Calling Frank O’Hare by Hazel Ward


Calling Frank O’Hare by Hazel Ward is a marvellous dual timeline novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. It is part of The Netta Wild series but can be read as a stand-alone. I enjoyed catching up with familiar faces and getting to know Frank O’Hare better.

The novel is set in present day and returning to Frank O’Hare’s youth in 1980’s Belfast and moving forwards and also to the UK. We see his relationships with his family and friends over the years. Most are true friends but some are fair weather friends who take advantage of Frank O’Hare’s kind heart.

We learn about the troubles in Belfast when Frank O’Hare was growing up. There were no-go areas as Catholics and Protestants lived separate lives. Life was lived in fear and on the edge. Trust was in short supply.

A gang of four friends from their youth, persists into adulthood. They are united by memories and music.

We hear of Frank O’Hare’s complicated relationships with two women over the years. Both use him in different ways. His infatuation with both, blinds him to the nature of their true characters. The only women that Frank O’Hare can rely on are his daughter and his neighbours, Edie and Netta in Birmingham.

Frank O’Hare drops all for family. We follow his road trip around Scotland, chasing after his younger brother (now in his fifties!). Memories from the past catch up with both of them.

All the characters were well drawn and realistic. One can easily imagine bumping into any of them, chatting over the garden fence or going for a coffee.

I thoroughly enjoyed Calling Frank O’Hare. Hazel Ward writes books about real people in real situations, tackling problems that could easily arise in any family. Her characters are survivors and I love them.

I received a free copy from the author. A favourable review was not required. All opinions are my own.


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