I remember when I read Cecelia Ahern's first novel, P.S., I Love You, in 2004. She was only twenty-one, and gossip in the trade publications insinuated it was published because she was the daughter of the former Prime Minister of Ireland. After reading that first book, I was impressed with her storytelling. Now, with her eighth novel, One Hundred Names, I can tell you she's a storyteller who can bring a reader to tears. Ahern's characters find hope and the will to go on after hitting bottom.
At thirty-two, Kitty Logan can't imagine that her life can get any worse. She's a reporter in Ireland where she's in disgrace, fired from a TV job, and facing censure in the courts. She got lost in the glamour of TV, and ruined a man's life. Her best friend is there for her while her apartment door is smeared with manure, but he's ashamed of what she has become. Her mentor, Constance, is dying. Kitty knows she's still working for Etcetera magazine because Constance and her husband, Bob, are the owners. But, even on her deathbed, Constance has faith in Kitty. Although Kitty feels she hasn't had an original idea in months, she asks the right question of her teacher. "Is there any story you wish you'd written but for whatever reason never wrote?" That question leads Kitty to a file with one hundred names on a list.
Kitty's life is a mess, but she can't stop her curiosity. When Constance is no longer there, Kitty only has a list of one hundred names to write the story of her career, one that will honor Constance and possibly save Logan's journalism career. As she starts to look for one hundred people with no apparent connection, Kitty Logan is on a desperate hunt to find a story. She doesn't realize this is a search that might change her life, and her heart, forever.
On a wall in a cafe is a blackboard with the sentence, "Every table has a story to tell". That's Cecelia Ahern's gift, and her gift to the reader. She probes into lives and hearts, going beneath the surface. In One Hundred Names, she asks her character and her readers to do the same. Ahern brings characters to life in this enjoyable, sometimes heartbreaking, story of a woman forced to look for answers beyond her cynicism. Humor, fun characters, and a heroine to root for all come together in this latest success from Cecelia Ahern.
Cecelia Ahern's website is http://uk.cecelia-ahern.com.
One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern. William Morrow. 2014. ISBN 9780062248633 (paperback), 480p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I received this book to participate in a blog tour.