There appears to be a genre best described as “Australian heroine’s sister dies, leaving behind a young child, forcing our heroine to rethink her life’s purpose and find love”. This book falls nicely in this genre, joining another good book (thankfully by a different author), All the Little Moments by G Benson, which I was sure I’d reviewed, but haven’t. In All the Little Moments our heroine is an anaesthetist forced to uproot her life and move to another city. In Echo Point, it’s a children’s book illustrator forced to uproot her life and move back to a small town outside Sydney. Gloriously, small town life isn’t all magic, possibly because it’s not American small town life and Australians have a more realistic view of how small towns actually are.
The book also takes place against a backdrop of very hot weather, including bush fires, making it perfect, if confusing, reading for a British autumn weekend.
In keeping with All the Little Moments, it’s written from the perspective of our main character (no jumping between two heroines here) and she’s an entertaining narrator. Not entirely reliable. Not entirely self aware, and nicely confused by a few situations and feelings that come her way. This is really well played out in a few scenes where she tries to control her natural uptight nature to impress her love interest.
And then the love interest. She is fresh out of prison, and was the best friend of our heroine’s dead sister. She seems pretty much perfect, in a rough and ready kinda way, but it takes our narrater a while to work that out, having a history of distrust with the woman.
Add in some trauma about whether our heroine should uproot her niece back to the US and her hot shot life, or stay in small town Aus, and we have a small amount of peril in the picture. Also an unusually good account of a business meeting with someone you wouldn’t really want to work with.
My conundrum: do I recommend it? Grief lit is not really my thing (is it?!!) and it’s such a convenient ready made family it’s hard to not consider it hammy. However, I really enjoyed it, and have recommended it to the Long Talll Sherrif, so I recommend it to you.
(pic from here: GFDL 1.2, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1770761)