“One abandoned baby, two sisters with a secret, one chance to rewrite the past…”
Liane Moriarty is a Sydney-based author who has had 6 bestselling novels in recent years. The breakthrough book which brought her to many reader’s attention in the UK was The Husband’s Secret – you’ll probably remember the eye-catching cover featuring a butterfly in a jar that seemed to be pervasive across bookshops last year.
The Last Anniversary is her latest book to be released in the UK by Penguin and is again set in Australia. As teenagers, Rose and Connie discover an abandoned baby on their home island, Scribby Gum, and raise it as their own. The abandoned baby girl – named Enigma by the girls – does indeed live up to her name.
The Munro Baby Mystery, as it comes to be known, brings fame and fortune to the sisters, and sustains the island community for many years, giving employment and a way of life to the families living there. This year, however, things looks set to change after Connie dies. Her family, cut loose from her settling presence, start to drift and reach for new horizons. The island’s newest arrivals – the intriguing Sophie Honeywell and new mother Grace, who struggles with her baby blues – simply add fuel to the powder keg of secrets on the island.
Liane’s novels have a distinct Australian flavour, coupled with an Australian directness to the dialogue. I especially like the way she captures the realities of relationships; from sparkly new love to the comfort and familiarity of older loves. Her novels are filled with believable characters living with the same frustrations and desires as, well, all of us really. Despite a focus on the female point of view, these are not formulaic, chick-lit novels – there is a dark edge to all of Liane’s books and this novel certainly touched upon some difficult issues.
Liane has a great observational eye, making many real-life situations, dilemmas and day-to-day situations into very intriguing fiction. Even though this is not my favourite Moriaty novel (I read it immediately after Little Lies, which I found more compelling), she still ensures you stay up long past your bedtime to discover how the characters unravel the many complicated webs she has woven…
Many thanks to Jane for the review.