This book has been calling to me from my to-be-read pile for some time and finally with today being publication day, I have my review to share with you. And let me tell you, the book was well worth the wait!
It’s the story of Allie, a research scientist, who by chance discovers an old letter in her grandmother’s house. The letter seems to reveal an old family secret which could change a lot of what Allie thinks she knows about her family. When her grandmother is adamant that it isn’t what Allie thinks and that she should forget about it, then of course she is determined to find out the truth. To do this, she will need to travel to Italy and is accompanied by her best friend Ed. Ed is having his own difficulties and the opportunity to get away for a while is just what he needs to take stock and decide the way forward for him.
There are quite a few messy relationships in this book, but it’s one of those books where it is difficult to say much about any of them without giving away the plot, so I won’t. One thing I will say is that Catherine Isaac has created some wonderful characters you will really care about, across all the generations. Apart from one character who you will most definitely not like! She is equally able to convey the angst of school days and young love as she is able to show that love and relationships can still be complicated in later years.
The book is so beautifully written and not just the relationships that Catherine Isaac writes about with great insight. The scenes set in Italy are wonderful to read about with beautiful lakes, vineyards and fabulous sounding little food shops.
Many times the story took a direction I didn’t expect at all. I was reading on the bus when one particular part took me so much by surprise that I gasped audibly, no doubt to the amusement of my fellow bus travellers! Messy, Wonderful Us is a story of family secrets and coming to terms with the past and indeed the present. The relationships may be messy but they are certainly also wonderful in this captivating book.
My thanks to the publishers Simon & Schuster for sending an early review copy of the book. Messy, Wonderful Us is available from today in hardback and e-book formats and the paperback will follow in March next year. You will find buying options for various retailers on the publisher’s website here: Messy, Wonderful Us
From the back of the book
In late 1983, a letter arrives from Italy, containing secrets so unthinkable that it is hidden away, apparently forever. More than three decades later, it is found . . . by the last person who was ever supposed to see it.
When Allie opens an envelope in her grandmother’s house, it changes everything she knows about her family – and herself.
With the truth liable to hurt those she loves most, she hires a private detective to find out what happened to her late mother in the summer before Allie was born. Taking leave from her job as a research scientist, she is led to the sun-drenched shores of Lake Garda, accompanied by her best friend Ed.
But the secrets that emerge go far beyond anything they were expecting. Now, Allie must find the courage to confront her family’s tangled past and reshape her own future.
About the author
Catherine Isaac was born in 1974 in Liverpool, England. She studied History at the University of Liverpool, before completing a postgraduate diploma in Journalism at Glasgow Caledonian University. She began her career as graduate trainee at the Liverpool Echo. At 27, she was appointed Editor of the Liverpool Daily Post and held the position for five years. She wrote her first book, Bridesmaids, while on maternity leave and under the pseudonym Jane Costello. She has since written nine books, all Sunday Times bestsellers in the UK. You, Me, Everything is her first novel writing as Catherine Isaac. She lives in Liverpool with her husband Mark and three sons. In her spare time she likes to run, walk up mountains in the Lake District and win at pub quizzes, though the latter rarely happens.