Little Lovely Things is a remarkable debut novel from Maureen Joyce Connolly that is enthralling, enigmatic, heart-breaking and full of dark suspense. We anxiously encounter the nightmare every parent dreads. SOMEONE STOLE MY CHILDREN! The story fully engages our emotions and pulls us erratically between hope and despair.
Claire was suffering a dreadful reaction after taking a double vaccine dose, and while driving with her 2 children pulls into a garage where she is violently sick in the toilet and passes out. When she awakens, her car with her 2 daughters, Lily and Andrea, are gone. The anguish and turmoil experienced by Claire and how she manages alongside her husband is heartfelt and beautifully crafted. The undercurrents of guilt and blame are subtly drawn and Maureen explores how their relationship is put under strain with such clever, emotional and concealed forces. In her mind, she wonders why he won’t blame her for losing the children, because that’s what she’s doing. The development of this emotional torment is superbly written and addressed really well.
Jay is a Native American who has an extrasensory insight about certain events and has been attracted to particular circumstances. Somehow he found himself intuitively driving along a deserted track and he finds clues of the children that drags him into the story and a connection with Claire that is ultimately a lifeline for all involved.
The background and relationship between Moira and Eamon, who kidnapped the children, is also very unique and again the multiple character layers are so wonderfully crafted. Both are Irish travellers with a unique outlook and approach to life and it’s their disreputable lifestyle that underpins the destructive motivation in this story. Moira, in particular, is a multi-faceted character and her irrational connection to the girls shapes many of the decisions she makes.
Maureen develops fascinating complex characters and their interactions are wonderfully portrayed and not always obvious. This brings about a tense, intriguing and captivating power to the novel where we can experience the different dynamics between the two couples and sympathise, at times, with the criminal elements, and become frustrated with the victims.
Maureen uses a very descriptive writing style which is wonderful to appreciate the imaginative ways of describing the settings or reactions between characters, however, after a while, I felt it started to intrude into the flow of telling the story. This is a personal point-of-view as it’s a fine line between over-describing and maintain the focus of a thriller.
The pace of the story is steady for the majority of the book, and that enables the sense of a bubbling precarious theme that eventually ramps up towards a climactic end. While the main story concept is not new, it does, however, introduce unique perspectives, plot elements and characters that I thoroughly enjoyed. The psychological elements seem very well researched and were very interesting.
I highly recommend this book and I wish to thank Maureen Joyce Connolly and NetGalley for an ARC version of the book in return for an honest review.
Trailer for Little Lovely Things