I have been an impatient reader for some time now.

Impatient in the sense that I would flip to the last few chapters of a book to know its ending instead of savouring each word the author painstakingly put together.

Lyrebird changed that.

I read every word in the book – but then again, I have always loved the way Cecelia Ahern strings them together.

Ahern brings the story to life, taking readers on a journey that is part exciting and mostly entertaining.

Irish author Cecelia Ahern has sold millions of books about women and relationships. Now she’s trying her hand at young adult fiction with Flawed (HarperCollins, March 2016), a dark, dystopian story about a teen. PHoto credit: facebook.com/ceceliaahernofficial.int

Irish author Cecelia Ahern has sold millions of books about women and relationships. Photo: facebook.com/ceceliaahernofficial.int

The book begins in a quiet forest, where sound engineer Solomon meets a mysterious woman with an extraordinary talent. Solomon is part of an award-winning documentary crew that captured the story of Joe and Tom Toolin, a 77-year-old pair of twins living in isolation in a remote part of Ireland.

When Tom dies, Solomon, documentary producer Bo – who happens to be his girlfriend – and camerawoman Rachel return to the countryside to film the funeral and to do a follow-up series on Joe, who is now left without a soul by his side.

It is during the filming that they accidentally stumble upon Tom’s biggest, and up until then well-kept, secret that changes their lives. Meet Laura.

Lyrebird is an absolute joy to read, especially because Ahern does a near perfect job of keeping the pace and holding the reader’s interest along the way. The novel has all of her trademark storytelling features – romance and humour – but most importantly, this story has heart too. And that is perhaps the best quality in all of her works.

Capturing our hearts is the mysterious Laura, who has lived on Toolin’s land for over 10 years with Tom’s consent and without Joe’s knowledge.

A beautiful being with a pure heart, Laura possesses the unique ability to recreate sounds that she hears even just once. Like the native Australian avian lyrebird, hence her nickname.

Intrigued by the finding, Bo pursuits Laura as a documentary subject, putting aside the apparent chemistry between Laura and Solomon. And, boy, is the chemistry strong.

str2_s6lyrebird_s6_coverLaura is an interesting character with an even more interesting background. With her future in the countryside undecided, Laura takes up Bo’s offer and agrees to be part of her documentary. She ventures into the city looking for a new beginning with the documentary crew tagging along to capture every moment of her new life – even the ones she wants to keep to herself.

Seeing the world outside of the countryside for the first time, Laura’s innocence is refreshing and heartbreaking at the same time.

Familiar sounds – like the whirring of an espresso machine or the drilling of a jackhammer or the clacking of keyboards – are alien and absolutely confusing to Laura. Unable to express her feelings verbally, she shares them the only way she knows how, with sounds.

The only person who seems to understand her is Solomon, who tries his best to not get too attached to the otherwordly-like being. But then Bo convinces Laura into trying something that inevitably pushes the once lonely soul into the world’s spotlight.

We see Laura’s difficulty in grasping her new life, far away from her familiar, secluded cabin, and struggling with her newfound fame as well as her feelings for Solomon.

Ahern beautifully weaves the blossoming love story between Laura and Solomon while reminding readers that he is a good guy incapable of cheating on his girlfriend. Bo has her flaws, and Solomon knows and accepts them all. Readers will too, after some time.

There is more to Lyrebird than just a possible love triangle.

It reminds us that change is inevitable and the only way to cope with it is by rolling with the punches.

Laura’s story is proof that even when you embrace these changes, you will never lose the person you truly are.


Author: Cecelia Ahern
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers, fiction