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The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern

Lately it seems I've amassed a canon of Irish writers that I follow.  Besides the newly discovered Anna McPartlin, there's also Tana French and Cecelia Ahern; all three of these stellar writers set their novels in Ireland.  I also read John Connolly's Charlie Parker series set in Maine; it details the misadventures of an American private investigator to whom trouble and evil are attracted like a moth to flame.  All of these fine writers write from different genres, and I highly recommend you pick up one of their books sometime--in the cases of Connolly and French you may have to read with all the lights on, but you won't regret it.

Tamara found her father after he committed suicide.  In the wake of his death Tamara and her mother are forced to sell their house and everything they own when the massive debts accrued and hidden from them by her father are finally revealed.  Tamara's mother is consumed by her grief and has withdrawn from the world, including from her own daughter who is the only one who believes that her mother needs help.  Eventually Tamara and her mother move in with her mother's brother, Arthur and his wife, Rosaleen, who live in the rural Irish countryside far from the big city of Dublin that Tamara loves.

From the first day it's clear to Tamara that silent Arthur and odd Rosaleen are hiding secrets from her about her family's history, relationships and dynamics.  It's also clear that both Arthur and Rosaleen know more than they let on and lead Tamara to erroneous assumptions about the recent history of the ruined castle whose grounds Arthur cares for.  Then Tamara discovers a diary in which her handwriting details the events of the next day, and her world is turned upside down again when Tamara realizes that she's not imagining things, and the events detailed come true each day.

The book of tomorrow guides Tamara as she navigates the secrets in her family and in the town.  Soon it's clear that the secrets her family holds are ones hidden in the foundation upon which her entire identity is built.  Is the book here for Tamara to change her future or to reveal the hidden revelations of her past?  Will the truth set her free or will it only cause more heartache for her and her mother?

The tension and strangeness of the characters' behaviors portrayed vividly and authentically intensify the suspense of the question of what is being hidden from Tamara and why.  The narrator is unusually self aware for her age--Tamara knows and freely admits to the reader that she's not the best person, but, despite her flaws, she is determined to protect her mother and to find the truth.  The reader will root for Tamara when it becomes clear that Rosaleen is not being truthful with Tamara or with Arthur about daily household events for her own motives.  This is a story that quickly sucks the reader into the lives of its characters.

I recommend you pick it up the next time you visit the library.

--Reviewed by Ms. Angie


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