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Book of the Week: Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahern

December 6, 2016

Why we love it: The author who had us in tears in P.S. I Love You captivates once again with the magical story of a woman named Lyrebird.

The novel starts with a funeral in the mountains of Ireland. Tom Toolin, who together with his twin Joe, was the focus of an acclaimed documentary by production team Mouth to Mouth, has passed away. Bo, a ruthless director hell-bent on another success (much to the disgust of her sound director boyfriend Solomon and camera woman Rachel) is determined to film the funeral and life of Joe Toolin after his inseparable twin’s death. What they did not expect to find were clues to a secret Tom had kept hidden from his twin, a secret that leads them to discover a mysterious young woman living alone on the Toolin twins’ property.

Strikingly beautiful, Laura has an extraordinary talent for mimicry, like the famous Australian Lyrebird. Bo, determined that this will be her next big project, immediately goes into action and manipulates Laura into doing a documentary. Solomon and Rachel, despite their reluctance at Bo’s aggressive nature towards the project, are fascinated by this almost mythical creature, bestowing the nickname Lyrebird upon her. However, Solomon feels more than just a professional interest in Lyrebird, as something deep inside him changes at her smile and he falls deeply under her spell.

They take Laura back with them to the city, and she leaves behind her peaceful life to learn about a new world. Bo, still ruthless about the new documentary, arranges for Laura to go on StarrQuest, a reality show to show off her talents to the world. Solomon, still battling his growing feelings towards Lyrebird and his irritation at his girlfriend, tries to convince Bo to protect Laura rather than share her with the world. Laura, believing this will keep her close to Solomon, agrees to audition and what transpires is the brutal consequences of reality TV, and Lyrebird’s adaption to the real world in ways she, and the Mouth to Mouth crew, never expected.

Lyrebird is an enchanting story with a haunting theme, memorable characters, and a strong message to embrace your own uniqueness. With a protagonist who isn’t like anyone you’ve seen before, you’ll get swept up in Laura’s nervous energy and support her every step of her inspiring journey. Laura mimics sounds in a natural, effortless way, and most of the time she doesn’t even know she’s doing it. Written beautifully, the book is filled with her squawks, cries, and a whimsical energy that allows you to block the outside world. Like Solomon, you want her to experience life but not lose what she had in the woods and once she enters StarrQuest, the reality show backdrop raises many interesting issues to ponder over.

This is also a feel-good book with lots of witty dialogue and an inevitable romance. Despite Bo and Solomon being in a relationship, you’ll get carried away by the strong connection between Laura and Sol, and start rooting for them to be together. A lyrical read that is accentuated through Laura’s ability and Solomon’s love for sound, Lyrebird is a stunning reminder to stop and listen to the beauty that surrounds us. 

Cecelia Ahern was born and grew up in Dublin. Before embarking on her writing career, she completed a degree in Journalism and Media Communications. At twenty-one years old, she wrote her first novel, P.S. I Love You which instantly became an international bestseller and was adapted into a major motion picture starring Hilary Swank. She is now published in nearly fifty countries, and has sold over twenty-five million copies of her novels worldwide. Two of her books have been adapted as films and she has created several TV series.

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