New Book – The First Time I Said Goodbye by Claire Allan


Publishing year: 2013

The narrator of this story is Annabelle, an American woman.

Her father has just died, and she is having some issues with her partner, Craig. Annabelle is still broken with grief, and then her mother comes up with the idea of going to Ireland, her native country. She wants Annabelle to go with her, and even though Craig doesn’t like the idea, Annabelle agrees to her mother’s petition.

In Ireland Annabelle gets to know relatives that are virtual strangers to her. Her mother stays with her sister Dolores, while Annabelle stays in the house of her cousin Sam. I find Annabelle’s attitude quite annoying. I tend to dislike those who, while on holiday or living in a foreign country, compare and almost ridicule the things in the country to their native land. Annabelle has the same attitude; she seems to dislike being surrounded by these new relatives; she complains about the weather, the small car, the food… She’s a real sourpuss.

While in an excursion with her mother and Dolores, she overhears something about her mother regretting the past or something along those lines, and Annabelle gets curious, but she knows she can’t ask since she wasn’t supposed to have heard the conversation between her mother and her sister. The beginning of every chapter we have chunks of what sound like love letters, and in the last one these belong to Stella, Annabelle’s mother, and I guess they are addressed to a man who wasn’t her husband. I imagine there’s a story there, and maybe for some reason Stella had to leave a love behind and emigrate to America.

The beginning of the novel was a bit too flat, but now with this secret that Stella apparently has hidden my interest has perked up. I don’t particularly like Annabelle. She’s good to her mother, but she is a bit ungracious in her views about Ireland, and she doesn’t treat her partner Craig well. When she arrives in Ireland, she doesn’t call him right away, but wait until she has something to tell him. Shouldn’t she have called him to let him know that she was all right after the trip? She’s definitely a peculiar woman…


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