Messy, Wonderful Us by Catherine Isaac

messy wonderful us

That’s it! I can’t wait any longer. I’ve been waiting for four months and I HAVE to share my review of Catherine Isaac’s Messy Wonderful Us otherwise I might just spontaneously combust.

I adored Catherine Isaac’s You, Me, Everything which I reviewed here and was delighted to chat with her about that book on Linda’s Book Bag in a post you can read here. Consequently, when I found a proof copy of her latest book Messy, Wonderful Us in my goody bag at a Simon and Schuster blogger evening I was thrilled. You can see what happened at that evening here. Today I’m delighted to share my review of Messy, Wonderful Us.

Messy Wonderful Us will be released by Simon and Schuster in ebook on 28th November 2019 and in paperback on 5th March 202 and is available for pre-order through these links.

Messy, Wonderful Us

messy wonderful us

One morning in early summer, a man and woman wait to board a flight to Italy.

Allie has lived a careful, focused existence. But now she has unexpectedly taken leave from her job as an academic research scientist to fly to a place she only recently heard about in a letter. Her father, Joe, doesn’t know the reason for her trip, and Allie can’t bring herself to tell him that she’s flying to Italy to unpick the truth about what her mother did all those years ago.

Beside her is her best friend since schooldays, Ed. He has just shocked everyone with a sudden separation from his wife, Julia. Allie hopes that a break will help him open up.

But the secrets that emerge as the sun beats down on Lake Garda and Liguria don’t merely concern her family’s tangled past. And the two friends are forced to confront questions about their own life-long relationship that are impossible to resolve.

The dazzling new novel from Richard & Judy book club author Catherine Isaac, Messy, Wonderful Us is a story about the transforming power of love, as one woman journeys to uncover the past and reshape her future.

My Review of Messy, Wonderful Us

Cystic Fibrosis researcher Allie is on a professional quest; but a personal one may just be as important to her.

Now, when I read You, Me, Everything by Catherine Isaac I thought it was fantastic and as a result I approached reading Messy, Wonderful Us with some trepidation. I was afraid I’d be disappointed. I am quite prepared to admit I was a complete idiot. Messy, Wonderful Us is sensationally good and I am going to find it hard to conjure up the superlatives I need to express my absolute enjoyment and engagement with this brilliant book.

The plot is so adroitly constructed that I was desperate to know the outcomes but simultaneously I didn’t want the book to end because I found it so moving and affecting. I was so immersed in the narrative that I’m sure I believed myself to be Allie herself, rather than someone reading about a fictional character. Messy, Wonderful Us is a book that has touched my soul and left an indelible mark. There are surprises along the way in the story that I found utterly captivating, but for me the greatest enjoyment came through Catherine Isaac’s sublime characterisation. Allie, Ed and Peggy all broke my heart at some point in the reading.

One of the elements I also really enjoyed was the sense of a quest. Allie is looking for details about her own background at the same time as working towards a cure for Cystic Fibrosis. The level of information about the research process is perfectly balanced, giving just enough to captivate the reader without bogging them down in excessive detail. This is such wonderful writing. Similarly, the quality of description for the Italian settings in particular is flawless. Every sense is catered for so that there’s a cinematic feel to the narrative and making me desperate to visit the same places as Allie and Ed. A further concept of quest comes through Ed’s need to assess his marriage and future in a sub plot that thrums with desire, guilt and responsibility. There are other themes I’d love to comment upon, but to do so would spoil the story. Let’s just say the painting of a social history is wonderful too.

Messy, Wonderful Us is exactly my kind of book. It’s emotional. It’s brilliantly researched. It’s a fabulous story. It’s simultaneously heartbreaking and uplifting. I rather think I might now be a little bit in love with Catherine Isaac and her writing. I cannot recommend Messy, Wonderful Us highly enough. I adored it.

About Catherine Isaac


Catherine Isaac was born in Liverpool, England. She studied History at the University of Liverpool, then Journalism at Glasgow Caledonian University, before beginning her career as trainee reporter at the Liverpool Echo.

She rose to the position of Editor of the Liverpool Daily Post and wrote her first book, Bridesmaids, while on maternity leave, under the pseudonym Jane Costello. Her nine subsequent novels were all Sunday Times best-sellers in the UK.

You Me Everything was her first book writing as Catherine Isaac.

She lives in Liverpool with her husband Mark and three sons. In her spare time she likes to run, walk up mountains in the Lake District and win at pub quizzes, though the latter rarely happens.

You can visit Catherine’s website for more information and follow her on Twitter @CatherineIsaac_. You’ll also find Catherine on Facebook.

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