The Last Anniversary
by Liane Moriarty
From the bestselling author of The Husband’s Secret comes a compelling story where nothing is as simple as it seems.
Seventy-three years have passed since sisters Rose and Connie Doughty found an abandoned baby in the only other house on their little island, Scribbly Gum. And since then the ‘Munro Baby Mystery’ has brought them fame and fortune.
But now, with Connie dead and newcomer Sophie Honeywell inheriting her home, and everyone around them tirelessly trying to solve the mystery, Rose begins to wonder if they made the right decision all those years ago. How much longer they can cover up the truth behind the mystery that has sustained their community for four generations? And what other secrets might be revealed?
My friend Catherine gave me “The Last Anniversary” for Christmas. I’d never heard of Liane Moriarty before but for some reason I recognised the author’s photo on the back cover and did a little research. Author of “Big Little Lies“, Moriarty has written a great deal of well-reviewed books so I started this book with great hope.
It’s clear that Moriarty writes well, she’s imaginative and through this book explores the day to day lives of a large family living on the island of Scribbly Gum, close to Sydney. The majority of characters are female, there are a lot of them and it took me a long time to work out who was who (I actually had to draw out a family tree and stick it on the cover to refer to in later chapters!).
The story is described as being a mystery; sisters Connie and Rose unintentionally become local celebrities after finding an abandoned baby on the island. The baby’s parents had completely vanished so the sisters decided to take her in and raise her as their own while welcoming paying visitors to the mysterious home where she was found. Many years later, we join the story when the baby herself has grandchildren.
I did like this book, but I don’t feel that it lived up to my expectations of a mystery; there was no suspicion, no guessing and when things finally came together at the end, the reveal was not at all surprising or unpredictable. More of a family drama than anything else, the book read like a soap with sub-plots involving the children and grandchildren of the mystery Munro baby. Grace, for example, is suffering from post-natal depression, Margie is going to Weight-Watchers in an attempt to save her marriage, Sophie is nearing 40 and is desperate to have a baby. The individual stories are far more interesting that the mystery we are sold, but for a book about family life, I found the 400 pages began to drag on.
Overall rating: A decent family story with realistic varied characters, I found that “The Last Anniversary” couldn’t impress me with its mystery, but kept me interested with its relationships and family dramas. I’m intrigued by Liane Moriarty‘s writing and will keep her in mind when choosing my next books, however this book was just too long and the predictable reveal of the Munro baby means this book is only getting three stars from me.
See my other reviews of books by Liane Moriarty here: