Author: Tricia Stringer
Publisher: 29th September 2021 by Harlequin Australia, HQ & MIRA
Pages: 352 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: contemporary fiction, women’s fiction
My Rating: 4 cups
Who will find you when you lose your place in the world?
Full of practical wisdom, this heart-warming novel from a bestselling author celebrates finding help where you least expect it as well as the ties between women that can change - and save - lives.
Eve has been a partner in a Wallaby Bay fishing fleet as long as she can remember. Now they want her to sell - but what would her life be without work? She lives alone, her role on the town committee has been spiked by malicious gossip and she is incapacitated after surgery. For the first time in her life she feels weak, vulnerable - old.
When her troubled god-daughter Julia arrives at Wallaby Bay, she seems to offer Eve a reprieve from her own concerns. But there is no such thing as plain sailing. Eve has another house guest, the abrasive Lucy, who is helping her recuperate and does not look kindly on Julia's desire for Eve's attention.
But Lucy, too, has demons to battle and as each woman struggles to overcome their loss of place in the world, they start to realise that there may be more that holds them together, than keeps them apart.
But will these birds of feather truly be able to reinvent what family means? Or will the secrets and hurts of the past shatter their precarious hold on their new lives ... and each other?
‘Sometimes you just get sick of fighting to keep your head above water.’
Birds of a Feather is the latest offering from Aussie favourite Tricia Stringer. Her books always strike a chord with her faithful following. On this occasion, Tricia gives us a multi generational family drama but with the emphasis on what exactly is family? A fantastic theme to ponder in these new and uncertain times.
Tricia brings together three very different women under the same roof - none of them are technically family - yet they embrace to be a ‘family’ for each other in their time of need. There is the retired Eve who required help after shoulder surgery. Middle aged Julia (Eve’s goddaughter) who has come to stay between jobs. The younger Lucy who is employed by Eve to assist with her recuperation.
‘I wasn’t perfect and neither was life … we have to make adjustments and understand that we all have foibles and make mistakes. It’s how we deal with the lumps and bumps of life that make us.’
Each of the women are at a stage of their life where they have questions and concerns. Currently living under the same roof, they come together through cups of tea or glasses of wine to provide the support that a family traditionally would. As they talk about their past or present dilemmas an unlikely friendship forms.
‘Well,” she said. “You really are b …” She harrumphed again. “You really are birds of a feather.” Then she turned on her heel and left the hall. Norma scurried after her. Lucy shook her head. “Was that meant as an insult?’
Once more Tricia proves her mastery at highlighting current issues many face. Whether it be purposeful living in retirement, expectations of marriage or challenges faced by FIFO families as a few examples, she sensitively addresses these very real life situations for people. Written in 2020 Tricia addresses the elephant in the room - the Covid pandemic. She explains that in her small way she wished to pay tribute to the front line workers and, although not a priority in the story, Tricia does acknowledge its existence and impact.
‘We have to learn how to stop being controlled by it. Things happen in life, good and bad; you chalk them up to experience and move on. It took me a long time to work through that.’
This book is cleverly crafted to provide three inter generational viewpoints on a range of contemporary issues. It provides much to consider and contemplate. I only wish I could sit around with Eve, Julia and Lucy to have a cuppa whilst sharing our fears and failures, our hopes and dreams.
‘It’s made me rethink many things. To begin with I was looking backwards, wishing life was how it had been before, but now I think I need to focus on a future where I may need to do some things differently.’
This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.