Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

The Last Anniversary – Liane Moriarty

Contemporary Fiction 5*'s
Contemporary Fiction
5*’s

I couldn’t resist another book by Liane Moriarty after having really enjoyed the three I’ve read previously and in The Last Anniversary we are introduced to the most colourful array of characters, each distinctive and ranging in ages from babies to the eldest resident of Scribbly Gum who is ninety. Now I don’t know about you but the name of the island, derived from the name of a native tree, meant this book already deserved a read without a seventy year old mystery of an abandoned baby to spice things up.

All Liane Moriarty’s books have been very different but what they all have in common is superb writing which draws on everyday observations of life at its best and bleakest. In this readable tale we have the enduring ‘Munro Baby Mystery’ which has put the island of Scribbly Gum on the map, bringing tourists to their guided tour with good food to sweeten the suspected horror which occurred all those years before and every year on the anniversary of the day when Connie and Rose found the abandoned child they named Enigma, a special evening is held with entertainment and food, the food features quite largely in this book so it is probably a good idea to have some on hand to avoid saliva spotting the pages/screen.

With a large family Enigma has two daughters, three grandchildren as well as a couple of great-grandchildren you would have thought that Connie would have left her house to one of them when she died, but she didn’t, instead she chose to leave it to Sophie Honeywell a former girlfriend of Thomas, who is flighty and perhaps a little shallow and has a propensity for blushing, all quite unlike a stereotypical woman approaching her forties. In anything but the most expert of hands this character would be irritating but I didn’t get very far through the book before I was rooting for Sophie, hoping desperately that the family would welcome her and that she wouldn’t do anything stupid.

Sophie’s girlfriends become quite deranged. There is a frenzied debate. It’s brains versus brawn! But solicitors can be brawny! Gardeners can be brainy! Aunt Connie was clearly referring to the gorgeous gardener. Aunt Connie’s opinion is no longer relevant. She must not sleep with either of them. She must definitely sleep with both of them…..
Sophie’s girlfriends are starting to annoy her, just a bit.

Although on the surface this is a lighter book than The Husband’s Secret or Little Lies, there are plenty of issues explored, many to do with parenting, and there are plenty of examples right across the spectrum from Sophie who was adored from the moment she was born, to Grace who tells a truly jaw-dropping tale of her childhood and of course we have Enigma who was too young to remember her parents and instead had the substitute two teenagers to mother to her while they found their way in the world.

Callum still hasn’t turned the television back up. ‘I can’t believe you’ve never told me this’
‘It’s not that interesting. I don’t know how your parents disciplined you.’
My father roared at me and my mother chased me round the house brandishing whatever she happened to have in her hand…..’

This isn’t a book to examine to closely for realism but it is a wonderful tale to lose yourself in with something for everyone, romance and mystery can be a winning combination especially when served with a healthy dollop of truisms.

He still remembers how he felt watching her cry her heart out at her dad’s funeral. Margie was always such a Daddy’s Girl and it made him want to punch something because there was nothing he could bloody well do to fix it for her.

At times I laughed especially as Sophie stored up funny anecdotes for her friends, and at other times I found I had a serious lump in my throat as the emotion all got too much for me!

If you haven’t read any of this author’s books which in my opinion are all worth five stars here are my reviews:

The Husband’s Secret
What Alice Forgot
Little Lies

Author:

A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

30 thoughts on “The Last Anniversary – Liane Moriarty

      1. That name change interested me – why, basically? And why different covers for different countries? Why is one cover better suited to, say, the US market, with another for the UK? I know this is v nerdish but it’s the sort of thing that I think about…I wonder if Margot Kinberg would know about this, our crime fiction expert? Sorry, can’t send a link from here to ask her!

  1. Cleo – This does sound like a funny look at life on Scribbly Gum, as well as at the interactions in a family. And of course, I want to know about the mystery of the abandoned baby, too. I like it when books tie older mysteries in with a modern-day story. Glad you enjoyed this.

    1. Oh I did Margot, it was perfect for a very wet and cold weekend! I also have a weakness for a mystery that has endured over decades and was perfectly balanced by lots of mini stories about all the other characters.

    2. Sorry Margot, mentioned you above re different countries/different book covers? Can you throw any light or even do a post on this? There’s obviously some psychological theory; would love to know about it!

      1. I do know a little about why we have different covers (not so sure on the name) According to my son different branches of publishing houses employ their own illustrators which is why the covers are so vastly different…

      2. That’s interesting Cleo, and I know how encyclopedic Margot’s brain is, particularly re crime fiction. Certain things must be seen to appeal more in the US than here, although why’s the big question…

  2. Oh, no, not a 5-star on Monday! And not Liane Moriarty! And not a book that requires handy food supplies!! It’s going to be a bad week, isn’t it? *toddles off obediently to add to the TBR*

    PS Great review! 😀

    1. Thank you! It was a lovely read a little more fluffy than the last one, at least on the surface, but the food… well you’ll need plenty to keep you going through all the delicious sounding references.

      1. Sometimes fluffy is good! I think I’m gradually losing my appetite for grim and bleak – so many writers recently seem to be able to tell good stories while keeping the tone a bit lighter than we’ve seen for the last few years, and I’m finding they’re the books I’m enjoying most now.

  3. I keep seeing Moriarty’s name pop up on my blog reader, and I must get to her soon. Realistically, it will be after New Year’s: I can’t believe how quickly Christmas is coming.

  4. I’m so glad to read this! I read Liane Moriarty’s 2 most recent books this year, and have both The Last Anniversary and What Alice Forgot on my Kindle. I loved both books I read, and can’t wait for more!

    1. Both The Last Anniversary and What Alice Forgot are slightly lighter reads than the later ones but just as immensely readable. Her characters are amazing, I always meet aspects of people I know and she does know how to spin a good yarn.

  5. I have this one on Sparky, because I also have loved everything I’ve read by this author…now I must move it up on the queue! I love what you are describing here…I am sure I will enjoy it a lot. I love the idea of characters of a wide range of ages…those always intrigue me.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Liane Moriarty has now firmly secured a place on my ‘must read’ list. I do love her characterisation which is always inspired and the setting of this one was exquisite too.

  6. I loved Little Lies and I am currently reading The Husband’s Secret, which I’m really enjoying as well. What a surprise to see that Moriarty has more books and that they are as good as her last two!

      1. Same here. I don’t know how we didn’t – or at least I- got to hear about her works until this year. Well, so much for Euro/American-centric reading habits!

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