Title: The Terrace
Author: Maria Duffy
Publication date: August 1, 2012
Publisher: Hachette Ireland
Length: 394 pages
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Age group: Adult
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon US | Amazon UK | The Book Depository
Nestled in the heart of Dublin city, St Enda’s Terrace is like any other close-knit community: warm, colourful, looks after its own. But behind closed doors lie secrets . . .
In Number Eight he wants a baby, she doesn’t. The guy a few doors down just wants to find love. Across the street a single mum struggles to cope. While the people next door might appear to have it all, their mortgage holder knows different.
When the street syndicate wins the National Lottery, it seems that things are looking up. Enter a New York production company on a mission to document a ‘quintessential’ Dublin community – just as it becomes clear that the winning ticket is nowhere to be found. Facades begin to crumble in the scramble to uncover the missing ticket and, as the gloves come off for the once unremarkable residents of St Enda’s, it’s game on with everything to play for
I’ve known Maria from Twitter for almost a year so when she asked me if I wanted to read her book, I was over the moon. She’s absolutely lovely and hilarious and I couldn’t wait to read The Terrace. But – and saying it makes me cringe so bad I want to hide behind my desk in utter embarrassment – no matter how much I wanted to love this book, I just didn’t. I couldn’t. I loved the idea of the missing ticket and this mystery element in the story but the book as a whole just wasn’t for me.
What I did like about the novel, apart from the story of the missing lottery ticket, is its characters. I love the fact that they’re ordinary people just like us, which makes them easily relatable for us readers. I found Marco in particular really adorable and someone who actually reminded me of a friend of mine – he was definitely my favourite character and he put a smile on my face every time I picked the book up.
What really bugged me, though, and what eventually put me off – as ridiculous as it will sound – was the author’s overuse of names and exclamation marks. I know it’s important to differentiate the two – or more – speakers in a dialogue but when it’s clear who is speaking to whom I don’t think it’s necessary to use people’s names in every single sentence. I know there are people who do talk like that in real life but most of us don’t and it’s both unnecessary and slightly annoying after a while. As for exclamation marks, I’ve seen this overuse in a few other books and I just don’t get it. I mean, using them in a dialogue or at the end of a sentence which expresses enthusiasm or surprise is one thing and it’s totally fine. But closing almost every chapter with it and using it in sentences where you don’t need them at all makes the text – at least for a weird grammar freak like me – a bit awkward. And as much as I didn’t want to let it affect me or bother me and as much as I tried to concentrate on the plot only, this false enthusiasm (or bad editing?) was starting to give me a headache. Mind you, I’ve checked every single review on Amazon and Goodreads and no one mentioned it (or the overuse of names) so it might be just me, I don’t know. But it did put me off and this is why, despite the fact that the story was interesting, I’m only giving this book 3 stars.
I really wanted to love this book. I really did. But it wasn’t for me, unfortunately. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been reading more serious books lately and I’m just not in the mood for something light like this or if it’s something else. I might have to give it another try in the summer and see what I think then.
“Jesus, Mary and Holy Saint Joseph,’ muttered Maggie, dropping the edge of the net curtain she’d been peeping through as though it was a hot coal. What the hell was she doing having thoughts like that about another man? And a gay one at that!
She’d only intended to sit down for a few minutes to mull over the bloody financial mess she and her husband were in and had been distracted by the hustle and bustle outside. She could barely believe an hour had passed and Dan would be in any minute.“