Love can be a truly terrible thing.
Marriages are tricky at the best of times, especially when one of you is dead.
Vincent Banecroft, the irascible editor of The Stranger Times, has never believed his wife died despite emphatic evidence to the contrary. Now, against all odds, it seems he may actually be proved right; but what lengths will he go to in an attempt to rescue her?
With Banecroft distracted, the shock resignation of assistant editor, Hannah Willis, couldn’t have come at a worse time. It speaks volumes that her decision to reconcile with her philandering ex-husband is only marginally less surprising than Banecroft and his wife getting back together. In this time of crisis, is her decision to swan off to a fancy new-age retreat run by a celebrity cult really the best thing for anyone?
As if that wasn’t enough, one of the paper’s ex-columnists has disappeared, a particularly impressive trick seeing as he never existed in the first place.
After being visited by the ghost of his dead wife (sort of) Vincent Banecroft becomes a man on a mission. He always believed there was something fishy around her death, never quite sure she was actually dead and now he might actually have been proved right. But with the shock resignation of his assistant editor, a new one being thrust on him and his newspaper potentially posting something close to the truth for once, Banecroft will need to decide the lengths he is willing to go to find his wife, and who he is willing to sacrifice in the process. But as with all things Stranger Times, things aren’t always what they seem. There is something darker and much older behind the sudden ghostly meetings, something that has it’s eyes on a member of the paper and is willing to do whatever it takes to get their hands on them.
As with both The Stranger Times and This Charming Man, Love Will Tear Us Apart is a riotous, hilarious story filled with plenty of heart… if you look really, really deep. McDonnell brings us his standout cast of characters, we get the same main cast from The Stranger Times as well as cameos from some of our standout side characters, but what I love is that with each book he seems to take us deeper into the world of the magical. Each book, and with it, each new character gives us a greater insight into his magical version of Manchester, and all help tie together the overlapping plot that holds all the books together. I especially liked seeing Hannah away from the newspaper in this book, not only because it meant we got to spend more time with her, but also because it meant we got to meet my favourite character, and a new one, Betty. The woman brought in to replace Hannah as assistant editor, we’re not sure whether she’s on our (the newspapers) side, but her addition added plenty of humour, mystery and some excellent action scenes to the story.
As I said above, with each book McDonnell drags us deeper and deeper into his magical version of Manchester, allowing us to learn more about the creatures that live along side us, as well as giving us a deeper insight into The Founders, a council of magical beings who control all those who live here. It’s hard to talk about these books too much without giving away spoilers, but just know that McDonnell is slowly introducing us to the players in his world, whilst still keeping us on our toes, never quite sure who to trust. His writing style verges towards the humorous & extremely northern which, as a northerner, I adore. And he keeps the pace of the story by throwing in some plot twists, as well as some killer cliffhanger chapter endings making sure you continue reading to find out what happens next.
If you enjoy your fantasy on the quirkier side, are ok with outlandish theories and love a good talking dog whose actually a human then I cannot recommend this series enough. You need to be able to not take yourself, or the story too seriously, but they really are a riot to read and never fail to cheer me up. The perfect read to start the new year with.