Thursday, August 4, 2016

Mothers, sisters and other lovers by Simone Mondesir

4 Star

Mother-daughter relationships can be difficult enough, but what would you do if your mother fell in love with a woman young enough to be your sister? 

That’s the dilemma facing dutiful daughter, Grace Hamilton, who risks her own relationship to go to Greece to rescue her mother, only to be caught up in a heady mix of sexual politics and village rivalries, richly spiced with ancient myth and some very contemporary “goddesses”. Seduced by the heat and languor of a Greek summer, Grace sheds her inhibitions and discovers the truth about herself as well as about the father she has never known.

Rebecca - 4 Star

I really enjoyed this book. Many moons ago in my youth I spent a summer on a Greek island discovering boys, beaches and the amazingly ridiculous things ouzo tells you to do. This book took me right back there and really captured that remote sun baked other worldliness of the Greek islands, and it's even set in a similar pre smart phone, pre social media world.

Grace is cruising for a fall when we first meet her; whilst we can admire her self assuredness, she borders on the intolerant and smug side of being sassy, but there is enough to like and root for her. But she evolves throughout the book and I was really quite fond of her by the end. I loved the way I was fooled into thinking I was reading a common and garden girl-meets-handsome-foreigner-who-rescues-her-from-her-conventional-life saga when in fact the plot is full of surprises and twists. It is set in a pre smart phone and pre social media era which is amazingly refreshing and actually allows for a much better development both in terms of plot and characterisation; we and the characters in the book don't instantly know everything that is going on around them, nor are they exposed to the constant stream of consciousness of all and sundry.

My main criticism relates to the character Roger, Grace's stick in the mud wanna be politician boyfriend. I thought he was over done, ridiculously dull and tied to his mothers apron strings. I think it would have made more of an interesting dilemma for Grace if he at least had some charm. But with the gorgeous sun kissed Greek backdrop I could overlook this and think this makes great summer beach reading.

All opinions are our own.

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