It’s always wonderful to discover a new-to-me author and as I haven’t read Monica McInerney before I was delighted to accept Megan’s request to join this EDPR blog tour for The Godmothers.
Published in the UK by Welbeck on 21st January 2021, The Godmothers is available for purchase here.
Eliza Miller grew up in Australia as the only daughter of a troubled young mother, but with the constant support of her two watchful godmothers, Olivia and Maxie. Despite her tricky childhood, she always felt loved and secure. Until, just before her eighteenth birthday, a tragic event changed her life.
Thirteen years on, Eliza is deliberately living as safely as possible, avoiding close relationships and devoting herself to her job. Out of the blue, an enticing invitation from her godmothers, now both based in the UK, prompts a leap into the unknown.
Within a fortnight, Eliza has swapped her predictable routine in Melbourne, for life in the middle of a complicated family in Edinburgh. There’s no rush thing as an ordinary day any more. Yet, amidst the chaos, Eliza begins to blossom. She finds herself not only hopeful about the future, but ready to explore her past. Her godmothers have long been waiting for her to ask about her mother’s mysterious life – and about the identity of the father she has never known. But even they are taken by surprise with all that Eliza discovers.
My Review of The Godmothers
Eliza Miller’s life is about to change.
Why on Earth haven’t I read anything by Monica McInerney before? I have stupidly missed out on warm, engaging writing that goes right to the heart of the reader and captivates them completely. I enjoyed every single second spent reading The Godmothers. I truly loved it. There’s a wonderful skill here in conveying meaning through brilliant dialogue, a variety of sentence structure and the change in style towards the ending works so brilliantly – but you’ll need to read The Godmothers to find out why!
Although The Godmothers is very character driven, there’s a cracking plot here with past events drip fed so that the reader goes on the same journey of discovery as Eliza, with Jeannie’s past actions underpinning present events. I thought the pace was perfect because there’s an intuitive rhythm to the writing so that reading the story felt as natural as breathing. I felt absorbed into the pages and part of the action.
However, the real joy in The Godmothers is in meeting Monica McInerney’s characters. I sympathised with Jeannie completely but felt quite conflicted by my response to her. She’s complex, flawed, manic and suffering, with a deep love for Eliza, and it affected me deeply that I couldn’t decide if I forgave her actions and loved her for her intentions, or hated her completely. She’s so utterly vivid and real that I ended The Godmothers feeling that I would have found her an impossible friend to live with – or to live without. The Godmothers themselves are equally compelling, particularly Olivia for me, but it was Sullivan I thought was an absolute stroke of genius. I really don’t like children much in real life, let alone in fiction, but he is just fabulous because he acts as a foil to Eliza and Celine, allowing them to shine even more brightly in the narrative. Eliza herself is one of the most realistic protagonists I’ve read. She’s a Russian doll of a person, having clad herself in a hard shell that hides hidden talents and depths and which are gradually uncovered so that she becomes increasingly understood by the reader. I also thoroughly enjoyed the fact that there’s a variety of relationships in The Godmothers for her – not just a romantic one that so often permeates such fiction.
Indeed, relationships are so well explored here. Along with themes of metal health, truth, loyalty, friendship and identity, Monica McInerney gives great depth as well as entertainment so that The Godmothers would reward being read more than once. Yes, it’s a lovely, entertaining narrative that can be enjoyed on a relatively superficial level, but it is also a book about humanity and what makes us who we are. Monica McInerney illustrates her utter understanding of women in a way I found mesmerising.
I’m not sure I’ve done justice to The Godmothers because I don’t want to give away the plot. What I can say is that I found it just wonderful. I’m desperate to read more from Monica McInerney because she writes with wit, warmth and absolute skill. The Godmothers is a fabulous book.
About Monica McInerney
Monica McInerney is the Australian-born Dublin-based author of 12 bestselling books, published internationally and in translation in 12 languages. Her novel, The Trip of a Lifetime, went straight to number one in Australia and was a Top 10 bestseller in Ireland. In 2018, 2016 and 2014, Monica was voted in the Top 10 of Booktopia’s annual poll naming Australia’s Favourite Authors.
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