Friday, April 12, 2013

Lola's Secret by Monica McInerney

Book Blurb:
Magic can happen in every family

At the Valley View Motel in South Australia's picturesque Clare Valley, eighty-four-year-old Lola Quinlan is up to her usual mischief. She's sent her family away for Christmas and invited a number of mystery guests to come and stay. But who are all these people, and why aren't they spending the festive season with their own loved ones?

As the big day draws closer and Lola's personal family dramas threaten to unravel her plans, she discovers that at a special time of year, magic can happen in every family – especially your own.

From the bestselling author of At Home with the Templetons comes a funny, sad and moving novel about memories and moments and the very meaning of life.

My review:
I recently reviewed The Alphabet Sisters by Monica McInerney. You can read that review here. I really enjoyed that novel. Lola's Secret is the sequel to The Alphabet Sisters with the story, this time, told from Lola's perspective. 

I'll admit to some disappointment. First, I sort of expected this book to explore more about the secret Lola had revealed to Bett in The Alphabet Sisters. While it did touch on that briefly, that was not the secret referenced in the title.

Secondly, while this book contained most of the same characters as The Alphabet Sisters, it didn't seem to have the same feeling of a warm and loving family life that The Alphabet Sisters portrayed. While the sisters were in the midst of a feud for most of The Alphabet Sisters, Monica had still managed to convey a feeling of togetherness, that seems to be lacking here.

Many of the characters here just seem to be insecure and immature and I found myself sympathizing with Geraldine the most. I don't think that was the intention. I'll admit that McInerney finally seemed to be getting back to the writing I had loved so well in The Alphabet Sisters as the book ended. But overall it left me feeling far less satisfied.

I have to say I didn't love this book. I liked it. But I didn't love it. 

Has a sequel ever disappointed you? Tell me about it.

About the author:
Monica McInerney is the internationally bestselling author of seven novels including Upside Down Inside Out, Family Baggage, The Alphabet Sisters and The Faraday Girls (which was named the General Fiction Book of the Year in the 2008 Australian Book Industry Awards.) Her latest novel Greetings from Somewhere Else will be published in the USA in July 2009.

Monica, 44, grew up in a family of seven children in the Clare Valley wine region of South Australia, where her father was the railway stationmaster and her mother worked in the local library. Before becoming a full-time writer she worked in children’s television, tourism festivals, book publishing, arts marketing, the music industry and as a waitress, a hotel cleaner, a Kindergym instructor and a temp. For the past eighteen years she and her Irish husband have been moving back and forth between Australia and Ireland. They currently live in Dublin.

Visit her website at

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