The Rachel Incident by Caroline O’Donoghue #review

Title: The Rachel Incident
Caroline O’Donoghue
Publisher: Virago


Where would I start, and how would it even make sense? How could you understand the year in Shandon Street unless you were there, with us, living it?

Rachel Murray is twenty-one years old, platonically infatuated with her housemate James, and less-than-platonically infatuated with her enigmatic, married English professor Dr Byrne. Over the course of a year, as Rachel and James’s lives become more and more deeply entwined with those of Dr Byrne and his perfect wife Deenie, tensions rise, and a shocking secret threatens everything they hold dear.

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My review:

The Rachel Incident is a smart, compelling novel set in Cork, Ireland. We follow Rachel and her best friend and housemate James as they navigate leaving university and growing up during a time plagued by economic and political difficulties (2009).

The characterisation is brilliant; I’d happily read about Rachel and James and the people in their lives for many more pages – I didn’t want this novel to end! For some chapters, we jump forward in time to view Rachel as an older woman. She’s reflecting on what happened and we soon realise something happened back then which had a huge impact on Rachel’s life.

There are serious topics addressed throughout this book, but they’re dealt with sensitively. It is very relatable; even if the reader hasn’t had the same experiences we can still imagine being that age and feeling that way. This adds to the book’s brilliant charm.

I hugely enjoyed The Rachel Incident – it’s witty and poignant, and I finished it in no time. Would highly recommend it.

My rating: 5/5


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