Cecelia Ahern

Cecelia Ahern

As the daughter of controversial Irish politician Bertie Ahern, Cecelia Ahern has always been somewhat in the spotlight, but she has made sure that she carved out her own path in life. Before beginning her writing career, she graduated from Griffith College Dublin with a degree in Journalism and Media Communications. She then started writing P.S. I Love You which was published in 2004 when she was just 21-years-old.

The novel became a number one best-seller in her native Ireland, as well as the UK, US, Germany and the Netherlands. It was quickly snapped up by Warner Brothers and turned into a screenplay by acclaimed writer and director Richard LaGravenese. The film was released in 2007 starring Gerard Butler and Hilary Swank and, like the book before it, was an instant hit. This propelled Cecelia, who now had an additional three books under her belt, Where Rainbows End (also published 2004), If You Could See Me Now (published 2005) and A Place Called Here (published 2006), further into the limelight.

P.S. I Love You DVD cover

She had been bitten by the writing bug and was quickly producing book after book, which were adored by fans both old and new. Thanks for the Memories was published in 2008, along with The Gift, followed by The Book of Tomorrow in 2009. In 2010 she released her first collection of short stories called Girl in the Mirror/The Memory Maker which shows a much darker side to the ever expanding magical world she has so lovingly created. The Time of my Life was published in 2011 and her latest book One Hundred Names in 2012.

As an author with a very distinct writing style, Cecelia always ran the risk of her readers becoming bored with her work, but time after time her magical narrative succeeded in captivating people from around the world. She has several key features within all of her stories that continue to ensure her books are a success; a fairytale magic and romance, with a bittersweet theme, in addition to a moral message.

The tagline now featured on most of her books is "Cecelia Ahern: making the everyday magical", which couldn't better describe the ideas behind her novels. She takes an everyday notion, like losing a sock or giving blood, and finds a way of turning it into a magnificently magical narrative. The fairytale element to her books come through the romantic narratives and the magical aspects, the likes of which Disney would be proud.

But don't be fooled, her books are certainly not targeted at children by any means; they're Disney stories for adults. The fairytale romance doesn't have to end at adolescence when the stark reality of love come crashing down around them. Cecelia's books speak of a soul searching, mind boggling, indescribable level of love that so few adult novels managed to convey. It is this innocence that is a likely cause for her dramatic success.

Disney Princesses are renown for their fairytale romances

Unlike the many Disney love stories Cecelia's books have a realistic bittersweet taste to them and nothing is quite as straight forwards as it would seem. P.S. I Love You was her first attempt at a romantic narrative and she blew readers away. For those who haven't read the book, it follows the grieving process of Holly, a recently widowed young woman who's husband, Gerry, has just passed away from a brain tumour.

But he is isn't ready to say good bye just yet and leaves her a selection of letters with the instruction to open one every month and that she must do as they say. The story shows him not just help her overcome his passing, but also improve her live dramatically. We reminisce about their blossoming romance from childhood sweethearts as if their love story is still being written, but when the final letter arrives and it reminds her to makes sure she falls in love again, it is that bittersweet reminder that Gerry is dead and there is nothing that can bring him back.

A truly emotional story, and certainly not her only one as many of her narratives feature starcrossed lovers who are unable to be together. The moral message each book conveys is often one that encourages her readers to make the most of their lives and grasp every opportunity they can to enrich them. She does this by allowing her characters to go on a journey of self-discovery that improves their life or the lives of those around them.

Gerard Butler and Hilary Swank in P.S. I Love You

In P.S. I Love You it was to remind us that everyone dies, and we cannot become so embroiled within our grief that we forget to carry on living. Where Rainbows End tells us to just say how we feel, because if we don't we could waste so much time dancing around one another. And The Gift, perhaps one of the moral-lead stories out of the lot, tells us to makes the most of what we have, before it is too late and the chance has gone. These are just a few examples but all of her books have some kind of message she wants us to take and better our lives with, which is quite a nobel form of writing.

Each story, despite their similar formula, offers something completely different. And the magical implications within them are always the biggest differences. Whether this is magic in a literal sense; adults with real imaginary friends in If You Could See Me Now, a magical place where all lost things go in A Place Called Here, a pill that can put you in two places at once in The Gift, and a future telling book in The Book of Tomorrow.

Or the magical storylines that originally captivated her audience in P.S. I Love You and Where Rainbows End. The literal magic is so believable and pulls readers into an impossible world, much like the Harry Potter Universe or Twilight. But the magical storylines are often deemed so because of the fairytale romance she creates with ease.

With a massive nine published books behind her, a film adaptation, a television series (Samantha Who?), many short stories, and a play (Mr Whippy), the future is bright for Cecelia as she continues to captivate readers from around the world and add to her ever growing fanbase.

Don't forget to check out our selection of reviews of Cecelia's best loved books.

By Sophie Atherton @SophAthers



Short Stories:


Tagged in