The Sister Surprise by Abigail Mann – eARC Book Review

Blurb from Goodreads

Journalist Ava takes a DNA test hoping to discover her roots. Instead, she finds out she has a half-sister … whilst on a live stream watched by 100,000 people.

Her boss thinks it’s the perfect click-bait story. Ava just wants to go to Moira’s tiny Scottish village and meet her.

But when Ava arrives undercover as a volunteer farmhand, she realises Moira – who’s her pig-wrestling, chatterbox polar opposite – might not be delighted by the news.

And the longer Ava stays in Kilroch, with its inappropriately attractive reverend and ties to her hidden family past, the more complicated this surprise is going to get…

The Sister Surprise is the perfect funny, heartwarming read for fans of Marian Keyes, Beth O’Leary, Sophie Ranald and Mhairi McFarlane.

My Review

Don’t you just love when a book lives up to all of your hopes and expectations?! Last year I had the great pleasure of reviewing Abigail Mann’s debut novel The Lonely Fajita through NetGalley. It was an absolute joy of a novel so when I was invited to read her second book I was very excited. And it couldn’t have been a more pleasurable reading experience. I absolutely loved it.

The Sister Surprise is warm, light hearted, incredibly funny… it basically elicited the same feelings in me as I get from cosy pjs, hot chocolate, and fluffy socks. Mann’s strength is her ability to write with humour. She has flawless comedic timing in that she effortlessly balances the sublime with the ridiculous, and knows exactly when to hit all the right notes in between.

The novel follows main character Ava who upon researching her ancestry for work discovers that she has a half sister in rural Scotland. The reveal is all the more dramatic because she finds out during a live web stream for the media company she is employed by. This results in her being sent on assignment to Scotland to report on her first meeting with her new found sister…

And of course things go slightly askew, and much hilarity and high jinx ensue!

Ava was a thoroughly engaging main character. She was the perfect blend of sincerity, awkwardness, and heart. This made it incredibly easy to get invested in her storyline from the earliest pages which meant I never wanted to put this book down.

One of the first hurdles she had to overcome was finding accommodation in the rural Scottish village; this she found for free on a rundown farm in exchange for helping out. This set up introduced us to farmer Kian who….
*drumroll please*
….WAS NOT A LOVE INTEREST!!!! Yaaaaaaaayyyyyy!

Typically in light hearted fiction such as this, when the leading lady goes “rural” she is thrown together with some sort of surly mountain-man/farmer type. But here instead we get the quiet development of genuine, platonic friendship.
And it’s so refreshing.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a girl who loves her love stories but sometimes it’s really nice to see the other types of human connections there are in this genre of fiction. And this novel was all about making human connections and finding yourself.

However, for those of us who do like a little romance there is a hot priest….
*wiggles eyebrows*
Well technically he’s a minister but in my head he was hot priest Andrew Scott from Fleabag!

But the main relationship in this book is between Ava and half sister Moria.
And it’s simply lovely.
There are highs and lows, deep connections and misunderstandings…
I don’t want to go into much detail about it because of spoilers just suffice to say it’s a fabulously woven storyline that kept me hooked until the very end.

I thoroughly enjoyed every second I spent reading this book. As I mentioned before I loved Mann’s first novel The Lonely Fajita so I had high hopes for this. And it’s just so lovely to read a writer that is honing her craft with every publication. The Sister Surprise has confirmed to me that Abigail Mann is a must-read author for any lover of uplifting, comedic fiction, and I’m very excited to read more from her in the future.


*An e-copy was kindly provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley for honest review*

Publishing 25th March 2021, One More Chapter

5 thoughts on “The Sister Surprise by Abigail Mann – eARC Book Review

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