I’ve followed Eithne Shortall’s journalism for quite a long time and I’m pleased to see she’s moved into writing her own books. Love In Row 27 is the first of these and makes for very entertaining reading.
It follows the story of Cora Hendricks as she works at the check-in desk at an airport. She passes the time by acting as a matchmaker for some of the singles on the flights. She absolutely loves matching people up, researching the backgrounds online to see who would maybe fit together. She’s got the assistance of her friend Nancy on the plane pushing things along get people engaged with each other.
The book is filled with humour as we enjoy the mismatches and the scrapes people get into along the way. However, what lifts the book is how well Eithne has drawn the character of Cora. There’s some very moving moments with her mum having early onset Alzheimer’s. Cora’s matchmaking really becomes an obsession with colour coded charts and somewhat takes over her life, leading to tense encounters with her friends. Alongside this Cora dwells a lot on her ex and her time in Berlin. With all this going on, it’s hard not to feel a connection with Cora and wish for her to perhaps find a loved one herself.
This is a warm, and moving debut that exhibits a certain sharpness of wit. It’s a book I wanted to fly through to see what happened next with Cora and her gang. I’m now looking forward to reading Grace After Henry, Eithne’s second book which was recently published.