Marianne's Reviews > Breeda Looney Steps Forth: 'Excellent... a worthy page-turner' - Publishers Weekly

Breeda Looney Steps Forth by Oliver  Sands
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it was amazing

“It had recently dawned on Breeda that without her mother to care for her life had lost its meaning. She was rudderless, each featureless day a carbon copy of the one that had gone before. And worse were the nights… it was like she was off kilter with the universe, two steps too far to the left.”

Breeda Looney Steps Forth is the first novel by Irish-born Australian author, Oliver Sands. It’s two years since Breeda Looney gave up her job in Galway to nurse her dying mother back in Donegal. It’s a month since Margaret Looney died. So it’s little wonder Breeda is depressed, and the panic attacks don’t help matters. Nor does her critical Aunt Nora. Who can blame her for indulging in a drink…

Soon after her thirty-seventh birthday, Breeda learns of a new arrival in town, taking her thoughts back to the awful time in her childhood when she inexplicably became pariah to her classmates. Surely after this long, Dervil Sneddon no longer hates her?

Then Breeda accidentally discovers that the father she had believed long-ago drowned did not drown at all, and she has been lied to for twenty-five years. Why? But that certainly isn’t all: more shocking revelations follow, cementing her resolve to track down the father who might still be alive, explain the deception, and assure him of her unfailing love.

Sands populates this perfect depiction of an Irish seaside town with a typical cast of characters although, even if they start out a little stereotypical, they gain plenty of depth by the final pages. Breeda is a rather tragic figure, plagued by Catholic guilt and a sense of obligation that makes her the perfect target for her manipulative aunt, who acts pious while lacking any true charity.

Equally loathsome are the grown woman who holds onto resentment like a teenager, even if she does sort of have an excuse, and the nasty gossiping shopkeeper. Then there is the charming womaniser, the quirky neighbour, the supportive best friend, the sympathetic boss, and the mysterious biker.

The story doesn’t go quite where expected, and because Breeda doesn’t know all the facts (and neither do we), Sands has us fooled quite a few times. This is a tale of grief and guilt, secrets and lies, betrayal and shame. Intriguing, moving and often darkly funny, this is an impressive debut novel.
This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Books Go Social.
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Reading Progress

May 12, 2020 – Shelved
May 12, 2020 – Shelved as: to-read
May 18, 2020 – Started Reading
May 19, 2020 –
May 20, 2020 –
May 20, 2020 – Finished Reading

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message 1: by Kylie H (new) - added it

Kylie H Lovely review Marianne

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