Thursday, March 31, 2016

Book Review: "The Last Anniversary" by Liane Moriarty

The Last Anniversary Liane Moriarty
Published: June 24, 2014
ISBN: 9780060890681
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Personal Copy

Sophie Honeywell always wondered if Thomas Gordon was the one she let get away. He was the perfect boyfriend, but on the day he was to propose, she broke his heart. A year later he married his travel agent, while Sophie has been mortifyingly single ever since. Now Thomas is back in her life because Sophie has unexpectedly inherited his aunt Connie's house on Scribbly Gum Island -- home of the famously unsolved Munro Baby mystery.

Sophie moves onto the island and begins a new life as part of an unconventional family where it seems everyone has a secret. Grace, a beautiful young mother, is feverishly planning a shocking escape from her perfect life. Margie, a frumpy housewife, has made a pact with a stranger, while dreamy Aunt Rose wonders if maybe it's about time she started making her own decisions.

As Sophie's life becomes increasingly complicated, she discovers that sometimes you have to stop waiting around -- and come up with your own fairy-tale ending.

My Thoughts:
If nothing else, The Last Anniversary is proof that bad books can happen to good authors.  Liane Moriarty's books have been consistent for me in the past, which is why I was so surprised that this one fell so flat.  There was no big problem with this book--just many little things.  Any one of these problems could easily be overlooked in another book.  However, since all these little problems are in one book, they add up to one big mess.

One of the biggest "little" problems for me was that the main character, Sophie, is only minimally involved in the main plot of the book.  Honestly, that is the only time I have ever seen that happen and it left me scratching my head.  There were also a number of characters who were just...there.  Thomas, who is introduced as if he's going to be a major character, really does nothing.  There is one character who is off in the wings for almost the entire book.  And the center of the book--the Munro Baby Mystery--is not maintained well and, when it is resolved, is just plain disappointing.  Even after I finished the book, I really wasn't sure where the story was going.

In all that, what does this book have going for it?  Well, Moriarty is as readable as ever.  If she weren't as good a writer as she is, there is no way I could have finished this book.  And there are some good "starts" here--by that I mean, if Moriarty had taken one or two characters out of this book and developed them on their own, she might have a really good book.  Instead, we just have a stew of half-boiled subplots and supporting characters.

This book wasn't enough to turn me off Liane Moriarty--I've read other books by her that were much better.  I'm just going to chalk this one up to a fluke--as I said, bad books can happen to good writers!

I was not solicited for this review and I received no compensation for this post.

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