Uplifting and Meaningful

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Very worthwhile and uplifting novel about family and friendship.

Eliza grew up moving around the Melbourne area with her fanciful mother Jeannie. Jeannie was full of stories of her adventurous life, and Eliza never doubted how much she was loved, even though she never knew the identity of her father, but Jeannie promised she would tell her when she turned eighteen. Jeannie was troubled, with wild mood swings and drinking too much. Eliza has two godmothers, Olivia and Maxie, who have long given her a sense of stability, each taking her on a vacation every year. When she was seventeen, Jeannie died and Eliza's life changed. Now, thirteen years later, Eliza's life has changed once again and she travels to Scotland to meet with her godmothers to talk about her mother's past and try to find out the identity of her father.

Readers who enjoy Marian Keyes and Jenny Colgan will relish in this heartfelt tale of identity and family. There are some deeper themes explored than on the surface. Each of the characters has issues they are dealing with and secrets they are hiding, and they go through some soul searching to decide which things they want to reveal.

One of the major dilemmas faced in this book is one I've had to confront in my own life, and I have never seen it really explored before to this extent. It is: how much truth do we owe to a surviving child? How much should we share? Just because the parent is no longer here, does that mean that every secret should be laid bare for their child or others in their lives? Deep thoughts to ponder, and it made the book resonate more for the author's willingness to examine such a sticky subject.

That's not to say that this book is without lighter moments, because it has plenty. The inclusion of Sullivan, the precocious and highly likable child character, provides levity and a perfect balance for the heavier moments. I don't always like child characters, but I loved Sullivan!

Overall this is a meaningful and engrossing novel, I highly recommend it and other books by Monica McInerney.