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Book Review: Wishful Thinking, By Melissa Hill
Melissa Hill's fourth novel Wishful Thinking is a great, easy to follow read. The Number 1 Irish Best-seller was originally published in 2005 by Poolberg Press.
I read the later edition of 2008 that was released by Hodder. The updated version features a young woman in a green trench coat on the cover standing beside a line that reads:
"stop dreaming, start living..."
The mix between dreams and reality plays throughout the novel to reveal messages about being thankful for what we have in the present moment.Three women are the central characters.
The Main Course: The Plot
Wishful Thinking follows the journey of three women who wish they were living different lives than their current ones. The setting is in the city of Dublin.
The three women are:
- Louise is a young, single woman who has struggled with her weight and is now thin. She finds herself with financial problems, a court case looming, and self-esteem issues.
- Dara is a married woman who wants more from her current relationship as she dreams of true love. She reunites with an old flame that may provide the passion she desires.
- Rosie is a widow with two grown children. She struggles as she does not understand how to connect with her children who Rosie's friends call selfish. She wants to help her children but she is unsure how to do so effectively.
The novel follows the journeys of the three women, devoting complete chapters to each female. Readers follow the women through upbeat, positive moments and then into conflicted situations. When the Dublin train is in an accident, the lives of these women are affected in drastic ways... No spoiler alert here.
While the beginning of the novel separates these women's lives, the characters begin to overlap in subtle ways. For example, Rosie's friend Sheila is the mother to Dara's husband. When readers become deep into the middle of the novel, the connections are explored by author Melissa Hill.
The Dessert: My Favourite Part
The dessert, the sweet treat, is my favourite part of any meal. For Wishful Thinking, there are many delicious parts.
I really enjoyed the messages of the book that gently tugged at me as I read the pages. Each of the three women wishes they were living different lives than their current ones. In real life, many people say "I wish" and "I want" to refer to desires for material objects and new relationships. The book investigated what could happen if you really did get what you wished for; what you receive may not always show up in the ways that you imagined and you still may not be happy.
Hill pursues the differences between needs and wants. The two concepts are not interchangeable although people often view their "wants" as being the same as their "needs". In the novel, it takes the devastating circumstance of the train wreck for all three of the women to gain perspective as to what is truly important in their lives.
Through the women's personal challenges, as different as they each are, the novel gently imposes the message to be thankful for what we do have rather than looking at what we want to obtain. As well, we must be careful what we wish for; wishes can come true and show up in a completely different form than the ones we imagined.
I rate Melissa Hill's novel Wishful Thinking as four out of five stars. I would like for the characters to have become intertwined slightly earlier in the novel. I do highly recommend the book as it is a fast read and the main characters are highly memorable.
I found myself feeling sorry for Rosie, whose home gets turned upside-down by her grown son. I wished young Louise would gain more self-confidence and, as for Dara, I wanted her to be happy with her current husband rather than looking for new love. I became interested in the characters, a mark of a well-written book.
Other novels by Melissa Hill include Before I Forget and Something You Should Know.