#aww2020 · 2020 Reviews · contemporary fiction · new release

New Release Book Review: The Godmothers by Monica McInerney

Title: The Godmothers

Author: Monica McInerney

Published: September 29th 2020

Publisher: Penguin Books Australia

Pages: 448

Genres: Fiction, Contemporary

RRP: $32.99

Rating: 3.5 stars

The heartwarming new novel by Australia’s #1 bestselling author.

The highly anticipated new family drama from one of Australia’s most beloved authors.

Eliza Miller grew up in Australia as the only daughter of a troubled young mother, but with the constant support of two watchful godmothers, Olivia and Maxie. Despite her tricky childhood, she always felt loved and secure. Until, just before her eighteenth birthday, a tragic event changed her life.

Thirteen years on, Eliza is deliberately living as safely as possible, avoiding close relationships and devoting herself to her job. Out of the blue, an enticing invitation from one of her godmothers prompts a leap into the unknown.

Within a fortnight, Eliza finds herself in the middle of a complicated family in Edinburgh. There’s no such thing as an ordinary day any more. Yet, amidst the chaos, Eliza begins to blossom. She finds herself not only hopeful about the future, but ready to explore her past, including the biggest mystery of all – who is her father?

Set in Australia, Scotland, Ireland and England, THE GODMOTHERS is a great big hug of a book that will fill your heart to bursting. It is a moving and perceptive story about love, lies, hope and sorrow, about the families we are born into and the families we make for ourselves.


‘Eliza gave up pretending she was watching a film on the screen in front of her. She leaned back and shut her eyes. As the plane brought her closer every minute to her godmothers, to the possibility of answers to so many of her questions, she gave in to her favorite pastime. One her counsellor Caroline always encouraged. Remembering moments with her mother.’

Much loved Australian storyteller Monica McInerney returns with a heartwarming new novel set across a number of locations, including Australia and Britain. A story of love, family, secrets, truths, revelations and acceptance, The Godmothers is an endearing tale that will strike a chord with many readers.

The Godmothers is the story of Eliza Miler. A young woman who hails from Australia, Eliza has had a very difficult upbringing and as a result, Eliza was placed under the care of her two godmothers, Olivia and Maxie. Despite this strained childhood, Eliza always felt like she had the support, attention and genuine care of her godmothers to get her through the hard times. When a life defining and very difficult event occurred on her eighteenth birthday, Eliza found her life irrevocably changed. Despite the passage of time, Eliza has been deeply affected by this life event and her strained upbringing. Refusing to let anyone close to her, Eliza has directed her energies solely on her work. But when a beloved godmother reaches out to Eliza, she cannot refuse the offer made to her. The resulting invitation leads Eliza to Scotland, where she thrown into the chaos of some rather difficult family relations. Despite the disarray, Eliza seems to find peace in the disorder. Eliza begins to see things in a different light and she also ventures into new territory, taking steps to explore her tenuous past. This delivers surprising results connected to the mystery of Eliza’s parentage.

There is no doubting Monica McInerney’s flair as a gifted storyteller. When you settle into a Monica McInerney novel you are guaranteed some laughs, a good chinwag, a few tears and plenty of hope for the future. McInerney’s feel good tales have entertained readers across Australia and internationally for many years now. The Godmothers is another endearing yarn from a storyteller who is able to express the emotions and drama of family life.

Eliza is our central guide for the duration of The Godmothers. I found Eliza to be an interesting lead, with a set of relatable issues and baggage. Although Eliza’s actions and thoughts didn’t always align with my own, Monica McInerney presented this character well on the pages of her novel. Likewise, readers will be sure to find the two godmother figures of this tale to be quite delightful. I did enjoy the moments where Olivia and Maxie graced the pages of The Godmothers. These two protagonists provided a nice reminder of the wonderful supportive figures we may be lucky to have in our lives, who may not necessarily be related by blood. Anyone who is willing to offer the support and embracing love like Olivia and Maxie are true gems in my eyes! Rounding off the cast list are a number of supporting protagonists who manage to add plenty of heartfelt relations and vibrancy to The Godmothers. Sullivan was a particular standout and I have the feeling that this character will prove popular with both new and loyal readers of McInerney’s work. On the flipside, Eliza’s mother was a not so agreeable character to say the least. She very nearly ruined this tale for me completely sadly. I really struggled with this figure throughout, she definitely got under my skin! But that is life I guess, you take the good with the bad!

Settings are always a big drawcard for me and I did love how The Godmothers had an international flavour of sorts. We get some home grown action in Australia, while we also get the chance to trek across to the other side of the globe to places I lived – Britain, stayed on a holiday – Ireland, or longed to visit – Scotland. Each destination was presented with a sense of clarity and the author’s clear firsthand knowledge of her locations. It was a lovely page based travel experience! You can’t ask for much more in these restrictive travel times.

There are plenty of themes that will resonate with readers once they pick up The Godmothers. From relationships, motherhood, parenting, friendships, love, misunderstanding, the search for the truth, redemption, the weight of the past, blame and regret, many of these issues will play on your mind. The Godmothers is a thought provoking title and with the tone being so very down to earth, it is very accessible for any style of reader. The Godmothers was a book that I struggled in some respects, for unknown reasons I was unable to completely surrender myself to the unfolding story. I’m still trying to figure out why I didn’t quite gel with this one. However, I did find many aspects of The Godmothers to be agreeable, especially the charming location interchanges and the genuine relationships depicted.

The Godmothers unveils an embracing story of memories, letting go of the past, seeking answers, goodness and hope. Monica McInerney has crafted a tale that will send a great deal of comfort to many readers.

The Godmothers by Monica McInerney was published on 29th September 2020 by Penguin Books Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of The Godmothers, Monica McInerney, visit here.

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

The Godmothers is book #112 the 2020 Australian Women Writers Challenge

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