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: