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Book DetailsISBN: 9781760893736
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Book Review: The Godmothers by Monica McInerney - Reviewed by CloggieA (13 Oct 2020)
The Godmothers is the twelfth novel by Australian author, Monica McInerney. From birth, Eliza Miller’s godmothers have played a part in her life, but since she turned eleven, even moreso: twice yearly trips to exciting locations, as well as subtle financial support, was the form it took. She was raised by her loving and beloved single mother, Jeannie: mischievous, naughty, bold, wild, quick-witted, loyal, fun, defiant, reckless but also troubled.
Maxine’s acting career took her to Sydney and beyond, finally landing her in a permanent soap-opera TV series in London; Olivia’s art history degree ensured she was widely travelled before she met widowed father of two young boys, Edgar Montgomery, and married into a hotel management career. Maxie and Olivia were there for Eliza at seventeen when tragedy struck.
And now, thirteen years later, when she learns in a single day that she will soon be jobless and homeless, they are there again, with the best distraction possible: a wedding in Scotland. What better opportunity, Eliza finally decides, to ask her mother’s best friends, her godmothers, to help her know more about Jeannie and her family. And perhaps to find the up-till-now almost-mythical father whose identity Jeannie had promised to reveal when she turned eighteen?
McInerney populates her tale with a marvellous cast: characters who are believable and endearing for all their very human faults and failings. Several of them provide generous doses of light relief: if Jeannie’s crazy personality is presented via reminiscences and flashbacks, Celine and Sullivan are very much present. Celine’s insults are wonderfully creative; and every nervous air traveller should be prescribed a “Sullivan”.
The story involves promises kept out of loyalty, love, respect or emotional blackmail; there are numerous secrets and quite a lot of guilt; If the “unknown father” plot has been well-used, here it has a nice twist that most readers won’t see coming. The banter between the characters is often a delight: “’We also expect Eliza to pay us back in the years ahead,’ Olivia said. ‘We have an ulterior motive, obviously,’ Maxie said. ‘We spoil her now with al these exotic holidays. When we’re old and grey, she visits us in our nursing homes.’ “To fill our drips with gin,’ Olivia said. “Spoon the finest of pureed food into our drooling mouths,’ Maxie said.”
McInerney’s latest offering is likely to make you laugh out loud and put a lump in your throat. This is a moving, funny and insightful read from the mistress of feel-good fiction.
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