second-best. Even if it’s not quite as smooth sailing as she’d expected 😉

True love never is!

 What else have you brought along and why have you brought it?

I have brought my all-time favourite food – Pil Pil Prawns and large hot crusty bread roll to dip. A sumptuous treat for any night in!

Oo. If you’re brining food like that Caroline, you can come again. 

You never go wrong with a freezing cold glass of Pinot Grigio (just as Lexie loves it!). It’s the perfect way to wind down after a busy day.

Ah well, I don’t drink wine as it seems to make me ill so I’ll leave that to you and get myself a Mai Tai instead. I think we need some music too don’t you?

Well, there is only one winner here – the Dirty Dancing soundtrack! No matter which mood I am in when I start listening to it, I will feel instantly fabulous and happy.

Let’s listen to that as we eat then.

In an ideal world, I’d love to bring the actual characters of Baby and Bridget Jones! But if I can’t have them then Jennifer Grey and Renee Zellweger. Just imagine that conversation!!

I think we’d have some fun with them don’t you? Thanks so much for staying in with me to chat about The Unexpected Love Story of Lexie Byrne (aged 39 ½) Caroline. Now, you pour yourself another glass of wine, turn up the music and I’ll give Linda’s Book Bag readers a few more book details.

The Unexpected Love Story of Lexie Byrne (aged 39 ½ )

An irresistible love story . . . delivered with sparkle and wit (in a too-tight red dress!)

Meet Lexie Byrne. The big 4-0 is looming, but she’s perfectly content without a man. How else could she watch movies on repeat and eat crisp sandwiches in bed? Finally free of her love-rat ex, she’s never settling again. Nothing less than ‘The One’ will do.

Then, after an electrifying encounter on a wild St Patrick’s Day, Lexie takes a leap of faith and a flight across the Irish Sea. But as sparks fly, Lexie’s dreams take a serious nosedive. Until an arrival no one anticipated . . .

Will the unexpected love story of Lexie Byrne have a happy ending after all?

Published by Black and White on 12th August 2021, The Unexpected Love Story of Lexie Byrne (aged 39 ½) is available for purchase here.

About Caroline Grace-Cassidy

Irish writer and actress Caroline Grace-Cassidy is the author of eight novels. Alongside her husband Kevin, they own Park Pictures, a film and television production company, with whom she has written and directed seven short films. She has been a regular panelist for The Elaine Show on Virgin Media One since She can often be spotted in dark sunglasses and a cap at the bottle bank – but mostly she is a very proud Mammy to Grace and Maggie Cassidy. She lives and loves in Dublin.

For more information visit Caroline’s website, find her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @CGraceCassidy.

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