Once In A Lifetime
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Once In A Lifetime

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  1,145 ratings  ·  83 reviews
Kenny's Department Store, with its handsome Edwardian facade, ist he jewel in the town of Ardagh's crown.
TV presenter Ingrid Fitzgerald has watched her husband David pour his heart and soul into the family store. She's juggled family life and her glittering carrer admirably. Now, as their children fly the nest, Ingrid discovers a secret that will shake her world to its ver...more
Paperback, 469 pages
Published 2009 by Harper Collins
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The town of Ardagh in Ireland loves its local department store, Kenny’s, run by David Kenny. But things to do with the people aren’t all rosy. David’s wife Ingrid, a politics TV Presenter is juggling her family life and work life, but she soon unearths a secret that will shatter her world. Kenny’s employee Natalie is starting to question her father about her long-deceased mother, and finds out some shocking revelations that rock her. Charlie Fallon, a make-up guru at Kenny’s is in despair at her...more
The town of Ardagh in Ireland loves its local department store, Kenny’s, run by David Kenny. But things to do with the people aren’t all rosy. David’s wife Ingrid, a politics TV Presenter is juggling her family life and work life, but she soon unearths a secret that will shatter her world. Kenny’s employee Natalie is starting to question her father about her long-deceased mother, and finds out some shocking revelations that rock her. Charlie Fallon, a make-up guru at Kenny’s is in despair at her...more
This has to be one of the most unfortunate titles and cover art I've seen, the picture of a carefree young woman on a swing is misleading, a lesson in "don't judge a book by its cover". It appears to be a romance, or chick-lit, but it's actually a very well written, thoughtful, satisfying work of fiction for women. Yes, there are a few young women in the story, but the majority of the book focuses on middle-aged women, women who are in (or entering) the autumn of their lives and find that it's n...more
Dawn Brierley
Before reading this book, I was a 'Cathy Kelly' virgin having read none of her work ever. However, despite the slow start (and rather lengthy opening chapters) by the turn of the last page I was a full convert and scooped up her "The Honey Queen" in my local supermarket for more of Cathy's magical wordage.

I've always been a HUGE chick lit fan, and "Once in a Lifetime" was a grown up version of this which is why I have included this on the blog (and because I simply LOVED it!). Weaving life in a...more
Sarah Sammis
Successful woman happily married to successful man must re-examine her life after husband's untimely death. With lots and lots of mundane padding.

Louise King
By golly this book was hard work. I very nearly gave up on it on more than one occasion, however, by the time I was three quarters of the way through I figured I might as well continue. The book conceptually shows promise however it doesn't quite deliver. The book very unsatisfactorily jumps around a multitude of characters and concurrent story lines in such as way that it is difficult (almost impossible) to develop any kind of attachment, interest or empathy for all of the different characters....more
"Star Bluestone had talked to bees all her life." This is the opening sentence in the prologue. As I continued reading the prologue I began to wonder if I had chosen a book that I didn't like.
It was set in Ireland, which I like and a good friend from Goodreads had recommended it so I kept reading. I am glad that I did.

David Kenny owns Kenny's Department Store, which is not at all like chain stores. He and his buyers took pride in finding unique and one of a kind items that you just couldn't purc...more
Leanne Hunt
While the substance of this novel pleased me, I found it a disappointment overall. It wasn't what I was hoping for in terms of a satisfying Irish read. Irish women's fiction generally inspires me with its description of close-knit communities, beautiful landscapes and innovative people, yet this book seemed to gloss over all that in favour of exploring the dynamics between characters.

There is a large cast of characters in the novel. Most of them are connected through the department store owned b...more
Is it just me or do the women (and I quote) "roar" and "shriek" quite a lot in this book? What happened to "talking" and "shouting"?

That put aside, I found "Once in a Lifetime" to be a pleasant novel. Sure, there were a lot of characters to keep track off, and sure they all managed to recover from their "wounds" in surprisingly short time, but somehow I couldn't help but like them.

Though it was rather strange for me to read about characters who are forty and fifty something. I think Cathy Kelly...more
Sam Still Reading
Apr 04, 2009 Sam Still Reading rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: your nanna
I'm really not sure about this one. I've liked some Cathy Kelly books, but others I've thrown across the room for their simple, childish indulgence. This is the world where bad things happen but there's always a happy ending.

This book touches on Issues (yes, I did capitalise that on purpose)- we read about infidelity, sexual abuse and alcoholism but it's all in rather a light manner. Why skim over so many 'Issues' without tackling them in the face?

Another thing is the sex. We hear about women in...more
Juliana Graham
I didn't really like this book that much - it was readable but didn't leave much of an impression and like many other reviewers on here, I found parts of it rather far fetched. I particularly disliked the 'magical' aspects such as Star being able to get flashes of other people's lives just by touching their hand, or the fact that a character's hair turned white overnight. That doesn't happen! Fair enough, in a fantasy book, a ghost story or any other book with supernatural elements, have unexpla...more
Carolyn Hill
I'm always drawn to books from "over the pond" and this Irish women's lit was enjoyable. There were multiple characters and points of view, but they were all tied together by their relationship to the special department store Kenny's. Wasn't sure about a story centered on a department store, but the store was peripheral to the characters. I liked it that several of the main characters were older -- late forties, fifties and sixties -- instead of all about young women's issues like so much of the...more
I was a little disappointed in this book. My first Cathy Kelly book was "The Honey Queen" and, after reading that book, I thought the stories about her becoming "the next Maeve Binchy" were correct. This book, Once in a Lifetime, was just an ordinary story about 4 women that happened to take place in Ireland.

The story revolves around a department store named Kenny's: the owner, his wife, his old girlfriend (who is clairvoyant), an employee of the store, and another young woman who doesn't have...more
It was my first Cathy Kelly read and I loved it :) What is it about Irish authors, they write such warm and friendly stories. Have always loved Maeve Binchy (rest in peace dear Maeve) and now I have another fav to add....yay!! I'm from Australia and I really hope to visit the beautiful Ireland one day.
Once In A Lifetime
by Cathy Kelly

Ingrid Fitzgerald is a TV reporter married to David Kenny who runs and owns the family store in Ardagh, Ireland. Kenny's Department store is at the heart of the story. This is a novel about the women of the town. Charlie Fallon works at the store. Star Bluestone, the most interesting character, makes beautiful tapestries and is rumored to be a white witch. She really needs her own book. All these women, and more, have secrets and connections to David. This all com...more
Cathy Kelly's novel 'once in a lifetime' is true to it's title- it is a once in a life time novel!

Beautifully written, Kelly tackles the subjects of alcoholism, child abuse and bereavement with heart-breaking sincerity. The book also explores the dynamics of the mother and daughter relationship.

I like Kelly's entanglement of the characters. They are all connected by Star Bluestone ( I wish this lady was real!!) and Kenny's Department Store. I think the book is a masterpiece for women's literatur...more
sigh. yet another middling british isles chick lit book. I would like to note for the record that once again this book was given to me as a gift! I'm not sure if the large number of so-so books I've rec'd reflects poorly on me, or poorly on the givers. but again, nothing special - small irish town, multiple narratives, melodrama, alcoholism. the irish tourism board should try to recruit some stronger authors.

this book does have one interesting twist [SPOILER:] - after one of the main characters...more
an interesting but somewhat disappointing read. good premise; takes too long to get to the point.
Tammy Armstrong-trozzi
Good storytelling of modern day women's lives and their relationships.
I've enjoyed other books by Cathy Kelly more than I enjoyed this book.
O'Fallon Public Library
Recommended by Birkenhead Library (Auckland, New Zealand).
Great book enjoyed it.
Freda Larimer
Enjoyed parts of this book. To many story lines.
Jina Howell-Forbes
Mar 08, 2013 Jina Howell-Forbes rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Irish Story Lovers
Shelves: set-in-ireland
Lots of characters whose life stories intertwined. Lots of life lessons learned by characters, but many were pat answers. Everyone had nearly unendurable pain that seemed to just disappear and morph into great happiness in the end. Liked many characters, but developed visceral hatred of others. That sometimes made it difficult to finish the book. Will probably read other books by this author since I love books set in Ireland, but I hope the next book has less tragedy.
This book has 406 pages and is set in modern Ireland. I had a hard time getting into it, but once I understood the characters with their little Irish nuances, I read in great depth about the various challenges of girls, women, and families, and how we all have our own challenges to understand and overcome. The story ends on a good note with all the characters being woven together and content in their life circumstances.
Hated it. Tried to skim it but couldn't take the cookie cutter format or how beautiful, intelligent, good and caring every main character was.
I've read most of Cathy Kelly's books but this one was quite disappointing. I couldn't relate or sympathise with characters as Star or Ingrid. I would like to know more about Nathalie but because there are some many different characters there isn't time or space to tell more about someone in particular.

I could still feel the Cathy Kelly touch but I hope her next book is more to my liking.
I have to say I was quite disappointed in this book, it was ok but it just didn't get me in. Too many characters & their stories for one book, it would have been better to save Natalie's story for a book on it's own, then the alcohol issues with Dara & Lizzie could have been explored further. I forgot who Lizzie was? and also Natalie's romance with Rory - lot's of scope there.

Was a good read, not one of my favorite Cathy Kelly books though. It was slow to start, I had trouble following some of the characters (there were a few of them), but the ending was rather realistic. When tragedy hits, the story picks up, which is almost half way through the book and then I found it hard to put down. If you like Cathy Kelly, you will like this book
Pamela Solyom
Ok I have to say there were parts of this book that were nice to read but all in all, it was a long drawn out boring book. I find that she didn't character build and she went off talking about different things that had no relation to the story. It's was like playing connect the dots with some of the dots missing, so the picture was incomplete, I felt this story went no where.
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Born in Belfast but raised in Dublin, Cathy initially worked for thirteen years as a newspaper journalist with a national Irish Sunday newspaper, where she worked in news, features, along with spending time as an agony aunt and the paper’s film critic. However, her overwhelming love was always fiction and she published her first international bestseller, Woman To Woman, in 1997. She did not become...more
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