The Last Anniversary and Three Wishes

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Last Anniversary 
by Liane Moriarty 

Moriatry crafts novels that suck you in immediately. The timeline and family tree in this one are a little trickier to follow than her others, but I read it in one weekend and that helped me keep everything straight. 

The Gordon family has lived on a small island in Australia for years. A mystery involving a vanished family and abandoned baby has haunted the shores for decades. When Connie, one of the eldest members of the family passes away, she unexpectedly leaves her home to her grandson’s ex-girlfriend Sophie. The odd choice baffles the family, but soon Sophie steps into her ready-made life on the island. She meets Connie’s whimsical sister Rose, Enigma, the mystery baby and her adult daughters: Margie and Laura. The grandkids, Grace, Thomas, and Veronica are all adults as well. Each one adds a unique twist to the story. 

Grace’s story was powerful because it gave such an intimate look at post-partum depression, something so few people understand. I also loved seeing Margie’s transformation. Standing up for yourself after years of being put down is incredibly difficult. The big twist/reveals weren’t as shocking as some of her other novels, like Big Little Lies (link), but that didn’t matter. I just enjoy the worlds she creates too much to care. 

BOTTOM LINE: The magic of the island is infectious. You want to visit it and be swept away by the mystery of it all. It’s not my favorite Moriarty novel. It definitely feels like an earlier work, but that just means she’s getting better with each book and I have even more great novels to look forward to.

Three Wishes
by Liane Moriarty 

Gemma, Cat, and Lyn are triplets. In the opening pages they are celebrating their birthdays at a posh Sydney restaurant and we see the meal unfold through the eyes of other patrons. Gemma is a wild spirit, the dreamy, untethered sister. Cat is the strong, brash one. Lyn is the organized, uptight one. The three are so close, yet so wildly different. The trio makes up a pretty exclusive club, yet they don’t tell each other some of the biggest secrets in their lives.

Starting with the opening scene, there are short chapters sprinkled in from the random points of view of people whose paths crossed with the girls in some fleeting way. It was an interesting chance to see them from the point of view of an outsider. The style reminded me a bit of the way Moriarty used the police interviews to break up the story in Big Little Lies (though I think the technique worked better in that novel).
One of the things I love about Moriarty's books is the way she portrays women. They are complicated. They can be jealous, selfless, kind, furious, and more without being labels a "good" or "bad" character. In other words, they are like real women. Her men tend to be a little more one-dimensional, either they are bad guys or they are long-suffering supportive husbands. That's not always true, but it seems like more often than not they fall into one group or the other. The women though don't have nearly the same defined motivations and I love that. Each of the sisters comes across as flawed and vulnerable in different ways.

BOTTOM LINE: I love Moriarty's books. This is my least favorite so far though and I would recommend picking it up after you've already read The Husband's Secret and Big Little Lies.


Brona said...

Sounds like I will enjoy these when I get to day. Maybe my next holiday read :-)

Jillian said...

Moriarty has sadly just never been for me. I never can get into her stories. I feel like there's so much stuff going on, but nothing is cohesive. I do get the appeal though. I wish I liked her more.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Brona - I love reading her when I'm on vacation!

Jillian - There are definitely authors I thought I'd love that never worked for me.