Where Rainbows End (by Cecelia Ahern)

I've read - and own - a few books by Cecelia Ahern now. Mostly, I've enjoyed them as gentle light fiction, many of them with a slightly surreal tinge. I don't buy them new, but am always eager to find them in second-hand and charity shops.

So I was pleased when I found 'Where Rainbows End', inexpensively, a few months ago. It's the story of Rosie and Alex, best friends at their primary school. The story opens when Rosie is about to turn seven, featuring an invitation to her party, and a mildly amusing exchange about whether or not Alex's dog will be welcome.

The book then continues in epistolary format, with notes, emails, letters, and even transcripts of instant chat sessions. It's cleverly done, covering Rosie and Alex's lives over the next four decades without any narrative, other than a brief epilogue.

The friendship, naturally, has its ups and downs but there's a sense of being kindred spirits, sharing all their hopes and dreams with each other, despite each of them finding other friends and - as they get older - lovers. When Alex and his family move to the USA, Rosie is devastated, but their friendship continues through email and chat; she plans to move nearby, after being accepted for a college course... then circumstances change, and her life is never the same again.

It's a light-hearted book, which is perhaps a bit long-winded in places - in what is, I assume, an attempt to make the correspondence seem realistic, there's a fair amount of rambling, some of which I skimmed if it wasn't adding tot he story. It wasn't a book I had to keep picking up through the day, but I enjoyed reading a chapter or two at night, over a couple of weeks.

The ending was somewhat inevitable after much heartbreak and many misunderstandings, but overall I thought it an enjoyable read, if not as good as some of the author's other books.

'Where Rainbows End' has been published many times in paperback, and has recently been released as a film called 'Love, Rosie'; newer editions of the book may have this title as an alternative.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 17th February 2011

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