First We Take Manhattan by Colette Caddle

'Que sera, sera.'

Title - First We Take Manhattan
Author - Colette Caddle
Publisher - Simon & Schuster UK Fiction
Publication Date - August 14th 2014
Format - eBook (Provided by Net Galley)
Pages - 416

The blurb

Identical twins, Sinead and Sheila Fields, have always done everything together and so, after graduating in millinery, they decide to open their own hat shop. It's a small business but thanks to hard work and talent, they build up a loyal clientele. Then one day a glamorous young actress buys one of their hats, wears it to the Baftas and suddenly success seems guaranteed. 

But within weeks, tragedy strikes when Sheila disappears, and is presumed dead. After months of desolation, Sinead is just beginning to come to terms with her loss when she is given new hope: there has been a sighting of her sister. While she is filled with excitement at the thought that Sheila might be alive, she is haunted by questions. Why would Sheila have deserted her twin without a word? After all, they had always told each other everything... hadn't they? 

Becca's thoughts 

Before really getting into my review, I would like to say a massive thank you to the publishers for accepting me for this title via Net Galley, and of course to the author, Colette Caddle. Without her incredible ability to create such a brilliant story, I would be left with nothing to say about First We Take Manhattan. Fortunately for me, I have tons to say! Wahooo! 

First We Take Mahattan begins after Sheila's disappearance, but the after-effects of her twin disappearing into thin air are still playing havoc with remaining twin Sinead's mind and emotions. Instantly, I was hooked, and I think that this was a great way to begin the novel. My brain was ticking and I was wondering all about Sheila and what had happened to her. Sheila and Sinead had opened up their own hat making business and things had been going great before Sheila disappeared, but without her twin by her side, Sinead is beginning to let things slip and she just can't find the motivation to do the little things, like answering customer calls and even just getting out of bed in the morning. When Sinead's brother Max steps in and discovers how downhill the business is actually slipping, he decides to take action and helps his sister to get back on top of things. 

What I really, really loved about First We Take Manhattan was the deep, unbreakable connection between the two twins, even though Sheila is presumed dead. Although the story is very firmly set in the present day, the author takes us back every now and again to Sinead and Sheila's childhood. The contrasts between the twins are evident; Sheila had always been very serious and mature for her age even as a little girl, whereas Sinead had been a little bit more on the wild side. Despite their differences, they were incredibly close, and because of this, the fact that Sheila is missing in the present day just makes it all the more powerful, moving and emotional. Coming from a big family myself, I couldn't even begin to put myself into Sinead's shoes and feel the things that she was feeling. I would be utterly heartbroken, and probably end up treading the same path that Sinead did. I completely understood Sinead's right from the very beginning. 

As well as the storyline concerning Sheila and Sinead, there's also the character of Krystie, and she is introduced into the plot a little later on. Krystie kinda' has her own thing going on, but I LOVED watching her life intertwine with Sinead's. It was just fabulous. After just being fired from her job in Sew Splendid, where suits and gowns are altered, Krystie has no idea what she's now going to do. She can't continue to pay the rent on her apartment, so her only option is to return home to Ireland. What's brilliant about Krystie though, is that she's a very talented designer with a keen eye for detail and a talent for creating gorgeous clothes, including her own. So, with the whole talented designer thing, can you see where the story's going? ;) 

I loved the whole mystery involved within this novel, the wondering and the curiosity that Colette drew from me as I turned the pages. Although Sheila wasn't present within the plot itself, I still felt like she was a very important, prominent character. Her disappearance was constantly hanging in the atmosphere, and as the characters spoke of her and Colette took us back in the past, I felt like I knew Sheila just as much as the others. 

As well as the mystery, I felt that another huge theme within this novel was family. Sheila and Sinead's family was quite a big one, and not only do we meet Max, Sinead and hear about Sheila, but Colette also shakes us around and allows us to see from their father Kieran's point of view too! I found this fascination and being allowed to see the same story from so many different people was just brilliant. It really brought each character to life and I truly felt that this was a real, true-to-life family going through a crisis. 

Overall, I really enjoyed First We Take Manhattan. It was fast-paced, interesting, and the characters were incredibly like-able. It was a pleasurable read and I would definitely love to read more of Colette's writing. She has such a gorgeous story-telling ability that makes you feel so involved in the plot and the character's lives. 

Becca's Books is rating First We Take Manhattan by Colette Caddle with four yummy cupcakes! A tale of love, sisters and secrets. A must-read! 


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