Review: High Potential by Ber Carroll


Title: High Potential

Author: Ber Carroll

Published: Pan MacMillan April 2010

Synopsis: Katie Horgan is going places: soon she’ll be a partner in the prestigious law firm where she works. But her love life is going nowhere – until she meets Jim Donnelly. Jim is brilliant, handsome and, like her parents, Irish. The only problem is that he already has a girlfriend.  When Katie is sent to Ireland as part of her training, she happily settles into life in Dublin where she works in a clinic that provides free legal advice to the homeless. She befriends Mags who makes it her business to initiate Katie to Dublin’s social scene. Then Jim Donnelly comes home on a visit, their relationship deepens, but everything begins to unravel …
Bit by bit, the truth comes out, about Jim, Mags, and the reason that Katie’s parents left Ireland – and Katie learns that life and love are not as black and white as she always thought

Status: Read on March 06, 2012

My Thoughts:

I wanted to read a recent Ber Carroll novel because she will be visiting my local library later this year (along with Dianne Blacklock and Liane Moriarty) but couldn’t find one on the shelf. I have a pretty good memory and knew I had read High Potential around the time of its release in 2008 but my impression of it was quite vague, but since it was the only title available, I picked it up anyway.
A few pages in and the details of the storyline rushed back, Katie Horgan is a lawyer working hard to achieve her life time goal as a partner in a prestigious firm. With her last relationship ending disastrously, Katie is happy to focus on impressing the bosses during the final assessments, until she meets fellow candidate, Jim Donnelly. She knows their quiet flirtation can’t go anywhere, they are about to be separated on overseas assignments for six months, but her attraction to the Irish man is difficult to quash. Katie is thrilled to be heading to Ireland, where she has family she has never met, and is determined to enjoy her time there. She settles easily into running the legal aid service but is surprised to learn the firm is one Jim Donnelly once worked for. When Jim returns home for a brief holiday the relationship between he and Katie changes but the separation takes it’s toll on the fledgling romance and then a tragic accident threatens to destroy it.

I quite liked High Potential though in truth I largely skimmed it this time around as my memory filled in the gaps. I don’t think I liked it any more, or any less, than the first time I read it, it’s fairly standard chick-lit with the protagonist’s angst over romance and career the feature conflicts.
A point of difference in the plot does lie within the secret Katie’s parents are keeping from her and Katie’s search for relatives in Ireland, where her parents were born and raised before settling in Australia. The thread does add another layer to the story and I believe it comes as a surprise on first reading.
The character’s are likeable and credible, though I wasn’t terribly impressed with the relationship between Katie and Jim. Katie’s reactions, after Jim had left Ireland to return to Auckland seemed disproportionate to the status of a new and undefined relationship. I though the conflict in this instance was forced and it soured me a little on her.

High Potential is pleasant reading, dealing with the conflicts and concerns of contemporary women. The happy ending will please romantics and the dual setting (Australia and Ireland) adds a touch of the exotic to the plot. I am looking forward to comparing this title with Ber Carroll’s most recent release Less Than Perfect.

Available to Purchase

Australia: @ PanMacMillan Australia I @ BoomerangBooks I @ Booktopia

International: @Amazon


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. 1girl2manybooks
    Mar 15, 2012 @ 09:16:02

    I’m a little jealous of your library event coming up!



  2. Stephanie at Read in a Single Sitting
    Mar 15, 2012 @ 13:03:58

    The library event does sound fabulous. I haven’t read Carroll, but I’m a fan of Blacklock and Moriarty.



  3. bookzilla
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 12:42:36

    This sounds like a good book to read on a rainy Saturday. I need more of that kind of reading in my life.

    This is Bookzilla, stopping by from My stats indicate that your blog is subscribed to receive my updates. I’m sure you’ve seen my recent announcements about moving to a different domain, but I wanted to let you know just one more time. You can now find me at — please drop by and (re)subscribe!



  4. Trackback: Review: Who We Were by B.M. Carroll | book'd out

I want to know what you think! Your comments are appreciated.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s