Published: 6th November 2014
For the last thirty years, Angela Gillespie’s annual Christmas letter has been full of her family’s triumphs. But this year Angela surprises everyone, including herself – she tells the truth. Angela’s husband is in the throes of a mid-life crisis. Her grown-up daughters are more out of control than ever. And her youngest child spends all of his time talking to an imaginary friend. With fantasy thoughts of a life before marriage and motherhood becoming more than just an innocent daydream, Angela’s real life is slowly slipping out of focus. But, as the repercussions of her ruthlessly honest letter begin to pile up, a shocking event takes Angela from her family, and she realises she should have been more careful of what she wished for…
Thank you to Penguin for kindly sending me a review copy.
Angela Gillespie is a mother and a wife. She uprooted her life in London for her husband in Australia. Her annual Christmas letter to family, friends and neighbours is how the narrative begins which I thought was a brilliant and clever idea. I enjoyed how Angela described her three daughters, son and her husband in turn – carefully explaining who was in which city and her opinion on their current lives.
The plot immediately felt very homely and comforting. But Angela, now fifty-five, doesn’t want comfort, she wants adventure. Even within the opening chapter, Angela’s voice was strong and the descriptions were so beautiful and vivid. I wanted to learn more of how Angela and her husband met as Monica touched on it briefly and it gave Angela a wonderful glow.
I enjoyed the change in viewpoint and soon enough, the entire family was involved in the plot. Monica’s writing was so inviting and her love for the Gillespie family shone through. I felt as if I had known the family for years and I was revisiting old family friends.