Family Connections by Anna Jacobs

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Family Connections by Anna Jacobs

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Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Fairhead
Reviewed by Sue Fairhead
Summary: Two people from Australia go to the UK to meet unknown relatives, meet and become friendly. Fast-paced and enjoyable, but with a couple of unlikely coincidences.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: September 2007
Publisher: Severn House Publishers Ltd
ISBN: 978-1847510075

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Brad from Australia, who was recently widowed, gets a letter out of the blue from Rosie, his biological daughter in England. He had no idea she existed, but decides to retire early and go to the UK to meet her - much to the disapproval of his two children in Australia.

Gina, also from Australia, is sorting through her late father's house. She comes across family documents and realises she has a half-brother and half-sister in the UK. She wants to go and meet them, as she grew up thinking she had no relatives other than her parents. But one of her daughters is having a difficult time with a pregnancy so Gina doesn't feel she can leave her.

Meanwhile Lou, granddaughter of Gina's half-brother, learns about her Australian relatives. Despite the extreme disapproval of her mother, Lou and her boyfriend decide to go backpacking in Australia, hoping to meet Gina and her family.

Then there's Peggy, Gina's half-sister, who is in an emotionally abusive marriage. And Stu, Rosie's adoptive father, who is angry and depressed because someone else has been given the job he has been doing for years - and he definitely doesn't want Rosie to meet Brad.

Confused?

I was, by the sheer number of characters in this novel - many more than mentioned above - and the different subplots which are introduced one after another, apparently unrelated until the threads slowly begin to weave together. I don't have a good memory for names, and found myself frequently turning back to find out who I was reading about, when there was a section change and I found myself in a different part of the story.

Nevertheless, it's an enjoyable tale that moves pretty fast and has some emotional punch. There's tension as different people try to meet each other, and are thwarted in various ways; also as Peggy tries to escape from her increasingly unstable husband. I could feel some of the stress in various situations, as characters struggled, wept, quarrelled and (in some cases) were reunited.

My main problem with the book (once I had finally figured out who was who) was the number of coincidences in the story. One or two of them I could happily have believed, but at least one was so unlikely that I felt a little cheated, even though I could foresee it and it did help to make a very satisfactory and tidy conclusion.

But on the whole I enjoyed it. There are underlying messages about the need to move forward, letting go of past hurts and grudges, and also about the need, sometimes, to break free of a situation that becomes out of control. There's an underlying morality that suits my own worldview, showing the importance of forgiveness, fidelity, and family ties in general.

Recommended for a pleasant light read.

Thanks to the publishers for sending this book.

If you enjoyed this, you might also like Honor and Evie by Susannah Bates or The Saving Graces by Patricia Gaffney.

Buy Family Connections by Anna Jacobs at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Family Connections by Anna Jacobs at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Family Connections by Anna Jacobs at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Family Connections by Anna Jacobs at Amazon.com.

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