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Posts Tagged ‘siblings’

This is the story of two intertwined families, and especially the six siblings and step-siblings. It starts at the Christening of Franny Keating and ends when she is in her forties, albeit there are three timelines and the story changes between them. (I like multiple timelines, but am are that many readers don’t, so bear this in mind if you are one of them.)

When Franny is 24, she meets acclaimed author Leon Posen and starts a relationship with him. When she tells him of her complicated upbringing and reveals the childhood experiences of herself and the other children in her blended family, he turns those events into what becomes a best selling novel, making their private lives public.

I love Ann Patchett’s writing and I enjoyed this book a lot – not as much as State of Wonder, and certainly not as much as Bel Canto, although the latter of those is one of my very favourite books so would take some beating – but it’s fair to say that although lots of things happen, in some ways, very little happens. It’s the story of several lives and how our actions can affect the future. There is tragedy and sadness, but love and togetherness as well. I liked Franny very much and I loved her father. All of the characters were believable and relatable and the events felt authentic.

I would recommend this book, and if you enjoy it, pick up Bel Canto!

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I listened to this audiobook, very well narrated by Emma Spurgin Hussey, over a few days. After a brief opening chapter by an unnamed character (all is revealed later), the story properly starts with a young woman named Vicky – who also narrates the story – going to Corfu after graduation, and deciding to stay there. She loses touch with her mother, with whom she has had a fractious relationship ever since her mother remarried and had children with her second husband. In Corfu she meets the charismatic William and falls madly in love. Before long their son comes along. But when real life and big responsibilities kick in, the bliss fades from their relationship and Vicky makes a shocking decision.

At this point the story switches abruptly to narration by a lady named Caro, who runs a holiday cottage business on a farm with her husband Gilbert and their son Fergus. She has a daughter named India, but there is clearly friction between India and her parents. I’m wary of giving away too much of the story, so I’ll just say that Vicky’s and Caro’s stories do converge, and their individual histories come to have great bearing on their current lives, and both end up fighting for their own families.

I actually really enjoyed this book. I definitely did not like all of the characters; Barbara was an awful woman, although not entirely unbelievable. I also intensely disliked India and really wanted to have someone give her some home truths. However, I loved Caro and Fergus, and felt for Vicky.

The ending was very good as it gave closure, but resisted tying everything up in a neat bow; I was expecting something different, and was pleasantly surprised.

If you like human dramas, I’d recommend giving this one a try.

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