This is my first Cecelia Ahern read, so I'm not sure if all her other books are like this. I couldn't find anything from my usual authors at the airport, and I figured I couldn't go too far wrong with Cecelia Ahern - she's always on display after all, and is probably a fairly good contemporary chick lit author.
Recommend this product?
I was wrong. I happen to like historical romance and fantasy novels, and was pleasantly surprised to find that "A Place Called Here" contains elements of both contemporary romance and fantasy.
The book starts off innocuously enough. The heroine, one Sandy Shortt, is a bit of a misfit who starts getting obsessed with finding things that she's lost after her neighbour and classmate Jenny-May disappears when she is ten.
The middle portion of the book dwells on Sandy's visits to the school psychiatrist, a cool Gregory Burton, as well as how she now runs a missing persons agency and tries to help Jack Ruttle locate his missing brother Donal.
The fantasy part kicks in on the morning that Sandy arranges to meet Jack. They have a chance meeting at a petrol station, only Sandy and Jack don't know they'll be meeting each other later. Then Sandy goes jogging down an unmarked trail and ends up somewhere else.. the place where all lost objects go, to be precise.
In the meantime, Jack gets increasingly bewildered when Sandy doesn't show up, and tries to find her himself, because he thinks she's the only one who will help him find Donal.
Jack's search for Sandy throws up more insights into her life, with tantalising flashbacks into her past, even as Sandy explores her new world and manages to bring her life a full circle as a result.
I liked the way Ahern brings parallels between Jack's and Sandy's experiences, and the surreal way that Jack and Sandy meet at first at the petrol station, without knowing they're supposed to meet later on. She ties all the loose ends together up really neatly at the happy ending, and I like neat happy endings.
People seem to disappear into thin air everyday, and Ahern paints their anguish and what happens after very graphically. You live with the characters, a testament to Ahern's talent.
What some readers might not be able to accept is the glibness of a world where lost things end up that is the answer to Sandy's problems.
Everyone's lost something they have never been able to find, even though "it was just right there", and so can identify with Sandy. I've sometimes found things where they should be, after looking there loads of times; so a world where lost things go kinda makes sense.
Still, a whole new global economy side by side with this one , populated by lost objects, can be a little hard to swallow. Why should it happen? What space does it occupy? How do you decide if something is lost? Or if it stays lost? The problem may be the contemporary setting - change a few names, place this whole story in some fantasy world, and I would accept things without question.
Strangely enough, this was also my favourite part of the book.
While I wouldn't consider this story a "keeper" it's still a good read and well recommended to people who like romance and fantasy stories. If you like contemporary romance, so much the better. Just let logic fly out the window first :)
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