One Hundred Names (by Cecelia Ahern)

I’ve enjoyed some of the books by Cecelia Ahern, but not all of them. Nonetheless, I like her writing style, and the fact that her novels are never run-of-the-mill or predictable. I was intrigued enough by the blurb for this one that I put it on my wishlist, and was given it for a recent birthday.

‘One hundred names’ is about Kitty, a journalist who has been fired from her TV job after an investigation and report that went badly wrong. She’s consumed with guilt, and worried about her other job as a reporter for a magazine. She is close friends with the owner, Constance, who is very sick; the opening scene shows Kitty reluctantly visiting her friend in hospital.

Kitty is given one last chance to write a great story - and it’s a mysterious one. A hundred names are listed, with - she assumes - a link of some kind. But she is given no clue what the link might be, and has around two weeks to come up with 5,000 words. She starts working through the list but is met with rejections and disappointments - several nbpeople have moved, or are not interested in speaking to her.

Gradually she finds a few people who are willing to meet her, but as she gets to know them, she becomes more and more puzzled about the assignment. There are some diverse stories, and she’s able to dig beneath the surface to some degree - but can’t figure out what they all have in common.

It’s a character-based story; in getting to know a few people from the list, Kitty overcomes some of her fears and inhibitions, and starts to think more about other people. She realises that she had lost her love of stories, and begins to regain it. She eventually figures out what her article is about - I suddenly realised it myself, a few pages before it’s revealed - and also discovers who her real friends are.

In a sense there’s not much plot; it’s a light read which I finished in just a few days despite being quite a long book. I did sometimes lose track, briefly, of who was whom; the characters aren’t particularly well-developed, other than Kitty, and some of the stories were a bit far-fetched. Still, it’s quite thought-provoking.

I'd recommend this for holiday reading if you enjoy lightweight women's fiction. It's available in Kindle form as well as paperback, but is almost as expensive electronically.

Review copyright 2014 Sue's Book Reviews

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