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The Last Anniversary: A Novel Paperback – May 30, 2006
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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)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top customer reviews
I found myself wanting to reach the end of this book which hasn't been the case with her other works. However, I look forward to reading more by this author.
Connie and Rose Doughty are the matriarchs and the head of the family business that features the Alice and Jack Munro mystery of 1932. And how Connie and Rose found a baby in a house they were reportedly renting to Alice and Jack...with no sign of the parents.
Baby Enigma would become the centerpiece of the mystery and the business, which included tours of the house and anniversaries of the event. The various grown-up children that descended from Enigma and her two daughters, Laura and Margie, were also part of the story.
Veronika and Thomas were Margie and Ron's children, while Grace was Laura's daughter. Laura's husband had run off with another woman when Grace was young.
Grace and Callum have a new baby, and we learn quite a bit about the two of them, as well as how Grace does not feel like a "proper mother." She often has rages and fears of harming her baby.
Meanwhile, Veronika is outraged that Thomas's ex-girlfriend, Sophie Honeywell, has inherited Connie's house after her death. Veronika is an annoying character that suddenly seems to find herself and becomes less hysterical in her behavior.
Sophie is another major character and her quest to find her happy ending takes over a good part of the story.
What is the true secret behind the Alice and Jack Munro mystery? How did it all come together, and who is responsible? And what somewhat startling final mystery, a secret of Rose's alone, brings the book to a stunning close?
I had figured out the secret about the baby early on, at least the general direction of it. But the final reveal was a surprise to me. The celebrations of the mystery spanned seventy-three years until the truth came out.
I enjoyed the story, but this was not one of my favorites from this author, as there were too many characters and subplots to fully immerse myself or invest in any of the characters or storylines. But fans of Moriarty will still want to read it. 4.0 stars.