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Love and Marriage by Patricia Scanlan

Article by Christine Mills, Hughes and Hughes Dundrum ©.
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Love and Marriage is the final part of the family saga set in and around Dublin that began in 2008 with Forgive and Forget. The story continued with Happy Ever After and now the loose ends will all be neatly tied up. Or will they?

You will have to read this page-turning sequel to find out. I don’t think you really need to have read the two earlier episodes to enjoy the novel, as a comprehensive prologue sets the scene for the action in Love and Marriage. I haven’t read the earlier parts but found it easy enough to pick up on the characters, though the family connections seem rather complicated at first.Regular readers will be rooting for the various characters to sort out their differences with each other in this final act of the drama so I won’t spoil any surprises.

Family dynamics are tested to the utmost and much wisdom and understanding will be needed to achieve that often-elusive happy conclusion. One question asked is whether the younger couple, Debbie and Bryan will manage to avoid the mistakes made by the older generation. Happily, Drew and Connie seem to have found love second time around, while Barry and Aimee are struggling to maintain their marriage. And what of Aimee’s parents? Can they learn from the past and move on? How will the demise of the Celtic Tiger affect the lives of the families?

Family relationships form the heart of this novel; the keys to solving many of life’s problems. Scanlan tackles the difficult subjects of unwanted pregnancy and a teenager sliding towards anorexia with sensitivity and compassion. The twists and turns of the plot test the characters’ resilience to the utmost but the bonds of both family and friendship will pull them through. Lessons are learnt and new relationships forged; a modern family is successfully forged from the emotional flames.