Fans of Big Little Lies will adore this book. I actually didn’t really ‘love’ Big Little Lies but I still really liked this book. It’s got the whole mother vs mother thing going on, but this time it pits friend against friend, or rather long-term friendships vs motherhood. Kinda.
I enjoyed Kelly Rimmer’s Before I Let You Go, released last year. At the time I described it as genre-less. In a good way.
The blurb for her latest mentions World War II and the 1940s which had me worried as I’m not a fan of historical fiction. I do however, read books that flick between timeframes, as per Kate Morton and Natasha Lester, which is exactly what The Things We Cannot Say does.
I hadn’t read Esther Campion’s debut novel, Leaving Ocean Road and hadn’t realised there were connections with her latest release when I started reading. It didn’t matter. In fact Campion includes enough backstory to give us some context, but not too much that it’d render reading her first book redundant.
As is so often the case (lately!!!!) I’d misunderstood and thought this was going to be a book about people who come to live at a house for their ‘second chance’ of happiness. I’d envisaged women escaping violent marriages and those who’d overcome a drug addiction. I thought it might have been heavy going, but thankfully it wasn’t that literal and is more about the lives of those involved in planning and renovating the house itself.
Sally Hepworth’s books seem to be getting better and better… or more likely, they were always good and perhaps my taste is changing or evolving.
I usually prefer mysteries or thrillers and The Mother-in-Law isn’t quite that. I mean, it is about a death – a potential murder and the lead-up to it… so there’s an element of suspense, but it’s so much more. In many ways it’s a complex study of relationships: those between husband and wife or lovers; between parents and children; between siblings; between colleagues and friends; and (of course) those with our in-laws.
This is Joanne Tracey’s fourth book and a bit of a departure from her loosely linked series which are more centred around romance with lead characters in their 20s and 30s… although a couple of characters readers met in the last novel in that series (Wish You Were Here) appear briefly here – and I appreciated them dropping in and the sense of familiarity they brought with them.
And I know Tracey’s still working on the next books in that series, but recall her saying that this story (and these characters) popped into her head and she needed to commit them to paper before they disappeared and I’m certainly glad she did as this is my favourite of her books to date.
There’s something really warm and familiar about Rachael Johns’ writing and characters. I’ve not read any of her rural romance novels, but I’ve enjoyed her recent contemporary novels and each time I turn the first page I settle into a comfortable reverie of sorts. I could be reading about people I know. Friends, family. They’re authentic and – even if not always completely likeable – they’re relatable.
This blurb on the backcover of this likens it to the TV show Grace and Frankie and book The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. None of which I’d watched or read, or really found appealing.
That’s not to say I don’t like books about ageing ‘disgracefully’ or the quirks that come with old age. One of my favourite books is one called Elizabeth is Missing, about a woman grappling with dementia, in addition to Fredrik Backman’s books about grumpy old men and women (A Man Called Ove and Britt-Marie Was Here).
Jodi Picoult is probably known best for some of her early work and I too was an early adopter, reading anything and everything she wrote in the early 2000s.
I drifted away for a while, but was impressed with her 2016 novel Small Great Things which centred around race and the related notions of privilege and guilt.
Her latest, A Spark of Light is set in a women’s centre, one of a few remaining clinics in Mississipi to offer a range of reproductive choices to women, including terminations.
I started reading this new release by the ever-popular Liane Moriarty after a dinner out with friends during which I spoke about a health retreat I’d been to in 2000. I’d planned four weeks in Italy (which is where I’ll be FINALLY when this review goes live) but at the time I was living in East Timor (in my previous life as a diplomat) and stressed out of my little brain; so instead blew the same amount of money on three weeks at a health retreat in the hinterland of the Gold Coast, called The Golden Door (which has now closed).
The experience was life-changing. At the time.
So it was very freaky when I lolled in the bath at 10pm after the dinner to make a start on Nine Perfect Strangers (not remembering anything about the blurb or the book) to discover it is – in fact – centred around the lives of nine (not-so-perfect) strangers who attend a health retreat. WAAAAAY freaky!