I have seen Liane Moriarty novels in every book store, on different book lists, and have even been recommended her books by a few friends and of course, my mother. Liane Moriarty is a New York Times best selling author, with over 14 million of her novels sold worldwide. Even one of her novels, Big Little Lies, became a hit HBO show starring Reese Witherspoon (actress and literature advocate), Nicole Kidman, and Shailene Woodley. This September, while in Gene's Books on Sanibel Island, I finally decided to give this famous author a try. The Last Anniversary was in a pile of books as I walked through a crowded aisle, and it just so happened to catch my eye. I picked up the book, along with seven others from varying authors and genres, and checked out. Once we were back home from our honeymoon and I finished other books I had been reading, I decided to read this novel as the first of eight from my Gene's Books shopping trip.
Sophie Honeywell, the main character of The Last Anniversary, is a thirty-nine year old human resource director who is hopelessly single. After a failed relationship with her ex, Thomas, she contemplates her life without a relationship and a child. Though Thomas has moved on, now married and a father, he manages to reconnect with Sophie in the oddest of ways. Thomas calls Sophie and asks to meet her to give her news she should only hear in person. Upon their first meeting in years, Thomas informs Sophie she is the designated heir of his grandmother's home. Though Sophie had only met her a few times, his grandmother, Connie, put in her will that she wanted Sophie to have her home on Scribbly Gum Island, considering Sophie would take good care of the home and make no drastic changes to its foundation. Shocked by this revelation, Sophie finds herself appreciative yet confused on this offer that is too good to be true.
Scribbly Gum Island is a popular tourist attraction, as it has a shocking and confusing story itself which makes this proposition all the more interesting. This island, which is now is Sophie's home, is also home to the famous unsolved mystery of the Munro baby. The island and the people on it hold secrets that go far beyond anyone could possibly imagine. In 1932 Connie and her sister Rose discover baby Enigma abandoned in a home on the island. The house was left with the kettle boiling on the stove and fresh cinnamon cake on the counter, as the baby lay alone in her crib. With no trace of the parents, Alice and Jack, the sisters kept the baby and raised her as a part of their family. This incident led to the successful "Munro Baby Mystery" tour that supplied the sisters and their family a healthy income for years.
Few know the true story behind the mystery, and those that do have vowed to keep it hidden. Sophie's life becomes complex and complicated as she finds herself in the middle of the mystery as she begins to develop connections with her ex's family members on Scribbly Gum Island. Grace, Thomas's cousin, is a new mother who is secretly hoping for a shocking escape from her picturesque life. Margie, Grace's aunt, is a housewife who used to be the definition of beauty but has become overweight and complacent in her life and marriage. Lastly, Rose and Enigma, the one of a kind pair, are left behind with the burden of carrying the Munro baby mystery. Sophie quickly learns that each family member is more eccentric and strange than the last.
My favorite characters were Aunt Rose, Aunt Connie, and Grandma Enigma, as they were colorful, sassy, and playful. Their antics and banter allowed for me, the reader, to feel as though I was in on their secrets and fun. Each character was brilliantly portrayed and added a small piece to the puzzle, no matter how small a role they played in the grand scheme of things. The Last Anniversary was lighthearted and witty, yet insightful and suspenseful. The novel could quickly turn from a sweet moment between family to a disturbing internal conversation in one of the character's heads. This novel was a perfect blend of literature, with a dash of mystery, a pinch of romance, and a cup of drama. Moriarty's writing is fun and entertaining, making for a delightful and engaging read. It is a book meant for readers who enjoy a little portion of every genre. As mentioned earlier, Moriarty has an extensive background in the literary world and I cannot wait to read more of her writing.
Book: The Last Anniversary
Author: Liane Moriarty
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1 edition (June 24, 2014)
Purchasing Information: My copy was purchased at Gene's Books for $6.95, however, this book is currently available on Amazon for $9.99.