Liane Moriarty

With a mix of Sophie Kinsella, Maria Semple, and a little Sherlock Homes (with a nod to the Professor Moriarty), Liane Moriarty always delivers a satisfying story.  She is on the list of authors whose next books I anticipate as soon as the last is read.

Currently, the new HBO series – Big Little Lies – has a cast of well-known women, including Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, telling the tale of murder and ambition, with a sprinkling of self-doubt, and a large dose of bullying.  Thankfully, I forget most of the details of a book after I’ve read it – clearing my synapses for the next round of fiction – yet, watching the story unfold, I am grateful for having read the book first.  The vague flashbacks and inner thoughts in the televised version seem to make more sense.  I remember enough of the action and characters to be familiar but I do not remember the ending.   Like all her books, this one will be a surprise – again.

Happily, I found one of Moriarty’s earlier books on my shelf.  The Last Anniversary has all those familiar qualities  – romance and adventure, women working through issues, and a cliff-hanging mystery.  Two women, Connie and Rose, find a surprise when they accept an invitation to tea at the Munro house.  In addition to the warm marble cake on the table and the bloodstains on the floor, they find a baby girl.  They decide to name her Enigma and raise her as their own in their small town of Scribbly Gum Island.

The story revolves around the Munro Baby mystery and Sophie, a thirty-nine year ex-girlfriend who unexpectedly inherits the house from Connie; Enigma is now a grandmother, and the town mystery has become a tourist attraction.  Secrets are important in Moriarty’s books and every character in this story seems to have one.  Like all her books, The Last Anniversary is a page turner, and just when all the secrets seem to have been revealed, Moriarty adds one more on the last page.

Have you read Moriarty’s books?  Here is a list of my reviews:

The Hypnotist’s Love Story

9780425260937_p0_v2_s260x420When one of Liane Moriarty’s funny, quirky books appears on my library list, I know it will be a mood lifter, and The Hypnotist’s Love Story was no exception. With the style I came to appreciate in What Alice Forgot and The Husband’s Secret, Moriarty connects unlikely possibilities with ordinary circumstances and likable characters.

The story revolves around Ellen O’Farrell and the clients she tries to help with hypnotherapy. From the bride to be who is trying to give up smoking to the overweight lawyer, Moriarty mixes serious issues with gentle caring – and a few laughs. When Ellen meets Patrick, a widower, who has a former lover who is stalking him, the scary incidents dovetail with her new romance. Saskia, the stalker, is one of Ellen’s clients.  All ends well but not before the plot takes some strange turns.

With not as many surprises as her later work, The Hypnotist’s Love Story is still a page-turning fast read and a welcome change of pace.