Title: Messy, Wonderful Us (review copy)
Author: Catherine Isaac
Genre/Themes: Adult Contemporary, Emotional Fiction, Family Drama
Blurb from Goodreads
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.
I’m not crying, you’re crying…
Oh this book… THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!
It utterly took me by surprise how much I was moved by this story. Messy Wonderful Us is a book about the messiness of love and how it shapes our lives. It’s about the things we do for the sake of family, for the sake of best friends. It’s about the dark undercurrents of love and the joy of it.
The story primarily follows Allie who sets off on a trip to Italy in an effort to uncover certain truths about her deceased mother’s youth. She doesn’t tell her father or grandparents where she is going because she wants to protect them from what she may discover. Accompanying her on the trip is her lifelong best friend Ed who is, inexplicably to everyone who knows him, taking a break from his marriage to the love of his life, Julia.
And that’s about as much of the plot as I’m willing to give away because this is one of those books that gently unfurls its stories to you. The book ingeniously interchanges its point of view between three characters in a manner that is extremely appealing and made me turn those pages as fast as I could. I was completely invested in trying to figure out how all these different viewpoints would come together and together they did indeed come to reveal some surprising twists and turns.
The ending is a little too convenient and high on melodrama but then again I also burst into tears at the very last paragraph so….. wistfully shrugs
Basically it’s just supremely satisfying and despite the utter mess. And I mean MESS that is these characters’ lives!!!!! They are terribly flawed humans who do some dodgy things in the name of love HOWEVER as a reader you just can’t help but be invested in their stories and root for their happy endings.
I was so surprised by how much I loved this. Don’t you love when the right book comes along at the right time??? Messy Wonderful Us definitely came along at the right time for me and I would recommend it to people who love emotional family dramas.
An e-copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher, Simon and Schuster, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
There are a few trigger warnings that I’d like to make reference to but be advised that the warnings will have an impact on some of the major plot developments of the book.
- physical domestic abuse
- emotional domestic abuse
- implied sibling incest