Published: October 3rd 2011 by Penguin
Genre: Contemporary/Women’s Fiction
Date Finished: 17th November 2011
Rating/ Recommendation: 5 stars *****
Magic can happen in every family
At the Valley View Motel in South Australia's picturesque Clare Valley, eighty-four-year-old Lola Quinlan is up to her usual mischief. She's sent her family away for Christmas and invited a number of mystery guests to come and stay. But who are all these people, and why aren't they spending the festive season with their own loved ones?
As the big day draws closer and Lola's personal family dramas threaten to unravel her plans, she discovers that at a special time of year, magic can happen in every family – especially your own.
From the bestselling author of At Home with the Templetons comes a funny, sad and moving novel about memories and moments and the very meaning of life
I had been eying this beautiful novel ever since I saw in hit the shelves in my local department store. The cover in itself tantalizing, ushering me into a world where I could kick back on a deck chair in the summer’s heat and sip on cold drinks while I read. After reading an article about it in Good Reading Magazine Australia, I knew I had to get it. I was sold and I haven’t looked back since.
And so begins a love affair with Monica McaInerney…
I would say this was the first book of Monica’s read but we all know that would be a porkpie, but as far as introduction goes, you know I’m going to love a book if I get less than hallway through it and have to source out every other novel published by the author. I rarely happens for me, but Lola’s Secret was just one of those books that literally brings me to tears with warmth and happiness when I think about it.
From the first page to the last page I was hooked, and even when I had to put it aside I was still thinking about it, still wanting to devour it in one sitting. Instead I chose to savour it, and I am glad I did because it was worth every page, every single minute spent reading it. If I had to give this book a rating it would be 100% totally worth every cent you spend on it and it is already easily one of my favourites…but why may you ask? Fear not fellow lovers of great fiction…I shall tell you why.
In Monica’s own words [ no copyright intended of course] Lola’s secret is filled with everything she loves to write about and everything that I love to read; Sisters, romance, secrets, the beauty, drama and comedy of family life and the need we all have deep inside of us for the connection of love and life. It has a lively cast of characters and some very big surprises. [ See trailer here – go on click it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0TQ6xZk9kw]
For me reading this felt like I was visiting a long and dear old friend who warmed my heart, made me smile, caused my heart to break yet at the same time gave me faith in life and the courage to make changes in my life, to realise the good times and the bad and to hold my family close to my heart especially at a time when the stresses of life seem to get the better of all of us. When I finished this novel, I didn’t want to end and when it did all I could think was; I cannot wait to read this again and again.
I loved Lola so much; she was so realistic, honest, beautiful and heartbreaking. Her life, long lived with happiness and despair, love and loss, tribulations and moments that took my breath away ignited such a response in me and that was truly only the back history.
This novel is not solely her story it is so many stories, intertwined in such a talented way that it’s seamless. It is about her son Jim and his wife Geraldine, their children, Lola’s grandchildren Bette and Carrie - growing up alongside her in the Clare Valley and even Lola’s great- grandchild Ellen in Hong Kong who is dealing like the rest of the characters with the loss of her mother and her father finding love again. We even get a deeper look inside her world as we meet women who work at the charity shop she volunteers at, and the guest that she invites to celebrate Christmas with her. All of them have their own intricate stories that never failed to lose interest, but excited me each time I opened the book.
Honestly, there is so much I want to say, but all that truly needs to be said is – go and pick this book up. Borrow it, buy it even steal it [preferably from a friend and not a bookstore] and read it. It is amazing and I am so glad that I decided to give Lola’s Secret a chance and I hope you enjoy the beautiful experience of reading it too.