Your Preview Verdict: A Week to Remember by Esther Campion

Your Preview Verdict: A Week to Remember by Esther Campion

A converted stone farmhouse on the Irish coast is about to receive its first guests in this warmly captivating story for fans of Maeve Binchy and Monica McInerney

With its brightly painted front door, white-sash windows and garden path sweeping down toward the sea, Lizzie O’s guesthouse promises a welcome escape from the world. Aisling and Mick Fitzgerald are travelling all the way from Tasmania to celebrate their wedding anniversary, but Aisling is burdened with a secret that could ruin their marriage. Declan Byrne, exhausted from an unhealthy routine of long hours, takeaway and too much red wine, has spontaneously taken the week off to visit the village of his childhood summers. Katie Daly returns to West Cork after an absence of 35 years to care for her ageing mother only to find she must confront her painful past. Finally, Mia Montgomery is taking this holiday without telling her husband.

Each of this group of strangers is at a crossroads. And one week in the middle of winter may change all of their lives.

Read some great reviews from our Preview readers here:

A Week to Remember is a gorgeous, transportive novel about a group of people gathering for a one week vacation at a converted Irish farmhouse. The story switches between the perspectives of the different guests staying at the farmhouse, and I loved delving into each of their lives and the predicaments that prompted their escape to the Irish coast. In fact, there were a couple of characters I would have loved to read more about! A Week to Remember would be a perfect holiday read, best consumed when you have time to sit, relax, and enjoy the fabulous story. I cannot decide if my favourite part of the book was the stunningly, vivid descriptions of the farmhouse or the amazing food served by the hosts! If you are wanting to escape for a few hours to a picturesque farmhouse on the rugged coast of Ireland, this is the book for you! – Amanda, QLD, 5 Stars

This is a heartwarming story about 5 visitors to Lizzie O’s guesthouse in West Cork Ireland. Her guests include Aisling and Mick, a couple celebrating their Wedding Anniversary with a holiday back home. Lilian, Mick’s mother, has travelled from Ireland to Tasmania to look after the children. Declan a dentist is enjoying a break from work and is taking a chance that no one will recognise him in this town where he grew up. Katie has come home to help her mother but prefers to stay at the guest house than at her family home. Mia has gone away on a holiday without telling her husband. Esther Campion’s writing paints pictures of scenery and places that are full of warmth and charm. Even though there are multiple characters each with their own story to tell it is easy to follow along and fall in love with each character. She gives wonderful vivid descriptions of each character and their personalities bringing each one to life. My favourite sentence in the book is ‘This Doug character might be well preserved, but unless he was hiding a personality under those hirsute pectorals, there was no chance of anything her imagination might conjure’. – Ann-Marie, SA, 5 Stars

Esther Campion’s new novel, ‘A Week to Remember’, wraps readers within a warm embrace. The ideal and picturesque setting sweeps readers away to a charming stone farmhouse on the Irish coast. The newly converted guesthouse, Lizzie O’s, greets a range of diverse characters, all with their own secrets and relationship troubles. Campion builds upon the layers of her characters’ personalities, creating a touching story that will have readers wanting more. Within the short span of a week, each character is forced out of their comfort zone and must face problems that they would rather ignore. Campion’s expert use of colloquial language, humour and imagery will have readers travelling to this idyllic setting and joining this strange but endearing assortment of guests. Absorbing and intimate, ‘A Week to Remember’ is a must read for lovers of armchair travel and contemporary romantic fiction. A heart-warming read for this Mother’s Day! – Genene, SA, 5 Stars

Thoroughly enjoyable summer read about a group of strangers all coming together for a week of personal discovery at a guest house in Ireland. Good use of language evokes the warm, comforting feeling of being embraced by a house and place. – Alison, NSW, 5 Stars

“A Week to Remember” by Esther Campion was an easy read. A group of strangers who meet at a guest house, all with their own problems. Gradually as the week progressed they all managed to realize that everyone goes through difficult periods in their life. They all left with a refreshed attitude to life. Enjoyed the storyline, easy to relate to, well told. – Judy, WA, 5 Stars

Five strangers on a weeks holiday at a new guesthouse, Lizzie O’s, in West Cork makes for a lovely easy weekend read. Mick and Aisling Fitzgerald from Tasmania are returning to Ireland for their wedding anniversary, Declan Byrne a soon to be divorced dentist taking a much-needed break, Mia Montgomery escaping her marriage and Katie Daly returning to her home after a 35-year absence to care for her mother at a distance. They all have something to escape from, they are all wrapped up in their own world and their own problems, some of them have secrets but over the week at the guesthouse, you can feel their lives changing for the better. This is a truly wonderful read. I so wanted to be wrapped up in a blanket by the fire at Lizzie O’s chatting with the guests. – Karyn, ACT, 5 Stars

Loved loved loved this book. A wonderful afternoon spent with friends this is how you feel after reading this. – Sally, VIC, 5 Stars

Thank you for Better Reading and the publisher for this ARC. This heart-warming book follows the stay of five of the first guests to Lizzie O’s guest house. Five strangers, each with their own past, their own mistakes and their own crosses to bear. Can one week at Lizzie O’s give them the chance to set their lives straight? I adored this book from Esther Campion. The author has a way of creating a warm and nurturing atmosphere. The tales of the five strangers feel very real and are told with sympathy and compassion. I initially found it difficult to keep track of who was who, but this confusion soon melted away and Campion’s easy writing style took over. I loved seeing how each of the guests’ stories unfolded before me. Everything unfolded so naturally. The dialogue was spot on. Reading this book felt like a warm hug. Highly recommended for fans of Monica McInerney and Maeve Binchy. – Angela, VIC, 5 Stars

I’m afraid to say this is my first Esther Campion book! Oh my ….how beautiful and well placed is the writing. Lizzie O’s guesthouse seems to have a magic power over the guests that stay there, guests come with baggage both physical and emotional and come away feeling refreshed, renewed and ready to begin again. Esther has a way of drawing you into the lives of the guests and you don’t want to leave! The unveiling of the past and the revelations that arise are presented in such a kind way that it eases the pain of the characters. Overall this is a lovely story of life’s trials and the regrets of the past, but Esther shows us that with a little love and some caring honesty all will be ok. – Danielle, VIC, 5 Stars

Thanks for the opportunity to review this great book. to remember by Esther Campion thanks to Better reading #BRPreview. This is a beautiful story that really touches the heartstrings. The characters so well developed they either feel like old friends or long lost relatives. It is about a diverse group of people off on a holiday adventure to the scenic Irish coast. Each group has different dynamics, some for nostalgic reasons to relive anniversary memories, others who need recuperation from overwork or heartbreak. Whatever they’re the reason for going there, their interactions change the course of their lives. Bringing insight, solutions and endings. It’s a lovely story that is hard to put down. Thoroughly enjoyable and addictive style of writing, I’ll definitely be seeking out more of her books. Thanks for the opportunity to review this beautiful read. – Janet, NSW, 5 Stars

I really loved this book! Such a warm and interesting story, filled with such beautiful intriguing characters. I couldn’t put it down, I was so eager to find out what happened to each of them in this wonderful Week to Remember. The evocative sights and sounds felt so real, as though I were right there watching the story unfold in front of me. Lizzie O’s guesthouse sounds like the perfect getaway, I wish it were real !! The hosts were incredible and food sounded scrumptious. The stunning setting and coziness of West Cork and Lizzie O’s made me dream of finding a place just like this to escape to. I loved that we followed very different characters on their individual journeys, lovely storytelling for each character. They each have their hardships to work through but become interlaced at Lizzie O’s and so the story also fills with lots of warmth and humorous times, which I found so true to real-life. I loved this book so much, that I went out and bought both of Esther Campion’s other books straight away! I loved Esther Campion’s storytelling, beautiful. – Debra, NSW, 5 Stars

The rugged West Cork coastline is the setting for this gentle and sensitive new novel ‘A Week to Remember’ by Esther Campion. And remember you will from the moment the first guests arrive at the converted farmhouse and their reasons for being there are revealed. You will become enveloped in their heartfelt stories of lives, some damaged and worn and others on the cusp of resurgence. American businesswoman Katie Daly returns to allow her sister respite from caring for their elderly mother. Katie rediscovers her own troubled past with fresh eyes. Mia, a young married woman escaping for a solo week of freedom only to discover herself and new hopes. I loved this novel, it took me there to Cork as an observer of life and it’s possibilities. – Wendy, SA, 5 Stars

A lovely feel-good book – perfect for a curled up, all-in-one-go read. Predictably happy endings all round, but enough plot twists to keep you reading. It was a clever idea to place most of the characters out of their normal lives, a group of strangers connected by place. The characters were all believable and the dialogue was easy flowing. I really liked the dual settings – both locations a little familiar to me – which helps fill in the word picture painted by the author. I look forward to reading her earlier books. – Victoria, NSW, 5 Stars

Slow to start and keeping this leisurely pace throughout, A Week to Remember, wasn’t an exciting page-turner but a pleasant read. This novel brings a group of people to a refurnished farmhouse B&B in Ireland with the story moving between Tasmania and Ireland. Some of the new arrivals have lots to think about and problems to be solved in this idyllic setting. Lizzi O’s needed to work its magic in a short time. I loved reading about new friendships formed in this beautiful place. I found some of Esther’s characters not very likeable but others were delightful. For me a predictable ending but delivered very well. Thank you for the opportunity to read ‘A Week to Remember’. – Sharon, ACT, 4 Stars

This was my first read of an Esther Campion story and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Esther captured the characters personalities well and you got a feeling that any one of them could’ve been your relative or neighbour. I finished this in two days, it was a very easy laid back book to read, which is sometimes just what we need. Whilst some of it was predictable… as most books with a plot of strangers coming together for a week away with all different issues and secrets generally are, there is certainly enough interest to keep the pages turning. I agree with the likening of this author to Maeve Binchy, it also reminded me of Tricia Stringer’s Table for Eight (but on land). My only complaint I guess is I wanted to read more, especially about Mia. I’d definitely recommend this book to those who want something light with happy endings all round. – Donna, NSW, 4 Stars

A great read, an interesting line-up of characters, each with an complex back story gradually revealed to capture and hold your interest throughout. The story is set in the gorgeous backdrop of seaside Ireland – what’s not to love! – Melanie, VIC, 4 Stars

A story of a group of strangers from all over the world who holiday at a new guesthouse in country Ireland for different reasons and who leave with different perspectives than what they were expecting. Old love, new love, secrets and second chances. The characters felt very real, as if I knew them personally. The description of the guesthouse and countryside in general definitely made me wish it was real so I could book a stay there myself. An easy read which kept me entertained until the end. – Katrina, VIC, 4 Stars

A Week to Remember is an easy read, where you fall in love with the myriad of charming characters, some instantly and others growing on you, as you delve deeper into the story. With it all coming together in the charming Irish guesthouse, located in the most idyllic location with wonderful hosts, it will leave you wondering how you can “book” in yourself. Will definitely be passing this story on to friends to enjoy as well. – Rebecca, NSW, 4 Stars

A book with heart. At first, I was frustrated by how many characters there were – and struggled to keep them all apart. But then, and I don’t know exactly when, but they all started being their own individual people, with their own stresses, problems and, most importantly, love. I could feel every part of Lizzie O’s guesthouse and could feel how cozy, warm and full of love it was – it made me want a weekend away! Well written with fleshed-out characters, this book moved along perfectly with no time spent wishing it would hurry up. the little drama the end was unexpected but exactly what was needed to wrap up the story. A lovely read. – Rochelle, VIC, 4 Stars

This book is a delicious treat, best enjoyed on a comfy sofa with a cuppa in hand. A trip to a gorgeous guest house in Ireland is something I can only dream of in our current environment, and this story took me there in vivid detail. I could smell the scones, feel the warmth of the fire, and hear the thrashing rain against the walls of the main house. The setting feeds the soul that misses overseas travel. The characters, with all their different backgrounds, had such varied reasons for being at the guesthouse which had me thinking that this was almost a relationship rescue centre rather than a place to getaway. Each person staying at Lizzie O’s had their own story and at the same time, they were creating stories in their own mind about each other. Everyone had major relationship problems and in the space of a week were able to have them solved, which is a little unbelievable. A couple deals with infidelity and resolves it in a few days? That was a little ambitious. However, it is a fabulous story that feeds the imagination with delightful details you can almost make yourself believe you can feel, taste and see. – Rebekah, NSW, 4 Stars

A Week to Remember – a group of strangers are the first guests at the newly renovated stone farmhouse – Lizzy O’s on the coast in Ireland. The description of the scenery, the accommodation, the food and the hosts Ellen and Gerry had me wishing I was there and if this place does exist book me in (once COVID is under control & we can travel) This book was a delight to read. – Leigh, WA, 4 Stars

An old stone farmhouse perched along a windswept Irish coastline awaits its very first guests. Lizzie O’s guesthouse has been lovingly renovated by Ellen O’Shea and named in honour of her late grandmother. After meeting the guests, we’re given snippets about their motivations for venturing to this charming corner of Ireland in the midst of a dreary, wet and blustery winter. You’ll find yourself befriending these relatable but troubled characters, while the plot reveals a web of secrets, deceptions and heartfelt realisations as memories flame old emotions for some. The sense of place is intoxicating: a lush but wild coastline, waves crashing against craggy cliffs; ominous grey skies threatening to unleash frigid rain — all creating a wonderfully vivid setting — I felt captivated by the landscape. I devoured this book. I was charmed by the Irish dialogue Esther Campion deftly incorporates into her characters’ interactions and craved the mouth-watering meals created by Gerry, Ellen’s partner and chef extraordinaire. Lizzie O’s tantalises your sensory taste buds. A book to savour over a lazy weekend cozied up with your favourite beverage, by the end of your stay with A Week to Remember, you’ll emerge like you’ve just returned from a heartwarming vacation. – Linda, QLD, 4 Stars

I really enjoyed this book as it had humour, wit and was very easy to read. The characters were easy to relate to and social issues were treated with compassion and understanding. Katie is the first character we meet and she is a victim of domestic violence, is raped and becomes pregnant and is sent to a home for unmarried mothers. The author is aware of Ireland’s harsh treatment of these girls (see the film “Philomena”) but when Katie revisits the home 35 years later things have changed dramatically and for the better. Declan, Prue and Edwina bring an enlightened view to same-sex marriage. Mick and Aisling have marital problems but mutual love and respect and resolve their problems. Mia decides to stop being a submissive wife, to put her own needs first and hopefully find a kindred spirit. Phyllis has led a hard life and needs help to avoid being sent to a care home, but on the other side of the world, Lillian is finding a new lease on life. Ellen and Gerry have a history but manage to provide a haven for old grievances to be healed and new beginnings to start. Great read, would recommend. – Kate, QLD, 4 Stars

Loved it. A beautiful summer afternoon read. It had everything. A wonderful Irish setting. A newly refurbished family home that is opening itself up to others. A couple visiting from abroad, the wife far from happy and hiding a secret from a loving husband. A man who has worked so hard he has forgotten his roots. A young woman who is finding her own way without her partner, and a woman who returns to the family home and her mother to find that things are not as they have been portrayed. This was well written and I finished it in an afternoon. I loved nearly all of the characters and found myself empathising with most of them. It was a truly enjoyable novel. – Nicola, VIC, 4 Stars

A newly renovated guest house opens in West Cork, Ireland. A home away from home welcoming Aisling and Mick Fitzgerald, Declan Byrne, Katie Daly and Mia Montgomery as the first guests of the season. All have arrived ready for a week stay in the middle of winter, all for very different reasons. This book is a lot more than the romantic story I was expecting five strangers enjoying a week’s getaway, their stories predictably intertwining. At the beginning of the book, I developed a strong dislike of two of the main characters who I felt were flawed and left me to wonder why in fact were they the main characters. As each character’s individual story revealed itself, my perception shifted. I felt guilty of the early, immature assumptions I had made and became empathetic to their struggles and their triumphs and warmed to each character. Everyone has their own obstacles they must overcome. You never really know what someone is faced with unless you know their story. A Week to Remember shows this and is a reminder of the importance of friendship, love and acceptance of others and above all yourself. – Sascha, SA, 3 Stars

A week to remember was an enjoyable book to read. It really took me back to the Irish countryside. I enjoyed the descriptions of the landscapes and locations. The book was an easy read. The book did contain quite a few characters and at times did not feel that all of these were fleshed out enough. The book covered themes of secrets, forgiveness and reconciling with the past. – Jemma, VIC, 3 Stars

A Week to Remember is a great beach read, interesting, but not too taxing on the brain, beyond the first 80 pages or so that see a huge number of characters introduced. It’s not just the main characters whose stories we’re following, but all the characters that make up their individual stories we have to keep track of, and it’s a bit overwhelming. The cast of characters is mostly good, even if they’ve made some mistakes along the way, and I found myself wanting a bit more variety in the personalities. An unrealistically harmonious bunch, their stories intersect through their stay at Lizzie O’s guesthouse in the wilds of Ireland, even as their plots remain mostly separate as they move towards happy (although mostly predictable) endings. I found this an enjoyable middle-of-the-road read, best suited to someone looking for some light holiday reading. – Amanda, WA, 3 Stars

Fans of ensemble, feel-good reads will enjoy A Week to Remember. Four storylines meet at Lizzie O’s Guesthouse, a fabulous new B&B on the cliffs of Cork one week in winter, each at a crossroads of their life. Can marriages survive? Can past wrongs ever be forgiven? Can lost love be renewed? Though it can be read as a standalone, apparently characters from previous novels do appear, which explains the feeling I had about missing information. An enjoyable light read, leaving me with a desire to visit Cork, and an unreasonably high bar set for my next B&B stay. – Juanita, NSW, 3 Stars

While this was an enjoyable read, I found the pace somewhat slow and the storyline a little boring. The characters were relatable and well developed but I just couldn’t get into it. – Natalie, NSW, 3 Stars

A lovely story about second chances, trust and learning to face the past. This would have to be the best guest house ever to visit- even if it’s during an Irish winter! The characters in this story all face different personal challenges that have brought them to a critical juncture in their lives. This was an enjoyable read for the setting and quirky characters. A satisfying ending while still dealing with some complex dilemmas. – Tundra, ACT, 3 Stars

Maeve Binchy fans will be thrilled to read this book, such an easy read. You’ll be transported to that windswept coastline in Ireland rooting for each character to find what they are looking for, with the charming Ellen and Gerry there to gently steer them along. We should all have our own ‘Lizzie O’s’ to check into for a week once a year. – Rebecca, QLD, 3 Stars

Enjoyed this novel as I love any books centred around Ireland. But did think it was too much like a Maeve Binchy story. But still enjoyable – Suzanne, NSW, 3 Stars

A weeks holiday at Lizzie’s guesthouse proves life-changing for this group of strangers ( one married couple ) which proves to be life-changing for them all. It’s a time of reflection in relationships, we need to consider others. Life isn’t all about self! A light, enjoyable read – somewhat predictable. – Annie, NSW, 3 Stars

Reviews

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2 March 2021

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                    Publisher details

                    A Week to Remember
                    Author
                    Esther Campion
                    Publisher
                    Hachette
                    Genre
                    Fiction
                    Released
                    23 February, 2021
                    ISBN
                    9780733645518

                    Synopsis

                    Whether it was the lure of the rugged coastline or the comforting image of the house, he wasn't sure, but he couldn't remember the last time he'd taken a holiday... With its brightly painted front door, white-sash windows and garden path sweeping down toward the sea, Lizzie O's guesthouse promises a welcome escape from the world. Aisling and Mick Fitzgerald are travelling all the way from Tasmania to celebrate their wedding anniversary, but Aisling is burdened with a secret that could ruin their marriage. Declan Byrne, exhausted from an unhealthy routine of long hours, takeaway and too much red wine, has spontaneously taken the week off to visit the village of his childhood summers. Katie Daly returns to West Cork after an absence of 35 years to care for her ageing mother only to find she must confront her painful past. Finally, Mia Montgomery is taking this holiday without telling her husband. Each of this group of strangers is at a crossroads. And one week in the middle of winter may change all of their lives.
                    Esther Campion
                    About the author

                    Esther Campion

                    Esther Campion is from Cork, Ireland and currently lives in north-west Tasmania. She attended North Presentation Convent in Cork and has degrees from University College Cork and the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Esther and her Orcadian husband have lived in Ireland, Scotland, Norway and South Australia. They have a grown-up daughter in Adelaide and the two youngest at home in Tassie with an over-indulged chocolate Labrador and two horses, which Esther firmly believes are living proof that dreams really can come true.

                    Books by Esther Campion

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