Blog Tour/Review: It Was Only Ever You by Kate Kerrigan


I’m thrilled to be one of the co-hosts for today’s stop on the blog tour for It Was Only Ever You by Kate Kerrigan and to bring you my review of this luscious historical romance.  Do check out today posts from my co-hosts Celeste Loves Books and SibzzReads.

And while you’re reading my review, why not smooch along to the song, ‘It Was Only Ever You’

About the Book

Patrick Murphy has charm to burn and a singing voice to die for. Many people will recognise his talent. Many women will love him. Rose, the sweetheart he leaves behind in Ireland, can never forget him and will move heaven and earth to find him again, long after he has married another woman. Ava, the heiress with no self-confidence except on the dance floor, falls under his spell. And tough Sheila Klein, orphaned by the Holocaust and hungry for success as a music manager, she will be ruthless in her determination to unlock his extraordinary star quality. But in the end, Patrick Murphy’s heart belongs to only one of them. Which one will it be?

Format: Paperback Publisher: Head of Zeus Pages: 389
Publication: 13th Jul 2017 Genre: Historical Romance

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My Review


In It Was Only Ever You, the author has created three distinctive female characters. I loved Ava who, in her ‘lucky suit’, made me think of the young Lauren Bacall in To Have and Have Not. To me she was the most fully realised female character and the one I found myself most engaged with and who I rooted for most.  I also liked how, in Sheila, the author created a picture of a strong, independent woman, not afraid to challenge society’s expectations and break through into an industry dominated by men. (I pictured her as Celeste Holm in Gentleman’s Agreement). Beautiful, beloved Rose was the character I felt least drawn to, although I’m not sure quite why. Perhaps it was her cool, perfect beauty (which if we’re indulging in film star comparisons can only be to a young Grace Kelly) or the fact she was the catalyst for so many of the dramatic events in the book.


Alongside these three strong female characters, Patrick Murphy has a tough job to gain the reader’s attention and sympathies. He’s handsome, charming and the author does a great job of communicating how his wonderful voice is so attractive to women. However, he’s also rather naive and his poor choices will set in train unintended and tragic consequences.

Perhaps surprisingly, because he is not at first sight that attractive a figure, the male character I really engaged with was Iggy Morrow, the music impresario. I felt the author created a really believable character and his journey from loner to someone prepared to make a commitment to another person for the first time in his life was credible and rather moving.

Amongst many other compelling aspects of this book is the evocation of the New York of the period with its dance halls, jazz clubs, show bands and the advent of the sound that would revolutionize the music scene – rock’n’roll.

‘But with this new, strange rockabilly sound [Sheila] found her hips were swaying from side to side at a speed that felt fast – too fast – and yet she was compelled to move in a way that felt utterly natural. It was as if the beat had injected her, and everyone else there, with a kind of electricity. Her body seemed to understand what to do in a way it had never done before now.’

If that doesn’t make you want to listen to ‘Rock Around the Clock’ I don’t know what will! Similarly, I loved the picture of the tight-knit Irish émigré community, where everyone knows one another – making subsequent events entirely believable.

The author gives us tantalising hints about some of the characters’ earlier lives. I’m curious – and greedy – so I would have loved more about the back stories of Rose, Sheila and Rose’s mother, Eleanor. For example – no spoilers, as these facts are revealed in the opening chapters of the book – information about Rose’s biological parents, more detail about what happened to Sheila’s family and what in Eleanor’s past made her so fearful for her daughter.

The book ended satisfyingly for me with two of the three women being rewarded precisely in the way I’d hoped for and the third getting just what she deserved. I’ll leave you to read the book and work out what I mean and which is which!

It Was Only Ever You takes the reader on a wonderful journey from rural Ireland to the excitement of New York. There is love and drama and sadness, there are partings and reunions, all set against the backdrop of the sheer joy of music.

I received a review copy courtesy of publishers Head of Zeus in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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In three words: Emotional, dramatic, stylish

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KateKerriganAbout the Author

Kate Kerrigan is an author living and working in Ireland. Her novels are Recipes for a Perfect Marriage, The Miracle of Grace, Ellis Island, City of Hope, Land of Dreams and The Lost Garden. Kate began her career as an editor and journalist, editing many of Britain’s most successful young women’s magazines before returning to her native Ireland in the 1990’s to edit Irish Tatler. She writes a weekly column in the Irish Mail about her life in Killala, County Mayo – and contributes regularly to RTE’s radio’s Sunday Miscellany. Her novel, The Dress, published by Head of Zeus was shortlisted at the Irish Book Awards in 2015 and her new novel, It Was Only Ever You, was published in hardback in October 2016.

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