1 December 2014

Review #94: Dublin in the Rain by Andrew Critchley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Celebrate the past, don't regret it.”
---― Andrew Critchley, Dublin in the Rain

Andrew Critchley, an English author, has spun a spectacular story in his debut novel, Dublin in the Rain, which follows the life of an emotionally torn man, named, Jonathan Paul Melton.

On a rainy day in Dublin, during the spring of 1947, a tragic accident brought devastation to those involved. As the subsequent years pass, unable to come to terms with the accident, the survivors set the path for a deeply troubled future for each generation that followed.
Jonathan Melton had a traumatic childhood in which he ended up in foster care, but when he meets the wild, willful, sexually experienced and free spirited Sophia at university, everything changes. At first inept with women, Jonathan’s complex relationship with Sophia evolves from a one-way obsession into a genuine love and shared passion, as the relationship brings happiness, romance and joy to both their lives that neither thought was ever possible. The two marry, and Sophia gives birth to their first child; a beautiful baby daughter. Everything is seemingly perfect, until the evening that their tiny baby is found dead in her cot.

As his world falls apart around him, Jonathan slips into a dark depression and, increasingly haunted by his past, becomes distant and dysfunctional as he struggles to cope with the loss of his daughter. His marriage to Sophia disintegrates, and Jonathan along with it as he descends further into darkness after leaving Sophia. Although his close friend David succeeds to some extent in saving him from his demons, Jonathan remains a lost and lonely soul, until his apparent chance meeting with the enigmatic Maolíosa in a Dublin bar. Maolíosa and Jonathan form a unique bond, and she challenges his vision of life and the world around him. Fate intervenes, but it ultimately leads Jonathan to redemption, and a final resolution to the aftermath and consequences of the 1947 tragedy.

Growing up in a broken up home, Jonathan not only faces emotional insecurity but also haunted by his past. Getting a chance to love someone and loved by someone in his fragile life, Jonathan started seeing life in a better perspective. This woman named Sophia gave him another chance to have a better life. Soon they married, but their happiness was not long-living. Tragedy stroke again, when their new-born baby dies unexpectedly. Following which Jonathan started drinking away his pain and in this worst moments, he met another woman who challenged him to have a new hope on the road to redemption.

Jonathan's story has no happiness. Only pain- deep, raw and gripping pain! From the very first page, my heart started to well up, and as Jonathan moved on with his life, gradually I got accustomed with his demeanor more personally. I felt like it was my story and at times, I felt myself like Jonathan.

The author's writing is absolutely brilliant and his lyrical prose draws you into the story instantly. The author has made his story very engaging and I felt the protagonist had a strong voice and with such an arresting narration, I felt more hooked into the core of the story. The author has a deep psychological grip on his characters, portrayed as multifaceted, flawed and sympathetic human beings, who are all achingly vulnerable and all wracked by fear, need and guilt.

I found some unnecessary part in the book. Well the chemistry between Jonathan and Sophia is very charged, heated and the author has described it way too passionately, but I felt that their intricate sexual encounters could be spared for his readers! So that disappointed me a lot!

The author has written about all kind of emotions with great vividness. I mean it's very rare that you come across a book which depicts the right emotions at the right times, mind it! This book is one of the rarest of rare gem, which is not only an emotional, painful journey of a man to know his soul but also a poignant tale about love and mystery!
Yes, there is a mystery and the author has delivered it quite strikingly. I mean with such a climax, I can only say that I hardly came across such a compelling novel which brings out all kinds of emotions within me!

Verdict: A brilliant debut literary novel and you surely can't miss out this one.

Courtesy: Thanks to the author, Andrew Critchley, for providing me with a copy of his book, in return for an honest and unbiased review.

Author's Info:
Andrew Critchley was born in Sheffield, and has lived across Western Europe, now residing in Cardiff, South Wales. Following a successful business career, Critchley took early retirement in 2012 to pursue his dream of becoming a writer. Critchley is presently working on a project that will explore differing perspectives of the tragic Aberfan disaster of 1966. Dublin in the Rain is the first book in a trilogy of contrasting stories around the shared theme of redemption; the second installment is due for release in early 2015.
Visit him here

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  1. Many thanks for such a positive review...it's a wonderful moment for any author when a quality blogger appreciates their work. It's also very interesting...the sexually explicit nature of the relationship between Jonathan and Sophia has clearly divided readers. Some love that aspect of the book whilst other, as per this review, are somewhat alienated by it. What is so pleasing about this review is it was able to separate that from the rest of the book and still appreciate the other aspects of the book. Many thanks from a very grateful author...

    1. Thank you so much for your feedback! I'm glad that you liked my review! :-) And I can't agree with you more!


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