The Sunday Lunch Club by Juliet Ashton

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I’m so grateful to the lovely folk at Simon and Schuster and TeamBATC for providing an advanced reader copy of The Sunday Lunch Club by Juliet Ashton in return for an honest review.

I recently met Juliet Ashton again at the latest Spring Blogger Event that you can read about here. I’ve also read, loved and reviewed here another of Juliet’s books, The Woman at Number 24.

The Sunday Lunch Club by Juliet Ashton will be published on 19th April and is available for pre-order through the links here.

The Sunday Lunch Club

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The first rule of Sunday Lunch Club is … don’t make any afternoon plans.

Every few Sundays, Anna and her extended family and friends get together for lunch. They talk, they laugh, they bicker, they eat too much. Sometimes the important stuff is left unsaid, other times it’s said in the wrong way.

Sitting between her ex-husband and her new lover, Anna is coming to terms with an unexpected pregnancy at the age of forty. Also at the table are her ageing grandmother, her promiscuous sister, her flamboyantly gay brother and a memory too terrible to contemplate.

Until, that is, a letter arrives from the person Anna scarred all those years ago. Can Anna reconcile her painful past with her uncertain future?

My Review of The Sunday Lunch Club

Anna’s family meet regularly for Sunday lunch and know everything about one another. Or do they…

Well, well, well. Juliet Ashton has done it again. I absolutely adored The Sunday Lunch Club.

Firstly, I so appreciated the quality of the prose. I must admit the book’s title made me think this might be a very superficial read but I was completely wrong. As I read, a quotation from Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina that ‘Happy families and all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way’ kept going through my head because all the members of Anna’s family have their secrets, their hopes and their fears so beautifully presented that I felt I knew each one intimately. Anna makes the perfect conduit to present them all so that we learn as much about her as we do all the others. I fell in love with them all and wanted them all to have a happy resolution, but you’ll have to read the book for yourself to find out if that happens.

The plot is so engaging, revolving around Anna’s pregnancy and drawing in each of the other members through the anchor of the family Sunday lunches. I found reading The Sunday Lunch Club a bit like watching the ocean. It was mesmerising; ebbing and flowing so that the reader occasionally feels complicit in the action, is often surprised and is always so wonderfully entertained. There’s such an intimate sense of family whilst at the same time they all represent a real microcosm of society so that there really is a character, an action or an event for any and every reader to identify with. This is such clever writing. It’s not overstating my emotional response to The Sunday Lunch Club to say it made me feel back in touch with humanity.

I think The Sunday Lunch Club is perfect escapist reading but with a depth and warmth that surprised me. I didn’t want it to end and feel lost now that I’m no longer heading over for Sunday lunch with these warm, witty and loveable people. I absolutely loved it.

About Juliet Ashton

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Juliet Ashton is just one of the nom de plumes of writer Bernadette Strachan who also co-writes musicals with her composer husband Matthew Strachan. Juliet has a daughter and dogs!

You can follow Juliet Ashton on Twitter and visit her website.

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