I Can't Tell You Why by Elaine Robertson North
|I Can't Tell You Why by Elaine Robertson North|
|Category: Women's Fiction|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A splendid story with a lot more depth than you might expect when you start reading|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 169||Date: December 2018|
|Publisher: Independently published|
When we first meet Dani she's about to get an offer that would appear to be all too easy to refuse. She's Alex Cambridge's agent and the indications are that he's about to make the big time. He's good looking, charismatic and appealing - well, he's an actor so that's part of the spec - but his suggestion that he and Dani should start a relationship is hedged by a statement that he's got no intention of leaving his wife and three children. So, what's in it for Dani? No, there's no need to answer that. Dani understands the situation all too well and tells him so.
Dani's got something of a history with relationships: somehow they never last, starting with the boyfriend who dumped her very publicly at her twenty-first-birthday party. When she thinks that something is going well, it all falls apart and here she is in her mid thirties, single and unattached. It would all seem to go back to the way that her father walked out on the family when she was just a child. That might actually have been a good thing: Dani had been aware of and upset by the rows over his infidelities for years, but now Dani can't really trust the men in her life.
Even when Sean came onto the scene she was torn. It wasn't the fact that he was a press photographer and conflicts were almost inevitable when he caught one of her clients doing something newsworthy. Sean and Dani were adult enough to know that there would be problems and that they would do all that they could to keep their jobs and their private life separate. So, what was the problem? Well, Dani knows the score with Alex Cambridge, but somehow, despite all her best intentions, she can't quite resist him.
I surprised myself: Dani is the sort of woman I'd expect to dislike in real life. She's got it all: health, beauty, no money problems, friends most people would die for and a job that she loves, but still she wants something more, something she shouldn't have and she, of all people, knows the problems that her actions can cause. And I think that's the reason why I found myself rooting for her. She's self aware. She wants to do right by everyone in her life, but somehow she can't quite resist Alex.
The secret is, of course, in the writing. Elaine Robertson North pulled me in very gently, let me like this sassy woman, then doubt her moral compass and then, finally, to understand her. I was planning to read I Can't Tell You Why over a long weekend, but finished it by Saturday lunchtime, determined not to put the book down until I knew what happened. Characterisation is superb: even relatively minor characters come off the page in 3D and they're all fallible human beings. No one's perfect. Three days after finishing the book I'm still wondering about several of the people I got to know so well. Best of all is that's it's done in very few words.
So, the story's great and you really get to know the characters. What about location? Well, the agency is in Soho. In another life I knew it well and North has it perfectly, which isn't surprising as she spent twenty-five years working in marketing and communications in the entertainment industries: she's mined her knowledge well and resisted the temptation to pad her story with every anecdote from her earlier life. It's an excellent piece of writing and I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
You can read more about Elaine Robertson North here.
You can read more book reviews or buy I Can't Tell You Why by Elaine Robertson North at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy I Can't Tell You Why by Elaine Robertson North at Amazon.com.
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