Writing: 4/5 Characters: 5/5 Plot: 5/5
A dual timeline story in the Adelaide Hills (Australian Outback). In 1959 an inexplicable tragedy occurs with a nasty, but generally accepted explanation which is never actually proved. In 2018 Jessica Turner-Bridges races back to Sydney when the grandmother who raised her suddenly takes ill. A free lance journalist, Jessica gets obsessed with the 1959 story which she has stumbled on and which — it turns out — is closely related to her family.
Vivid writing bringing to life the surroundings and individual, interconnected stories. Good pacing continually introduces new stories and sources that shift your understanding at the same pace as it does for Jessica. I kept thinking I knew what had happened but was continually surprised. There was a little more scenic description than I like (I’m not a visual person) but I was able to skim those sections if they got too long. Plenty of drama (but not melodrama — the events were dramatic but the characters got on with doing their best and didn’t descend into wailing and teeth gnashing). It was difficult at time knowing in advance what happened (and that is is awful) and watching the narrative slowly unfold to explain the details. On the other hand, in a weird way it is less stressful knowing the end as there is no way to avoid it.
Some beautiful commentary on books and reading and a nice array of literary and cinematic references. Some genuine and insightful reflection on loneliness, community, motherhood, purpose, identity, and the impact of events on a wider assemblage of persons than might be suggested by the event itself.
Thank you to Mariner Books and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on April 4th, 2023.
Once their mother heads to the nursing home with an advanced case of early onset Alzheimers, sisters Tully and Rachel are shocked to find their father planning to marry a (much) younger woman — Heather. That is the basic premise of this family drama, but what starts as one kind of story rapidly turns into something else. Or does it? Rotating narration among the three girls, what emerges is gripping, surprising, and a little insidious. The chapters for each woman are narrated by a different reader, and they are all good (lovely Australian accents for those of us who like that kind of thing).
Good writing, lots of character depth, and plenty of slowly creeping plot twists.
Great for fans of Liane Moriarity.
Thank you to Macmillan Audio and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on April 12th, 2022.
Writing: 4/5 Characters: 5/5 Plot: 4/5
Impossible to put down, this is a twisted, gripping, family drama / mystery that explores the violence and cruelty as well as the compassion, kindness, and personal development of ordinary people.
Stan and Joy Delaney are tennis obsessed — champs in their youth, they ran a successful school for training and coaching tennis players, including their four tall, talented, (and now adult) tennis offspring. All appears well until one day Joy Delaney disappears, and the police turn their (frankly not so laser focused) gaze on Stan.
Let me hasten to say that this is NOT one of those tense books about false accusations and a man desperate to prove his innocence. What I just described is the structure of the story but not at all the point. The story alternates between the present day and clearly labeled time periods in the past. In Moriarity’s signature style, the plot keeps twisting, the people get more interesting, and sleep becomes impossible as you have to race to the finish. I’ve read many (most?) of Moriarity’s books. Some I like better than others — this is now one of my favorites.
Thank you to Henry Holt & Company and Net Galley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on September 14th, 2021.