The Year of No Rules by Rose McClelland
I have just finished reading The Year of No Rules by Rose McClelland. The book was recommended to me by a friend, so, although it is not my favourite crime genre, I decided to give it a try. The book fall into the ‘women’s fiction’ genre. This novel has such an excellent title, who wouldn’t want to read it?
The author writes women’s fiction with a splash of romance and comedy. She writes about dating and relationships in a humorous fashion, placing plenty of twists and turns along the way. Perfect for fans of Marian Keyes or Sophie Kinsella.
The protagonist is Sasha, a woman who lives in Belfast. She adores her demanding boyfriend, Kirk so much that although he requires Sasha to moderate her behaviour, to the extent of having written rules, she still longs to be with him and thinks of him as ‘the one’. After all, he is gorgeous, charismatic and charming and has even asked her to marry him.
The novel touches delicately on the topic currently much in the news, the abuse of women. Sasha is an intelligent woman and her family and friends insist that Kirk is not good for her, yet she returns to him over and over again. The reader learns, later in the novel, a bit about Sasha’s background and this explains her behaviour.
Things go horribly wrong between Sasha and Kirk and they part. Sasha embraces her freedom and her time without rules. However, as is so with many abusive relationships, Kirk will not let go and allow her to move on.
Eventually, Sasha starts taking baby steps towards her freedom. When she meets Sam, it seems unlikely that she will ever be able to trust him enough to make their relationship work.
I really enjoyed The Year of No Rules. I had slight issues about how and when Kirk’s problems are revealed to the reader, but that did not diminish my enjoyment of the book. It is a taut page turner that deals with the very serious issue of abusive relationships with a lightness of touch that I have rarely seen before. I highly recommend The Year of No Rules. It would make an excellent book club read.