Scanlan, Patricia 1956-
SCANLAN, Patricia 1956-
Born 1956, in Ballygall, Dublin, Ireland.
Home—Dublin, Ireland. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Poolbeg Press, 123 Baldoyle Industrial Estate, Baldoyle, Dublin 13, Ireland.
Novelist. Worked as a librarian for Dublin Public Libraries, beginning 1974; part-time editorial consultant for Hodder Headline Ireland, beginning 2003.
Apartment 3B, Poolbeg Press (Dublin, Ireland), 1992.
City Girl, Poolbeg Press (Dublin, Ireland), 1992.
Finishing Touches, Poolbeg Press (Dublin, Ireland), 1992, Dell (New York, NY), 1994.
City Woman, Poolbeg Press (Dublin, Ireland), 1993.
Foreign Affairs, Poolbeg Press (Dublin, Ireland), 1995.
Promises Promises, Poolbeg Press (Dublin, Ireland), 1996.
Mirror Mirror, Poolbeg Press (Dublin, Ireland), 1997.
City Lives, Poolbeg Press (Dublin, Ireland), 1999.
Ripples, New Island Books (Dublin, Ireland), 1999.
Francesca's Party, Poolbeg Press (Dublin, Ireland), 2001, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Also author of poetry collections Three-dimensional Sin, 1988, Yell Ow, 1988, and Selected Poems, 1993. Coauthor and editor for New Island's "Open Door" literacy series.
City Girl was adapted for audio cassette, read by Kate Forbes, ISIS Audio Books, 1990/ 1999; Mirror, Mirror was adapted for audio cassette, ISIS Audio Books, 2000; City Woman was adapted for audio cassette, ISIS Audio Books, 2000.
Patricia Scanlan worked for many years as a librarian for the Dublin public libraries before she began publishing novels. Her romantic fiction has been very popular in her native Ireland and has a growing audience in the United States. The novels feature entertaining stories about smart, sexy Irish women who are capable of surmounting substantial economic, domestic, and romantic challenges.
One of Scanlan's earlier novels is City Girl, a story about entrepreneur Devlin Delaney, who opens a lavish women's health club in Dublin. But Devlin's promising career is contrasted by a troubled past. Her good friends Caroline and Maggie are supportive when Devlin decides to keep the baby she gives birth to out of wedlock. In turn Caroline struggles with substance and spousal abuse, and Maggie discovers that her husband is cheating on her. The ultimate success of these three "lusty and larger-than-life heroines" was described by a Publishers Weekly writer as "mildly entertaining" and exceedingly sweet.
A trio of friends is also the focus of Finishing Touches, a novel about women who first met at school in Port Mahon, Ireland. The central figure is Cassie, who is fettered by the responsibility of caring for her mother. Her chums Aileen and Laura move away from home and give their friend insight into a more glamorous life in Dublin and London. A Publishers Weekly reviewer enjoyed the "study of contrasts" that this plot allowed, and concluded that the book would "have readers cheering both for the heroine and the author."
Scanlan's most widely reviewed novel is Francesca's Party, in which a forty-year-old Dublin housewife dramatically reconfigures her life after discovering that her husband is having an affair. Francesca begins by confronting the lovers in a hotel and returns home to mourn the loss of a seemingly perfect life. She had been quite happy with her banker husband, their two loving sons, comfortable home, and social position. In time, she breaks with the past by asking her husband for a divorce, finds new friends, and starts her own career.
Reviews of Francesca's Party described the novel as an enjoyable read that explored the highs and lows of the heroine's existence, blending humor and heartache. A Kirkus Reviews writer particularly enjoyed the scene when Francesca catches her philandering husband in the act, noting that "the victory of that moment for all wronged women is nearly worth the price of admission." Overall, the novel was judged to be "compelling enough to hold you till the end." In a review for Library Journal, Heather McCormack recommended the book to "fans of women's fiction and authors like Maeve Binchy." Emigrant Online contributor Pauline Ferrie called the novel "another eminently readable tale of love lost and found" and a "convincing story."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2002, review of Francesca's Party, p. 914.
Library Journal, August, 2002, Heather McCormack, review of Francesca's Party, p. 146.
Publishers Weekly, July 20, 1992, review of City Girl, p. 244; September 26, 1994, review of Finishing Touches, p. 61.
Emigrant Online,http://www.bookviewireland.ie/ (March 17, 2003), Pauline Ferrie, review of Francesca's Party. *