Once In a Lifetime

Once In a Lifetime

Kenny’s Department Store, with its handsome Edwardian facade and meticulously hand-selected goods, is the jewel in the crown of the small Irish town of Ardagh. Star Bluestone sells her beautifully crafted tapestries at Kenny’s. Made with natural dyes, they embody her earthy spirit and creative vision, but she has a special reason for caring about Kenny’s that extends far beyond her sales. And for Ingrid Fitzgerald, hotshot political journalist and wife of workaholic David Kenny, the store is the “other woman” in her marriage. With her children leaving home and her career taking off, she is worried that her marriage could be in jeopardy. Charlie Fallon, one of David’s staff, is among the first to hear the rumor that the store is faced with a takeover bid. With an owner who doesn’t seem his usual self and the threat of closure looming closer—what does the future hold for these women who are bound together by its fortunes?

With her expertly drawn characters and heartfelt storytelling, this satisfying novel proves that “Cathy Kelly knows exactly what women want” ( Publishers Weekly ).
  • Gallery Books | 
  • 416 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416586258 | 
  • January 2010
List Price $24.99
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Once in a Lifetime includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Cathy Kelly. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book. 



Kenny’s Department Store, in the Irish town of Ardagh, has been in the Kenny family for generations. Now facing hard times, David Kenny must make difficult decisions about the store’s future, and all of the women in his life will be affected. His wife, Ingrid Fitzgerald, a high-powered television news anchor, accepts that despite decades of marriage, the store will always be David’s first love. Star Bluestone, David’s long-ago girlfriend, is an artist who sells her beautiful tapestries at Kenny’s. The women in his employ live out their daily dramas both at the store and in their personal lives. When everything suddenly changes, they must rely on one another to make it through. Once in a Lifetime is a testament to female friendships and to the kind of love that can endure hardships, betrayals, and the passage of time.


Topics and Questions for Discussion

1. What does the title Once in a Lifetime refer to?

2.&nbs see more

More Books from this Author

The House on Willow Street
Christmas Magic
What She Wants

About the Author

Cathy Kelly
Sven Arnstein

Cathy Kelly

Cathy Kelly is the Irish bestselling author of twelve other novels, many of which have been number one bestsellers in the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. She lives in Ireland with her husband and twin sons. In 2005 she was appointed an ambassador for UNICEF Ireland. Contact her on Twitter at @cathykellybooks or follow her on Facebook or at CathyKelly.com.