Spotlight Review – For Once in My Life by Marianne Kavanagh

FOiML Cover

Atria/Emily Bestler Books |  400 pages | ISBN 9781476755274 | June 2014


Everyone has a soul mate…but what if you never find each other?

Meet Tess. A vintage clothes-obsessive, she’s trapped in a frighteningly grown-up job she loathes. Still, she’s been dating the gorgeous accountant Dominic since university, and has a perfectly lovely flat, which she shares with her best friend, Kirsty. But if her life is so perfect, why does she tear up whenever anyone mentions her future?

Meet George. He’s a brilliant jazz musician who spends almost as much time breaking up fights between his bickering band mates as he does about living up to his stockbroker girlfriend’s very high expectations. For a guy who has always believed in romance, the grim practicalities of twenty-something life have come as something of a shock. When did his dreams become afterthoughts?

Follow Tess and George through a decade of bad dates, chaotic dinner parties, magical birthdays, dead-end jobs, romantic misalliances, and lots of starting over. For Once in My Life is a charming and intelligent modern comedy of manners, friendship, and missed connections.


 Patricia’s Review

This story explores the concept of soul mates and how two people can be so perfectly made for one another that they are each other’s missing half. Tess grapples with this concept and a series of missed connections with her soul mate, George, over the course of a decade. While their lives have common players who believe they are perfectly suited for one another, fate has a strange way of misaligning their stars and preventing them from meeting.

A chance meeting and poor timing would serve to push both Tess and George to reevaluate the paths their lives have taken and whether or not they are happy. When things come to a head in their respective lives, they must decide if they will continue with the meager existence of life without one another or if they will choose to seek the completeness that only a soul mate can provide.

I liked this story. The premise was intriguing and the characters were likeable. The story had some lulls where it seemed to drag a bit, but I like how things progressed and how it ended. While this book has an underlying romance, I would classify it as chick-lit. Since the author is British, my American English did not quite fathom what was being conveyed on occasion. I was able to use context clues to figure out the meaning in most cases, but the language differences were frequently noted. While it did not keep me from enjoying the story, it did create some bumps in the smoothness of the story.  Overall this was a great debut novel.

Overall Rating 3.5-4.0

**I was provided a complimentary copy from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

MK Profile

Marianne Kavanagh has worked on a number of UK magazines, including Woman, Tatler and the Telegraph’s Saturday magazine. She joined the launch team of Marie Claire, where she became deputy editor, before leaving to spend more time with her family. Since then, as a freelance editor and feature writer, Marianne has contributed to a wide variety of newspapers, magazines and websites, including the Telegraph, Mail, Guardian, Marie Claire, Easy Living, MyDaily and Red. She writes a weekly column, ‘Surviving Teenagers’, for the parenting site Parentdish. She lives in London.

Connect with Marianne: Website | Twitter | Goodreads

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