That would be bold claim for any read, but this debut novel was definitely up there with one of the most enjoyable books this year. It is not a novel packed full of adventure or life threatening drama, more a gentle ramble in the company of a brilliantly authentic dysfunctional family. The four Sorenson sisters are continuously derailed by their parent's unrelenting love and respect for one another. Not the most obvious plot point, but it sets the tone for this wonderfully astute and poignant novel that flits between family members and timelines with an effortless and charming grace. The story opens with the revelation that Violet, daughter number two, had an illegitimate child who she gave up for adoption sixteen years earlier. And it is her elder sister Wendy who exposes her not so perfect after all younger sister. Wendy's life has been a rollercoaster ride of injustice and tragedy and the bitterness that she has swallowed down every time her younger sister succeeds has suddenly become too much to bear. Meanwhile Liza, sister number three finds herself pregnant in a loveless relationship with a depressive, and baby of the family Grace has finally fled the nest and in a desperate bid not to disappoint the family that have molly-coddled her the whole of her life, she entangles herself in a web of lies. It is brilliantly funny at times and unnervingly tangible throughout. You can relate to every scenario and every screwed-up character so emphatically that you almost forget it is not your own life that you are weeping over. I would say it is the most perfect holiday read, but god knows when we will be able to go on holiday again so why not curl up under a duvet and loose a few days instead!
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