Sunday, 24 April 2011

The Fine Art of Insincerity - Angela Hunt

Ginger, Penny and Rosemary Lawrence are all in denial. Ginger is convinced that she knows how to make a marriage work, despite the fact that her husband of twenty-seven years has started getting changed in the closet and hasn’t kissed her goodbye in weeks. Her younger sister, Penny, believes that the perfect way to deal with the lack of romance in her life is to move on to a new man, and is on the hunt for her sixth husband. And Rose still hasn’t recovered from the loss of her unborn child two years previously, but would rather leave this world than ask for help. None of them are aware that they’re heading down the wrong path, and it will take a weekend at their grandmother’s house to teach them new lessons about life, love and marriage. As the memories of the summers spent with their seven-times married grandmother resurface, the girls come to terms with the legacy that their beloved Grandma left them and wonder what they can learn from her life. As the weekend progresses, these three sisters soon discover that they have more to worry about than who gets Grandma’s piano. While Penny is having second thoughts about the new man in her life, a bombshell is dropped on Ginger’s perfect marriage and in the midst of it all, the two of them suddenly realise that something isn’t quite right with their baby sister. Is it too late for these women to realise how blessed they’ve been in life, and that some things are worth fighting for?

From the synopsis and cute cover, I assumed that this would be a light, chick-lit novel. But within a few chapters, I realised that the Lawrence sisters had much deeper issues to deal with than the average chick-lit heroine. I was quickly enveloped into the lives of this dysfunction group of women, all of whom had a lot to learn about love and marriage. Despite probably being her polar opposite, I found Penny the most relatable character. I loved her sassy, Southern flirtations and I could identify with her yearning to be loved and romanced. Although I hope that in twenty-seven years times I’ll be living a similar life to Ginger, living in a nice house in suburbia after having sent my kids off to college, Ginger’s “perfect” marriage didn’t feel right at all and I found myself hoping that she’s be taken down a peg or two and stop judging her sisters long enough to sort her own life out. While I longed for someone to notice that Rose was struggling, I found it hard to identify with her. Maybe it was her obsession with her dog – although I love my cats, I’m really not an animal fanatic – or simply the fact that I found her sections hard to read because of the strange choice in font, but I didn’t feel like I connected with her particularly well.

As the novel progressed, I came to understand the intriguing and heartbreaking legacy that the Lawrence women had received from their family. Their father, mourning the loss of his young wife so soon after the birth of his third daughter, had sent his daughters to live with their grandmother every summer because he never truly recovered from their mother’s death. And the sad truth behind their grandmother’s seven marriages, and insights into the life of a woman who had so many husbands snatched away from her in wars, in an age when women were vulnerable without a man’s protection. This book contained some really fascinating and heartfelt family dynamics. It probably has a thing or two to teach all of us about the true inheritances our families have given us.

Inspirational women’s fiction is slowly growing on me, and while I wouldn’t class this novel among my favourites I did enjoy reading it. The eclectic blend of characters made for a compelling read and I didn’t want to put this book down when I got to the final chapters. I’m a bit disappointed that I never truly felt that I connected with the characters, but that wouldn’t stop me from trying another of Angela Hunt’s books in the future. This is one that I’m sure fans of deeper chick-lit and women’s fiction would appreciate. 7/10

Review copy provided by Howard.

No comments:

Post a Comment