Overall Rating: 3/5
Every once in a while, I will come across a book that does not necessarily rank as highly in terms of “literary quality” but is still so enjoyable. The Last Anniversary centers around an unusual family business started by two sisters who raise a baby after her parents mysteriously disappear. Set on a small island in Australia, the story weaves an enticing mystery against the backdrop of complex familial relationships and drama. Does it rate as highly as some of the other incredible books I have read this year? No, but it was so much fun and exactly what I needed in the midst of an anxiety-inducing election and overwhelming news cycle.
While the plot itself is intriguing, I found The Last Anniversary to be a lot more character-driven than I had originally anticipated. There are a LOT of characters in this book and they are introduced very quickly up-front. It did take me some time to get acquainted with all of them however I quickly came to appreciate their perspectives and plot lines. The book maintains a light and humorous tone throughout but that does not stop it from exploring nuanced domestic and mental health issues that many readers will find familiar, from marital difficulties to post-natal depression. The variety and number of plot lines – while sometimes a little bizarre – create an enjoyable and fast-paced reading experience with just the right number of twists and turns to keep you on your toes.
There were a few parts of the novel that I would have liked to see written differently but as always, this is largely based on personal preference. There were times I felt as though the characters didn’t really have distinct voices and blended together, which made it more difficult for me to keep the plot lines in order. The characters are also very quirky, making their decision-making questionable and a little unbelievable at times. All in all, I would definitely recommend The Last Anniversary if you are looking for a simple, fun mystery or family drama that takes you away from the real world for a few hours. What books have you escaped into recently? Let me know in the comments!