She may be the new kid on the block, but Sarah Harte is causing something of a stir in Irish literary circles of late. The first time published author has recently released her novel ‘The Better Half’ to strong critical acclaim. Last week, the Cork born author traveled to Clondra to discuss her book with the Clondra Book Club.
“I am very good friends with one of the book club members in Clondra, Jane Meade. She and I have known each other since we were 12 and traveled together over the years,” said Sarah in speaking to the Leader prior to the book club evening. “I am looking forward to hearing what Jane and the other members have to say about ‘The Better Half’.”
The work, which forms part of a two book deal with Penguin, is set in modern day Ireland. It looks at the life of Anita, a woman who lived the high life of Celtic Tiger Ireland at the side of her wealthy property developer husband, Frank. She has “a perfect life, a perfect marriage, a perfect delusion.”
“The main theme of the book is about Anita, a stay at home mother. Her children are moving away from her and her search now begins to find Anita again,” said Sarah. “The context of the book is the implosion of the Celtic Tiger. It’s a look at the human side of it rather than the commercial side that we are used to.”
As the reader journeys the pages of this book they are introduced to Anita’s glamorous world of lunches with the girls, charity balls and designer shopping, which according to Harte’s publisher is “all oiled by enough salacious gossip about the Dublin smart set to give the National Enquirer a run for its money”.
However, sitting in her doctor’s waiting room one morning Anita hears something that rocks her world. Her discovery shakes both her marriage – and the family she thought happy and secure – to its foundations. Most of all, it shakes up everything she thought she knew about herself.
Since the launch of ‘The Better Half, Harte has enjoyed strong critical acclaim from such quarters as the Irish Times.
“The reviews have been really good,” she said. “I have a weekly blog that I do online and each week I get emails from men and women. The men seem to be more interested in Frank and his property development struggles while the women are more interested in Anita and her search for herself.”
Sarah, who qualified and practiced as a solicitor, took a gamble and left her job to become a full time writer.
“I always wanted to be a writer but life got in the way. I was a corporate solicitor for years and then I made the decision to leave the job and become a writer,” said Sarah. Thankfully the risk paid off.