Title: The Family Gift
Author: Cathy Kelly
Published: October 15th 2019
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary
Rating: 3 stars
Treat yourself to the heartwarming, hilarious new novel from Sunday Times bestseller Cathy Kelly!
Freya Abalone has a big, messy, wonderful family, a fantastic career, and a new house.
But that’s on the outside.
On the inside, she’s got Mildred – the name she’s given to that nagging inner critic who tells us all we’re not good enough.
And now Freya’s beloved blended family is under threat. Dan’s first wife Elisa, the glamorous, manipulative woman who happily abandoned her daughter to Freya and Dan’s care and left the country, has elbowed her way back into their lives.
But Freya knows that when life gives you lemons, you throw them right back.
Can Freya put her family – and herself – back together? Find out in Cathy Kelly’s warmest, wisest and funniest book yet…
International bestselling author Cathy Kelly is known for her warm, witty and wise novels about ordinary people coping with day to day problems. Kelly’s twentieth novel is no exception. The Family Gift is a story of family politics, relationships, self-doubt, trauma and life itself.
The Family Gift is a story about families in all their glory, and how we deal with complex family relations within the context of careers, relationships, life and changes in our circumstances. For Freya, her inner critic is in overdrive. She is not coping with the problems that come with living in a blended family situation. When her husband’s ex arrives on the scene causing trouble, it hits Freya hard. Then there is her extended family, her career and the trauma that she hides deep within. Freya must summon all the inner strength she can to put the broken pieces of her family back together.
A cover quote endorsement from fellow Irish author Marian Keyes, immediately enticed me to position this book at the very top of my review pile. Over the years I have dabbled in and out of Kelly’s books, as I do appreciate Kelly’s unique style of soft Irish humour and relatable life stories. The Family Gift is a story that seems very in touch with the modern woman and the pressures we all face in current day society.
The Family Gift revolves around the life of Freya Abalone, a woman with quite a few complications in her life when we are first acquainted with her. To be honest, Freya’s life is a train wreck and I didn’t envy her at all. Reading Freya’s story made me for thankful for my own less chaotic life, which is missing the drama Freya becomes mixed up in as the book progresses. The Family Gift is a book about taking stock, learning to believe in yourself again – in the wake of a series of traumatic, as well as difficult experiences. It sees the lead of the tale hit rock bottom and as the story unfolds, Freya must gain the upper hand over her fractured life.
Running alongside Freya’s story are the complicated life battles experienced by Freya’s family. Kelly draws in some powerful themes within the storylines of this expansive character set. Everything from trauma, abandonment, marital issues, IVF, responsibility, custody and much more are covered within the pages of this involving novel. I have to admit that sadly I struggled to make sense of what was going on in The Family Gift, perhaps there were too many side threads in this full novel. My mind wandered as the story meandered and branched off onto tangents. I continued to read this one until the end as I was genuinely intrigued as to how Freya’s story would conclude.
For those who have enjoyed Cathy Kelly’s work in the past and contemporary women’s fiction, The Family Gift will draw appeal.
The Family Gift by Cathy Kelly is published by Hachette Australia. Out now. $29.99
To learn more about the author of The Family Gift, Cathy Kelly, visit here.
*Thanks is extended to Hachette Australia for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.