I have always found Sophie’s books to be what I would describe as ‘chick-lit/quick read’ and this was no different. I have loved every one of our authors books since I found her, way back in the undomestic goddess days!
Once I found that book, I immediately back-pedalled to all the ones she had written prior to our goddess and read them all. I can safely say that nothing ever disappointed. Neither does this.
The book gives us a complex family. I say complex, but the complexities have led to the family becoming fractured and broken. Picture the scene: 3 adult kids with their own lives and parents who decide that they are divorcing. Of the three adult children we meet, Gus, Bean and Effie, it is the youngest, Effie, who struggles to accept the premise of the divorce, even more so after her dad introduces his much younger girlfriend, Krista. Effie takes an instant dislike to Krista and embarks on a feud with her causing estrangement from her father.
When the news comes in that the family home is being sold and a party is being held, Effie finds herself left off the guestlist. At the last-minute Effie gets the invitation but she is clearly being invited under pressure, a kind of anti-invitation as Effie describes it. Effie declines the invitation but then realises she needs to go to retrieve a beloved childhood treasure that is in the house.
This is where the book takes off as Effie tries to do a stealth ‘mission impossible’ style entry and exit to the house. As she hides under tables and sneaks through the house, it becomes evident that the secrets are not held in the whimsical treasures she seeks, but rather in the people that she calls her family. Overhearing conversations, making discoveries, and finding the man who broke her heart is at the house, all make for one of the funniest reads I have had in an incredibly long time.
As Effie runs around the house, meeting assorted family members along the way and looking for her treasures, we begin to see Effie grow up. We see her realise that her family need her, and she needs them. We see her realise that searching for her Russian dolls is not the most important thing anymore. What is important is family.
Sophie gives a humorous account of family. An account of a father and his girlfriend. A brother who is with a girlfriend who is a little controlling. An older sister who has been in a relationship and told no one and of course Effie. Sophies writing style was perfect for this story. The reason I know that…..I could hear the characters speaking the lines to me. That’s the sign of a good writer. I was invested from page 1!
Thank you, Sophie, for the best of your books. Less Becky Bloomwood, more Effie please!