Book Review: Happily Ever After by Benison Anne O’Reilly

Eleanor (Ellie) Cooper is a woman who, on the surface, seems to have it all. However after marrying the man she believes is her handsome prince she finally reaches the place ‘where fantasy and reality take their different paths and impressionable young girls who believe in fairytales find out they’ve been sold a dud.’

A bright blonde with a small daughter, a couple of university degrees and a job marketing a treatment for erectile dysfunction; she finds herself, and her career, playing second fiddle to her demanding pilot husband, Tony. From the outset it is clear that this marriage is troubled – Tony is an exacting control freak who expects perfection from everyone.

Tragedy strikes in their quest to have a family and Ellie starts to question the foundations of their relationship. This is intertwined with the dramas of her working life, including the unsettling arrival of a handsome new manager. Eventually Tony and Ellie move to Hong Kong as he pursues his dream to be a captain and she makes a last ditch attempt to breach the ever widening gulf between the once happy couple.

This is a novel with serious themes including sadness and loss, betrayal and love. It is told from the perspective of a working mother who juggles everything to keep harmony but ultimately questions why she bothers to keep all the balls in the air.

The story is told with humour and intelligence. This is a first novel from the author and promises much in terms of future work as the depth of her writing develops and increases. As it stands, Happily Ever After? is an easy entertaining read.

Happily Ever After? by Benison Anne O’Reilly is published by Jane Curry Publishing.

Benison Anne O’Reilly is a Sydney based writer. She has degrees in pharmacy and commerce and has most recently worked as a medical writer. Benison and her husband share a house in Sydney’s inner west with three sons and a menagerie of small animals. She was also a woman who seemed to have it all until she discovered that her youngest son was autistic. Since then she has since written a bestselling guide to autism, The Australian Autism Handbook, and blogs regularly on autism related issues.

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