Sunday, 17 September 2017

Book Review: This is Now

The cover artwork of this novel is beautiful; the landscape against the silouhette of two figures holding hands is so classic but still eye-catching and so I saw it on a shelf and put it on my 'to be read' list. I have no regrets about this, because this book was quite literally, action packed. From the get go we as readers are introduced to a range of characters through a crime; more specifically, a bank robbery. Martha is an ex-alcoholic who struggles wit her overly whilst been dry for over a year; Roman is a young and impressionable teenage Polish immigrant who is desperate to protect his mother, Rosa after his Uncle's death. To complicate matters, Cillian is the detective on the case and coincidentally Martha was once the love of his life and Tobias (Mr Hartmann) is another immigrant who came from Germany after WWII and helps Rosa to improve her English. There are so many characters in this book, all with different stories that somehow intertwine, but these are the characters who provide the main sources of information throughout and give honest perspectives on a variety of situations. This is the first novel I've read by Ciara Geraghty and it wasn't a disappointment; the way that she writes is beautiful.

One of the many reasons that I enjoyed this book was that the main event shaped the whole novel fairly early on; the bank robbery was so detailed and cleverly written, with the introduction of Martha and her best friend Tara going to the bank to meet Tara's sister Katherine. Mr Hartmann and Rosa are there too and all of their lives change forever after the robbery and ultimately, the shooting that takes place. Roman also makes an appearance by paying for past troubles, he arrives with the robbers but is unmasked so naturally is the person who takes the blame and ends up in a prison cell after managing to escape from the robbers outside of the bank. Martha is undoubtedly the best character in my opinion as although she has her own flaws, she's honest and incredibly astute, more than able to describe the whole robbery in perfect detail, making the police investigation a lot easier. She struggles with staying dry, as although she has already managed over a year sober it feels like a trial, not an achievement for her which is made even more difficult when Cillian comes back into her life via the police investigation. The cover artwork is fairly deceiving as you could assume it'd be chic lit but this novel is anything but; it's a very multi-faceted and layered plot with some interesting characters who all have flaws but overall they do mean well.

Roman and Rosa are the two characters who you really do feel unbelievably sorry for; they came to Ireland with the promise of a better life, but unfortunately some things don't go to plan and they end up in a series of difficult situations due to their brother (uncle) being involved with some dishonest and dodgy groups of men And one of the difficult situations is the bank robbery, which results in the majority of the characters having issues with Roman and he ends up with a stint in prison. This novel certainly unpredictable with some excellent snippets of Tobias' wartime past thrown in amongst his thoughts on the present day; arguably Rosa and Tobias are some of the strongest characters due to unfortunate cards that life dealt them. Due to the majority of the characters being insanely unlikeable, it is easy to find favourites among them but I also liked the fact that this novel was realistic in the sense that you saw all walks of life, it was much more intense than I expected. It was a very modern novel with a range of themes running through it including love, relationships, sexuality, crime, death and alcoholism, all of which were discussed in length at various points throughout.

Overall, I wasn't expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did. The linguistic technique suited the variety of backstories that surrounded each character, although I must admit my favourite character was definitely Martha. It's always nice to read a novel that describes a character so throughly they begin to feel like someone you know and Geraghty's book is a case in point of this. Rosa and Roman were beautifully portrayed and it was lovely to see immigrants shown as nice people that want to succeed, I definitely had a soft spot for their mother and son relationship, the way that they continuously looked out for one another even in the hardest of times. Similarly, I loved the friendship between Rosa and Mr Hartmann, the way that he encouraged her to improve her English and create the beginnings of a better life, something which is long overdue for Rosa. The only issue I had with the storyline is that the unlikeable characters were too easy to dislike, it was a case of polar opposites which although that is understandable in a sense, in another it was fairly irritating as sometimes it's good to have more of a grey area to work with. However, I did love how the individual stories shaped themselves and it is always lovely to witness multiple happy endings and the loose ends neatly tied up; I'm still unsure of what I expected from this novel but my expectations were well and truly exceeded. 


  1. Love your review, definitely going to add this book to my book list! I love books where the characters has good backstories.


    1. Aw thank you so much for reading and commenting! Let me know what you think of it when you’ve read it :) Rachel xx

  2. yesss i loved this book! i read it over the summer and found the writing style so impressive, especially the bank robbery bit.

    katie. xx

    1. Ahh yes I completely agree - this book is so underrated, it’s so well devised! Thanks for reading my blog, Rachel xx


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