In her third novel, Ahern (P.S., I Love You and Love, Rosie) employs an imaginary best friend to breathe distinctiveness into an otherwise stereotypical Irish tale. Living in her own house in a small, posh Irish town, 35-year-old Elizabeth Egan is an uptight interior designer and adoptive mother to her six-year-old nephew, Luke, whose mother, Elizabeth’s 23-year-old sister, Saoirse, prefers boozing to parenting. Saoirse’s behavior reminds Elizabeth of a painful past—the alcoholic mother who abandoned the family, leaving Elizabeth to care for her baby sister and forgo her own childhood, and the emotionally distant, controlling father still waiting for his wife’s return. Unlike the other women in her family, Elizabeth adheres to a fastidiously well-ordered existence—no mess, no complications, no love. But all that changes with the arrival of Ivan, a goofy and spontaneous man intent on infusing much-needed fun and tenderness into Elizabeth’s frigid persona. The catch is no one can see this ageless man from the land of “Ekam Eveileb” save Elizabeth and her nephew. Through Ivan, Elizabeth becomes the woman she’s always been too afraid to be. He helps her reclaim the childhood she never had and, most importantly, to forgive those who have let her down.