Strange Girls and Ordinary Women – Morgan McCarthy

I have always believed there is no such thing as normal or ordinary in our own ways we are all strange. Strange to other people, ordinary to ourselves. This book reflects that belief.

Alice is middle class perfection, she aims for that and she maintains that. Her husband embarks on an affair that is not what perfect is for Alice, he therefore must be stopped.

Vic is running a hotel in Madeira. She has been secretly in love with her friend Michael for a long time, but never realised it. Trouble is Michael has fallen for Estella. But is Estella all that she seems?

Kaya is a survivor, she is tough, her childhood has been a challenge and making her way in the world has been even tougher. When she experiences kindness she can see that she can maybe start her life again or will she always be running away from her past?

The three female characters, dominate this book and alternate their story in each chapter. From the beginning, you are reading three very separate stories, with only one piece of knowledge – that eventually these paths will cross. You know this as it is a device which is used by many authors and besides why would you write a book with three individual stories in it unless it was pitched as such.

Perseverance is what is needed with this book, enjoy the writing and the way that Alice, Vic and Kaya come out of the page and get under your skin. I wanted to scream in frustration at Alice, I wanted to hit Vic and protect Kaya. It is the writing that kept me with the book as I did struggle with the slowness at the beginning but I see it was a way of building up the atmosphere, which the author handles very well.

‘We all see what we want to see’ is the tagline, and that is exactly what these three characters are doing – seeing what they want and knowing that they can cope and deal with what they want to see, us as readers are seeing it all and it is that which in the end makes this an interesting and thoughtful read.

This is Morgan McCarthy’s third novel and I have not read her second, so I can only compare it to her debut novel The Other Half of Me. I preferred that one to this, however her writing is that of someone who has great skill and it is that which I think is going to make Morgan McCarthy and her work more popular.