REVIEW: Tracey O’Hara’s ‘Darla’
Secret Confessions: Sydney Housewives—Darla
Darla knows her place at the exclusive Diamond D dinners – she is comic relief, entertaining the rest of the women with tales of her dating woes. Since her divorce, she has been on one bad date after another, and not even a high-class dating agency can help.
But a massive storm front brings a visit from an old neighbour – and suddenly being neighbourly takes on a whole new meaning. When it rains, it pours, and it looks like Darla’s dry spell is about to become a thing of the past.
What AusRomToday thought:
Throughout the Secret Confessions series, we’ve fleetingly heard of Darla’s man-tastrophes and her unenviable dating disasters.
As a result, at least for me, Darla had come across as a dowdy, down-on-her-luck kind of character and certainly I was intrigued, and indeed eager, to see just how O’Hara was going to be able to turn this bumbling character into a central character who fit the Sydney Wives series. Then there it was. A couple of lines into the story and we’re met with this pearler of a line: “Maybe a commitment ceremony with her vibrator was in order”, that’s pretty much when I realised that this story was going to be one hell of a ride… And, boy-oh-boy, O’Hara did not disappoint.
In a scene reminiscent of *that* Nina Proudman’s bath scene (Offspring, Channel Ten), we truly meet Darla. Far from a bumbling mess of a woman, Darla is actually a woman who has been through a tough divorce, a woman who despite this is still open to love and romance, a woman who is independent, strong and not willing to settle for a mediocre love affair. Darla in that instant becomes relatable and likable.
As it happens, Darla has some very agreeable character quirks that make for fun and entertaining reading and her relationship woes do not last long at all.
O’Hara is like the fairy godmother, who with one twirl of her magic wand (or pen!) turns the underdog into the character with the most charm and perhaps the sweetest HEA of the series.
– J’aimee Brooker, AusRomToday
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Great story from a wonderful writer.