From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Moriarty (Three Wishes) presents a stunner several shades darker than typical chick lit, about a family and the outsider who inherits a house on Scribbly Gum, their (fictional) Australian island and a popular tourist destination. Sophie Honeywell hasn't heard from ex-boyfriend Thomas Gordon since she broke his heart three years ago. He's since married and fathered a child, while Sophie remains single, pining for a baby. When Thomas's Aunt Connie leaves her house on Scribbly Gum Island to Sophie, the family is largely nonplussed—but then, they're used to mysteries. The famous 1932 discovery of baby Enigma by Connie and her sister, Rose Doughty, led to the successful "Munro Baby Mystery" tour that kept the sisters afloat for years. Among the large, eccentric family, Sophie starts a new life, befriending Thomas's cousin Grace, who is suffering through postpartum depression; finding a dangerous mutual attraction with Grace's husband, Callum; and dealing with bitter, intense Veronika, Thomas's sister, who covets Connie's house. Moriarty expertly handles a large cast and their relationships, keeping everyone guessing as the true story of baby Enigma—and its role in Sophie's strange inheritance—is slowly revealed. Moriarty's prose turns from funny through poignant to frightening in an artful snap. (June)
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Three years after Sophie Honeywell dumped Thomas Gordon right before he planned to propose, Sophie is bequeathed the house of his widowed aunt Connie on tiny Scribbly Island, site of the Munro baby mystery, just off the coast of Sydney. Thomas is the grandson of that baby, named Enigma after she was found in 1932 by sisters Connie and Rose Doughty, who raised her after her parents abruptly disappeared and turned the mystery into a profitable tourist attraction. Sophie, who at 39 hears the ticking of her biological clock getting louder, is delighted with the house, despite some family opposition to her inheriting it, and intrigued by Connie's matchmaking from beyond the grave. Moriarty has created a cast of appealing characters that she deftly juggles through various plot threads, notably Sophie's languishing love life and the mystery itself, previously revealed only to family members when they turned 40, ultimately revealed to all. With its unhappy childhoods, postpartum depression, and planned suicide, this is less frothy than the author's chick-lit debut Three Wishes (2004) but just as brisk and witty. Michele Leber
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