Stand by Me by Sheila O'Flanagan

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Stand by Me by Sheila O'Flanagan

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Buy Stand by Me by Sheila O'Flanagan at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Katie Blow
Reviewed by Katie Blow
Summary: Domino Delahaye appears to have everything: a man she loves, a beautiful daughter, an expensive wardrobe and a fantastic house but when her world falls apart she realises its the people you love that matter most. A refreshing and original tale of love and relationships that will entertain and challenge you.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 512 Date: September 2010
Publisher: Headline Review
ISBN: 978-075534382

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Many of us would love to be married to a successful, wealthy and attractive businessman and for Dominique Delahaye it becomes a reality. Not only does she get to live in luxurious houses, go on expensive holidays and wear glamorous clothes, she also gets to organise and attend wonderful charity events and has her photo in nearly every magazine and newspaper. Once a spotty and unpopular school girl, she is now the centre of everyone's attention. Her husband, Brendan Delahaye, starts out as a builder but soon has his own construction business, Delahaye Developments. The couple become known as the "Dazzling Delahayes" and whilst their lives seem perfect to the outside world, it hasn't always been that way. Brendan and Dominique, who gets given the nickname 'Domino' from her husband, are quite literally forced to marry through unforeseen circumstances. Their marriage suffers a number of problems and as the title "Stand by Me" suggests, both of them are faced with the decision of whether to stay or leave. However, their greatest challenge comes when the perfect life they've built is destroyed. Domino must face an uncertain future and take control of her life but first she has to make some heartbreaking decisions.

I was attracted to this book because of the title- "Stand by Me". I sensed a powerful and determined voice behind the words and I was right. Domino Delahaye is a strong, brave and inspirational woman. It is difficult to see this at first, especially when she is suffering from depression and later her submissive and tolerant behaviour towards her husband. But it is through challenging circumstances and a lot of tough decisions that Domino becomes such a strong and courageous woman. When I started reading the book and the third person narrative takes us back to when Domino is a young school girl living in a devout Catholic family, I wondered where exactly the story was going. However, having read the whole book I've realised that the story is ultimately about how Domino changes over time and in order to see this change the reader must go on a journey with her.

Whilst the book is largely about Domino there are a number of other characters involved too who get a lot of attention from the author. This makes it difficult to get bored for while the characters are all linked through various different relationships, they each have their own compelling story. I wouldn't say that any of the characters are unconvincing but I certainly found it easier to connect with some more than others. Fortunately Domino was one of them. I liked her down-to-earth nature and her uncertainty towards the end of the book because it shows she is a realistic character and therefore easy to empathise with.

The "truly devastating way" in which the Delahayes lives fall apart and which the book's synopsis mentions, is in some ways very predictable. However, O'Flanagan does do her best to throw in a few twists, probably to try and throw readers off the trail. Despite this I wasn't particularly surprised when the main dramatic event is thrown in as my keen reader's instinct had already told me what would happen or at least given me some idea. However, don't let this put you off reading the book because it is still an enjoyable and pleasant story.

I was convinced this book would be another typical girly read full of soppy romance and 'happily ever afters' but I'm glad to say it is much better than that. It is not, unlike a lot of chick lit, guilty of being overly humorous, creating shallow and stereotypical characters or having a really soppy and unrealistic ending. O'Flanagan has created a compelling and emotional book that will both entertain and challenge you.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

Further reading suggestion: An Offer You Can't Refuse by Jill Mansell and Flawless by Tilly Bagshawe

Buy Stand by Me by Sheila O'Flanagan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Stand by Me by Sheila O'Flanagan at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Stand by Me by Sheila O'Flanagan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Stand by Me by Sheila O'Flanagan at Amazon.com.

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