Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Sheena Lambert - Alberta Clipper

Christine Grogan is a successful meteorologist with a loving family, great friends and an exciting career working for an international investment bank. So why does she spend every January 20th crying like her heart might break? As everyone around her appears to be moving on with their lives, Christine wears her past like a pair of concrete shoes. Can nothing, or nobody help her shake them?
Mark Harrington thought he had all he ever wanted. Head of the bank's Irish operations, he has the career, the house and the relationship any man would wish for. But when his seemingly perfectly planned life suddenly strays totally off course, Mark is confronted with the fact that he isn't actually in control at all...
The story of two people, each floundering in their own lives, who might just be able to save one another.

Comment: I got interested in this book months and months ago because I saw the cover of it somewhere and when I read the blurb - not very attentively I must confess - I added it to my reading list. I quickly realized that getting the book in my hands would be difficult. Paperback editions of this cover and the other one were too expensive to purchase and ebook editions were only available at places with specific formats like amazon or kobo or something alike it. My e-reader isn't from any of the most known brands so I didn't want to download a story and read it only on my PC. I waited, thinking one day the book might become available somewhere else and recently, the author herself has offered me the opportunity to receive the book in exchange for a review. It took me some weeks to organize my reads but a few days ago I finally got to read it.

In this book we meet Christine, she is a meteorologist working for an investment bank in Ireland and helps her clients to invest wisely based on weather predictions and her knowledge of it. Her boss is Mark Harrington and he has been in love with her for two years.
Christine has a secret in her past that makes her look aloof and distant and Mark is feeling the fear of not having children now that he is approaching 40. His long term girlfriend doesn't want kids and they break up. 
Can Mark finally work out the courage to talk to Christine and maybe get to know her more so he can share his feelings? And will Christine finally open up to someone?

I could share this experience with other readers to exemplify what happens when one doesn't pay attention to what one reads in blurbs and why book covers can (and do) matter. Until the day the book arrived at my house I admit I still thought this would be a book about a meteorologist who lived in a boat whose name was Alberta Clipper. I have no idea of why I got stuck to this idea but there it was. When I started reading and saw the meteo references were mostly a metaphor I confess I felt a bit let down! I was expecting something different simply because I didn't pay attention and was led astray by my wrong interpretation of both covers.

While reading, though, I got to become interested in the characters and their challenges in life, namely admitting thy weren't happy and that dealing with their feelings was the only way to move on.
Both Christine and Mark have emotions in their lives they didn't deal with properly and now it affects their routines. Mark is unhappy and feeling time go by him too quickly and Christine is still stuck in the past. I think the way both dealt with their issues wasn't always easy to understand but pain is never global, every person feels differently. Still, for a novel, it would have been nice if they could have worked on their relationship a bit sooner because it felt like part of the novel was only setting things up and that didn't allow for a more fluid pace, I think.

The plot wasn't too complicated but I got the feeling we weren't really connecting with the characters. The focus wasn't as much on their journey but on where they were and how that affected them now. I guess I would have liked to see some more changes on page and not just the implications on it in the future. I did like how we got to have both their POVs on things but at the same time the evolution in their relationship wasn't as romantic as it could have been. Part of it was their pasts but the way things are told wasn't always as easy to follow as I'd have liked.

This was my first book by the author and in terms of writing style I thought it was well enough. The narrative, however, didn't always seem as fluid mainly because the focus given to one situation and then another didn't always make sense. For instance, Christine's pain is obvious and the way we are told that matters, but we also were given a lot of focus on small things that didn't really add to the overall plot, like the skills of Mark's PA or how often characters drunk wine (this has to be some British thing).

I think it's interesting to think how the purpose was to make a solid and profound story about how
people can become prisoners of happenings not always on people's control but although I cared about the characters, I still felt they weren't in the position to make me empathize with them as much as needed to really share their pain. The way things were told and described I was fonder of Mark's issues and how he felt than Christine's past, for instance. But of course this depends on each reader's POV as well.

All in all, I liked the overall feel of this story, I read pretty mch non stop and I do feel very, very thankful for the author's kind gesture! But Christine and the narrative didn't always feel as balanced to me and that sort of impacted my overall impression. Still, a great effort and I'll look for to another book by the author, even if only to see how the narrative flows with different characters.
Grade: 7/10

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