#aww2020 · 2020 Reviews · contemporary fiction · new release

New Release Book Review: Just an Ordinary Family by Fiona Lowe

Title: Just an Ordinary Familyjust an ordinary family small

Author: Fiona Lowe

Published: February 24th 2020

Publisher: HQ Fiction – AU

Pages: 528

Genres:  Fiction, Contemporary

RRP: $32.99

Rating: 4 stars

Liane Moriarty meets Jodi Picoult in this tensely negotiated story of family ties, betrayal and sacrifice.

Every family has its secrets…

Alice Hunter is smarting from the raw deal life has thrown her way: suddenly single, jobless and forced to move home to her parents’ tiny seaside town. And now she faces an uncomfortable truth. She wants her twin sister Libby’s enviable life.

Libby’s closest friend Jess Dekic has been around the Hunter family for so long she might as well be blood. She’s always considered herself a sister closer to Libby than Alice ever could be…

Libby Hunter has all of life’s boxes ticked: prominent small-town doctor, gorgeous husband and two young daughters. But when she is betrayed by those she loves most, it reveals how tenuous her world is…

For Karen Hunter, her children are a double-edged sword of pain and pride. She’s always tried to guide her girls through life’s pitfalls, but how do you protect your children when they’re adults?

As the family implodes, the fallout for these four women will be inescapable…

Bestselling Australian author Fiona Lowe wields a deft hand, creating utterly addictive storytelling that will have you questioning your own perceptions of what family is.

Review:

Just an Ordinary Family is a novel that contains an abundance of true to life sentiments that struck a chord with me from page one. A meaningful and contextual exploration into family, sibling relationships, friendships and love defines the latest contemporary drama from popular Australian novelist Fiona Lowe.

Just an Ordinary Family is a story of swirling secrets that surround a family unit. For Alice, life is vastly different to her twin Libby’s charmed life. She is single and unemployed. Alice has also had to move back in with her parents due to a change in fortune. This has made Alice incredibly envious of her twin sister’s vastly different life. For Libby, life is a dream. She has the perfect husband, a loving family and comfortable home environment. But Libby’s world is about to be tipped upside down due to a betrayal. It hits Libby hard and reminds her of how precarious life truly is. Karen Hunter believes she had done all she can to raise two strong and independent children. However, when both her girls are faced with problems, she is unsure if she can fix these issues. While Jess, Libby’s close friend, also has problems to contend with. Just an Ordinary Family offers an intense exploration into the feelings of a family unit shattered by the revelation of secrets, admissions and unexpected events.

A new Fiona Lowe book is always a treat. Just an Ordinary Family is a sprawling family drama and at five hundred pages, it’s an involving saga. Lowe zones in on family secrets, friendships, relationships, life’s hassles, loss, infertility, finding love, betrayal, abuse and addiction within the pages of her novel. There is no doubt that these are hard hitting themes and serious topics, but Lowe treats each of these issues with sensitivity, as well as careful insight.

We have a cast list of four core female characters in this novel, twin sisters, best friend Jess and mother Karen. I really appreciated the opportunity to get to know each of these four women, along with the supporting cast, who were also well rendered. The four women are all different and they have their own set of insecurities, preoccupations, secrets and issues to deal with. The exploration of these individual problems was interrogated really well by Lowe. It is easy to see why Lowe is such a respected contemporary fiction novelist. These are commonplace stories, relatable issues and authentic based responses to everyday problems.

Lowe takes us to a beautiful part of our country and the state of Victoria. We are immersed in the trials and tribulations of the featured foursome who are located in the seaside town of Kurnai Bay. I felt very comfortable in these surrounds and almost a part of the furniture. The connection that Lowe takes her time to cultivate in her novel between the reader and the setting is to be commended. It is a shining feature of this book.

Just an Ordinary Family really drives home the importance of communication, understanding, secrets, airing grievances, forgiving mistakes and remaining truthful, as well as honest to your loved ones. It is a book that makes you want to reflect a little more on your own life, relationships, friendships, family life and dramas. Just an Ordinary Family was tied up nicely by the end and a sense of contentment washed over me as this book reached its close.

Just an Ordinary Family will unite all readers in this connective tale of love and life’s ups and downs.

Just an Ordinary Family by Fiona Lowe was published on 24th February 2020 by HQ Fiction – AU. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of Just an Ordinary Family, Fiona Lowe, visit here.

*I wish to thank Harlequin Australia for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.

Just an Ordinary Family is book #71 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge

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