I’ve loved this series – see my review of This Charming Man. The humour is very British and I particularly appreciated the humorous articles at the beginning of every chapter, so I was delighted when this offering popped up on Netgalley.
BLURB: Love can be a truly terrible thing.
Marriages are tricky at the best of times, especially when one of you is dead. Vincent Banecroft, the irascible editor of The Stranger Times, has never believed his wife died despite emphatic evidence to the contrary. Now, against all odds, it seems he may actually be proved right; but what lengths will he go to in an attempt to rescue her?
With Banecroft distracted, the shock resignation of assistant editor, Hannah Willis, couldn’t have come at a worse time. It speaks volumes that her decision to reconcile with her philandering ex-husband is only marginally less surprising than Banecroft and his wife getting back together. In this time of crisis, is her decision to swan off to a fancy new-age retreat run by a celebrity cult really the best thing for anyone? As if that wasn’t enough, one of the paper’s ex-columnists has disappeared, a particularly impressive trick seeing as he never existed in the first place.
REVIEW: I found it a bit difficult to get into this one. That occasionally happens with a much-anticipated book, I’ve discovered. I hated the fact that Hannah had cut and run from The Stranger Times office – and initially, her apparent reason didn’t ring true. I soon discovered there’s a reason for that. So at that stage, I relaxed into this one and went with the flow. Though I would say that if you haven’t read either of the first two books, I’d put this one back on the shelf and go searching for either or both of them. There was a lot of plot to pack into this one, so McDonnell didn’t hang around re-establishing the characters in the same detail as happened in The Stranger Times or This Charming Man.
I liked the fact that Stella had more of a role in this story – she’s always been something of an enigma. But I did find Grace’s unravelling a bit annoying and I wasn’t convinced by it. She’s always been a very efficient office manager and coping with receipts for Petty Cash is one of those bread and butter tasks that has to be done with thoroughness, or the whole system quickly gets out of hand. It simply didn’t make sense to me that Grace would have been so slapdash with the paperwork that accounts for the pennies and pounds running through a working office.
The scenes at the health spa were enjoyable, with plenty of humour. And as ever, the climactic scenes that trip into horrific paranormal played to McDonnell’s writing strengths. What I really, really missed from this arc were The Stranger Times articles that appear at the start of every chapter. They usually make me laugh aloud – but while there was a line identifying what they would be about, they hadn’t yet been added to this edition before it was released to reviewers. I know readers won’t find it a problem and so I’m not critiquing their lack – I’m just having a personal whine, as they are always hilarious.
Overall, I enjoyed this latest adventure from the quirkiest newspaper to hit the streets of Manchester. This book and the rest of the series comes highly recommended if you enjoy your paranormal fantasy peopled by eccentric larger-than-life characters having all sorts of odd adventures with a large dollop of Brit humour. While I obtained an arc of Love Tears Us Apart from the publisher via Netgalley, the opinions I have expressed are unbiased and my own.