The Rachel Incident by Caroline O’Donoghue [Book Review]

The Rachel Incident by Caroline O’Donoghue became one of my instant favorites – find out why I loved the book so much!

I heard the rave reviews about Promising Young Woman when it was first released (even before it was turned into a critically acclaimed movie starring Carey Mulligan), so I was very aware of author Caroline O’Donoghue. I can’t tell you why I never got around to reading anything by her, but now that I’ve read The Rachel Incident, I plan to consume everything O’Donoghue’s ever written! I loved this book and gave it five out of five stars.

What is the book about?

Rachel is a student working at a bookstore when she meets James, and it’s love at first sight. Effervescent and insistently heterosexual, James soon invites Rachel to be his roommate and the two begin a friendship that changes the course of both their lives forever. Together, they run riot through the streets of Cork city, trying to maintain a bohemian existence while the threat of the financial crash looms before them.

When Rachel falls in love with her married professor, Dr. Fred Byrne, James helps her devise a reading at their local bookstore, with the goal that she might seduce him afterwards. But Fred has other desires. So begins a series of secrets and compromises that intertwine the fates of James, Rachel, Fred, and Fred’s glamorous, well-connected, bourgeois wife. Aching with unrequited love, shot through with delicious, sparkling humor, The Rachel Incident is a triumph. []

My thoughts:

The Rachel Incident was fantastic! The characters felt so genuine, and the story felt so intimate that I forgot the book was a work of fiction rather than a biography. I’d heard of author Caroline O’Donoghue before but had never read any of her previous work – that will undoubtedly change now that I’ve finished this one. I enjoyed her writing so much that I intend to devour every other book she has written.

My only little gripe is that the book’s synopsis causes a potential reader to believe it is humorous, while the writing style can be light and witty. There are moments of joy and celebration; The Rachel Incident is not a funny novel. Nonetheless, it is well worth your time, and you should put it on your reading list today!