Far From Over by Sheila O'Flanagan

"It's not easy, she thought, this extended family lark. But it's something you can learn to live with."

Warring ex's, family issues and a woman who feels the need to spend, spend, spend when things get rough. Far From Over is a genuine, down-to-earth, warm story, that really brings the true meaning of love and family to the surface. Sheila O'Flanagan highlights the real problems within a family, and instead of smoothing them over, she deals with them through her brilliant array of colorful characters. 

Gemma and David were married. They had the big, beautiful house, the money, the holidays, all the luxuries they could ever want. Until everything fell apart, their life with their two children, Keelin and Ronan, was pretty much perfect. David turned into a workaholic, spending less and less time at home with his family, less time with Gemma, and less time with their relationship. Unable to take any more, Gemma Garvey decided to go down the divorced mother of two road, and do it on her own. 

Now, David has found himself a new woman, who just happens to be a size ten, twenty four year old, tall, elegant, flame-haired beauty. Gemma can't stand her. 

It's a clash of the titans. Gemma, David, Orla, Ronan and Keelin are about to be taken on a bumpy adventure, through the twists and turns of family life. 

Becca's thoughts

Firstly, I just want to say a few things about the cover of Far From Over, because it is just perfect for the story inside. The cup of coffee, the mummy looking apron, the pink and purple font themes, it's just lovely, and it depicts the feeling of home, of a hard working mother and of family. It's feminine, it's simple and it's pretty. It's 100% spot on. 

Sheila O'Flanagan has given this story to us in third person narrative, and we get to see through the eyes and feel through the hearts of many different characters. We get Gemma's point of view, as well as her daughter's, Keelin. We also get David's and Orla's too, which makes things even more interesting. As the pages are turned, the viewpoints swap and change, dropping the story with one character and then swiftly picking it back up with the next. What I love about this is we get to find out things before the characters in the book do, and it's so satisfying and enjoyable. 

The characters in Far From Over are a brilliant mix. We have Keelin, who is only fourteen years old, right up to her father David, who is forty years old. 

Gemma Garvey is the very first character that you get to meet in the book. She works a hairdresser and is a complete and utter shopaholic. Even when she can't afford something, she still buys it anyway. She's thirty five, which isn't actually old at all, but when comparing herself to David's new "flame-haired bimbo bitch", she feels as old as anything. She constantly puts herself down in the story, complaining about the fact that she has put on weight and that she feels ancient, but I think this is all down to the fact that David's new wife is eleven years younger than her and looks like a supermodel. Gemma tries, she really does, and I did feel so sorry for her in many parts of the book. David flounces around with his new piece, whilst Gemma isn't really going anywhere, can hardly be responsible over money and spends her free time washing and cleaning at home. She is always talking about the beginning of her and David's relationship, how wonderful and perfect it had been and how in love they had been with each other at the start. She's funny though, and she's got quite a sharp tongue. She's a fantastic character, and she really makes the story what it is. 

Orla Hennessy is the "flame-haired bimbo bitch" that Gemma cannot stand. There's no particular reason as to why Gemma doesn't like Orla, but Orla isn't too keen on Gemma either. It's practically wife wars! Orla is only twenty four years old, so she's a lot younger than her forty year old husband. She is beautiful, tall, thin and incredibly attractive. She is also very ambitious, and not really meant to play the role of a house wife at all. As much as I took Gemma's side throughout the majority of the book, I did feel, now and again, a bit sorry for Orla. She's this stunning young woman, married at such a young age, to a man with two children and an ex wife that is still pretty much in the picture. She has a lot to deal with, but she believes that she is well and truly in love with David, and of course, love does conquer all, doesn't it? 

David Hennessy is Gemma's ex husband, Orla's new husband and the father of Keelin and Ronan. He's a very hard worker, in other words, a workaholic, who made a complete mess of his marriage with Gemma. He's very traditional in his beliefs, believing that a man should go to work to provide for his family, whilst the woman stays at home with the children and has dinner on the table, waiting for him when he comes home. He's a good father though, seeing his children regularly and giving Gemma money to keep them in luxuries, he even pays for them to go on holiday together. He gets it right, but he gets it wrong the majority of the time. Sometimes I felt like punching him in the face. Okay. A lot of the time. 

Keelin is David and Gemma's daughter, and also Ronan's sister.She's a beautiful young girl, who can look almost seventeen when she puts effort into her appearance. Since the divorce between her mother and father, Keelin has become a bit of a recluse. She usually has her dark hair falling over her face and doesn't really say much, but when she does, you're quite surprised at how wise such a young girl can be. She's at the age where boys are becoming interesting rather than yukky, and she's very clever. She plays a great role in the story, and it's also really refreshing to get a glimpse of  a teenager's point of view too. 

Overall, the characters are a great bunch of people, and once you get to know them, they become so real it's crazy! 

The tone of the book is very family orientated. It focuses a lot on the couples, how they're feeling, and it really throws you too! There's a lot of unexpected goings on included in here, which makes it even more enjoyable. They go on holiday, we get to see the aftermath of Orla and David's honeymoon period, Keelin's thoughts about her father's new wife and Gemma's thoughts too, which are hilarious by the way! It's a great book, and I'm so glad I took the time to read it. It's quite long, at 599 pages, but it's worth it once you get to the end. 

I'd recommend Far From Over to anyone who enjoys a bit of drama, a bit of bitchiness, and a lot of giggles. It's funny, heart-warming and so, so genuine! Trust me, you'll love it! 

I'm giving Far From Over a fantastic rating of 9/10! It deserves nothing less. You completely lose yourself in the story and in the characters, and it's magical when that happens. Sheila O'Flanagan deserves nothing but praise for this, absolutely fantastic!


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