Thursday, June 17, 2010

Review: The Life O'Reilly by Brian Cohen

Here is a summary of The Life O'Reilly from Brian Cohen's website:

On the outside, Nick O’Reilly has it all: a high-flying legal career, as a partner of an elite Wall Street law firm, and financial security, with an apartment overlooking Central Park.  Having grown up in a working-class family, as far back as Nick can remember this was his dream.  But at the age of thirty-six, after several years of sacrificing his personal life for professional gain, Nick has started to ponder his future and consider the mark he wants to leave on society both professionally and personally—his legacy. 

After being chastised in the press for turning a cold shoulder to the community, the firm calls upon Nick to help rehabilitate its image by handling its first pro bono case.  Nick is asked to represent Dawn Nelson, a domestic violence victim who is fighting for custody of her young son, Jordan.  A far cry from Nick’s specialty of defending the misdeeds of Corporate America, it is up to Nick to set Dawn and Jordan on a path to a better life.  But Nick gets much more than he signed on for, as Dawn forces him to reassess his life choices and, ultimately, be true to himself.  Only when Nick finally realizes what is truly important in life does he face his toughest—and possibly final—challenge: a battle for his own survival.

Exploring the flaws of being human and the importance of controlling one’s own destiny, The Life O’Reilly reminds us of how precious life is and how quickly and tragically it can change.  Written with great empathy, The Life O’Reilly is an emotional and unforgettable tale that will challenge one’s expectations of the modern love story.

My Review:
When Brian Cohen contacted me asking to review his novel my first thought was that it would be interesting to read about the life of a lawyer since my son just finished his first year of law school.  Little did I know that this book would tug at my heartstrings the way that it did. 

We are introduced to Nick O'Reilly who seems to have everything going for him.  He is a successful attorney working for a high-profile law firm who basically lived and breathed for that company until he finally made partner.  They handle mostly corporate law cases but in an attempt to improve public relations they take on some pro bono cases, one of which Nick finds himself needing to handle.  

When Nick starts to work the pro bono case he realizes that there may be more to life than working almost all available hours in the day and trying to help cover up the mistakes that are made in corporate America.  As he is representing Dawn, the domestic abuse victim from the pro bono case, he finds that he enjoys spending time with her compared to sitting in his office.  Dawn returns Nick's attraction and feelings and before you know it they find themselves in a meaningful relationship.

You would think it a happy ending once these two realize what they mean to each other, but it is definitely not an easily travelled road.  They have many obstacles and frustrations along the way, but luckily Nick figures out what really is important to him and gets his priorities in order.  

Although I would consider this a love story, it was also so much more than that.  With themes of values, love, change, and survival this novel had so much to offer.  When I first started reading the story I wasn't sure if I was enjoying the writing style, but before I knew it I was wrapped up in the characters and threw all reservations out the window.  This was Cohen's first novel and I believe that he is working on his second novel now, which I will be anxiously awaiting.

My Rating: 4/5

Disclosure:  This book was provided to me by the author, Brian Cohen, in exchange for an honest review.

You can read more great book reviews over at Cym Lowell's Book Review Party Wednesday!


Anonymous said...

I didn't think I wanted to read this one until I read your review. I'll definitely keep it in mind now.


Darlene said...

I'm not usually one for a love story but you sure make this one sound worth reading.

Julie P said...

Nice review! I just added this to my TBR and wish list on Goodreads...

Booksnyc said...

I have this one to read too and I think the theme of questioning work/life balance is one I can relate to - especially right now!

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Wonderful review! I have this one on my shelf - I am now inspired to move it up on the tbr.

Julie said...

I'm with the first commenter. This is not a book that I would have picked up simply by the blurb and the cover. Your review has changed that for me.


Anonymous said...

I love the cover and your review!

RAnn said...

I just read this too