The Perfect Man by Sheila O'Flanagan

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The Perfect Man by Sheila O'Flanagan

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Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jo Heffer
Reviewed by Jo Heffer
Summary: Britt and Mia are two sisters who don't exactly see eye to eye. However, when Britt, a successful author, is invited as guest speaker on a cruise ship, she invites Mia along as her assistant. As the sisters start spending time together, they start to appreciate each other's qualities and life choices. There is also the hint of romance for them both on board, but will any of them measure up to the hero in Britt's book - The Perfect Man?
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 512 Date: September 2009
Publisher: Headline
ISBN: 978-0755343799

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I've read many of Sheila O'Flanagan's books and have always found them light enjoyable reads with interesting storylines and likeable characters. This is what I was expecting from The Perfect Man, and I wasn't at all disappointed.

Unlike most of O'Flanagan's books, this one is not set in Dublin but mainly takes place on a romantic cruise ship in the Caribbean. Britt McDonagh, the successful author of a novel also entitled The Perfect Man, has been invited on board to present a series of talks and workshops about successful romantic writing. This feels quite uncomfortable for Britt as she believes herself to be the least romantic person on earth and much less so than her sister Mia whom she has invited along as her assistant. Mia's life is almost the total opposite of Britt's, living in a rundown villa in Spain with her young daughter Allegra. Where there is order and success in Britt's life, in Mia's there's chaos and uncertainty. The sisters feel that they have little in common but as the cruise progresses on its spectacular journey they gradually get to know each other better and start to respect each other's choices and lifestyles.

No cruise could be complete without at least a hint of romance and although this is a Valentine cruise with most of the guests already in couples, there is always the broody Leo Tyler, who is desperately trying to make sense of recent events in his life, and Steve Shaw, the handsome cruise director. Set against the opulence of the cruise ship and the natural beauty of the Caribbean, it all makes for fascinating reading.

Once the cruise is over, each sister returns home to Dublin or Spain and each has a lot of soul searching to do as their time on board ship has forced them to examine where they are in life and to make decisions. The big question for both sisters though is whether or not they have found 'the perfect man'?

I really enjoyed this book from the moment I picked it up and it didn't take long before I was completely caught up in the lives of the sisters. Both were extremely likeable, and as I read, I was really hoping that things would work out well for them and especially that they could resolve their differences with each other. Watching their relationship develop made very enjoyable reading for me.

The storyline was absorbing with lots going on as the novel progressed. It was the sort of book that kept you guessing to the very end but I have to say that I was very pleased with how it all turned out for everyone. It was a very satisfying read. Sheila O'Flanagan has a very easy writing style which makes you keep turning the pages effortlessly.

I particularly enjoyed reading about life on board the cruise ship and there was some excellent description as it passed through the Panama Canal. Also, this setting allowed the author to introduce a diverse but fun collection of minor characters all enjoying their own cruising experience. I equally loved reading the chapters about Britt's workshops as she attempted to explain the process she went through writing the novel. Also when she returns home we see her struggling to come up with another book and watching her go through all her thought processes was fascinating. It did make me wonder whether Sheila O'Flanagan might have been describing herself at times particularly as both authors were writing the same book.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag. We also have a review of The Crystal Run by Sheila O'Flanagan.

As I was reading The Perfect Man, I was reminded of a couple of books that I have read and reviewed recently. The theme of writing and writer's workshops is something that comes through very strongly in Love Letters by Katie Fforde. The Prodigal Sister by Laura Elliott tells of three sisters travelling together through New Zealand and getting to know each other much better as they go. I am sure that if you like the sound of The Perfect Man, you will enjoy these books as well.

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Buy The Perfect Man by Sheila O'Flanagan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Perfect Man by Sheila O'Flanagan at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Perfect Man by Sheila O'Flanagan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Perfect Man by Sheila O'Flanagan at


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