Harriet Turner knows all about journeys. After all, she’s arranged hundreds of them for the travel agency her family runs in the Australian coastal town of Merryn Bay. But when her work colleague and foster sister Lara disappears on the eve of a big overseas trip, Harriet finds herself in uncharted territory.
Left alone in England with a coachload of eccentric tourists on a themed tour of locations from the Willoughby TV detective series, Harriet has her hands full. But as the bus trundles through the picturesque Cornwall countryside, the tour becomes another kind of journey for her. She finds herself facing big questions about her family and her childhood; about her feelings for the guest of honour on the tour, star of Willoughby, Patrick Shawcross – and the biggest puzzle of all: what has happened to Lara?
An endearing and humane story about a family and its sticky web of secrets and misunderstandings. Sibling rivalry, the legacy of a lie told for the best possible reasons and the trauma of grief give this comedy-drama plenty of meat… A charming and intriguing jigsaw that eventually comes together in a moving and deeply satisfying way. This is one of those rare books you could recommend to anyone and know that they’ll love it.
Australian Women’s Weekly, ‘Great Read’, June 2005
A big book about a big-hearted family… an affectionate, funny, teary book about grief, love, lies and revelations.
Sunday Age, Australia, June 2005
A book to treasure that is clever, amusing and heart-warmingly touching.
Woman’s Day magazine, Australia, June 2005
With every book, Monica McInerney becomes more skilled at juggling plot complexities and giving depth to her characters… Perfect winter weekend reading.
Marie Claire magazine, Australia, June 2005
McInerney’s familiar themes … resonate with greater confidence and sureness. McInerney, who is based in Dublin, brings Maeve Binchy readily to mind. She has the same palpable affection for her characters and the plot structure is both reassuring and comfortable. Her books are for handbags and airports, traffic jams, railway stations and bus stops. They make us forget the irritating details of the day…Warmly written, kindly and empathetic.
Sydney Morning Herald, July 2005
A warm and intricate novel about the inner workings of everyday families.
Madison magazine, Australia, June 2005
A warm-hearted journey of discovery.
The Adelaide Advertiser, Australia, June 2005
The exploration of family ties that McInerney has made her trademark.
Daily Telegraph, Sydney, June 2005
A book which was hard to put down until the last page was turned… fun, serious, sad and best of all, a jolly good read. The characters are engaging and believable and the Turner family draws the reader into their lives to experience feelings of family solidarity, sibling rivalry, jealousy and intrigue, bound together with humour and warmth.
Northern Argus, South Australia, June 2005
A fun read full of humour and romance.
Fresh magazine, Australia, June 2005
A family saga in its truest sense…This is a novel with a lot between the covers and, luckily, McInerney keeps it all under control. She deftly mixes the light with the heavy and the concerns of the characters are real and relevant enough to keep us reading. The account of Harriet’s attempts to grapple with grief is particularly touching.
Ireland on Sunday, June 2005
McInerney has managed to create a story that is not your typical run of the mill novel. The storyline jumps from Australia to Ireland with ease, while the elderly tourists provide humour. Harriet’s battle with her internal demons is well depicted and the underlying mystery of where her foster sister has gone keeps the reader hooked. Well worth a read.
Bibliofemme, on-line book club, Ireland
Family Baggage is a compelling read which examines the realities of life, death and family loyalty… The book struck a chord moving me to tears more than once, and it is sure to tug at the heartstrings of any reader. Monica McInerney has a talent for suspense, holding out on details just long enough to keep you hooked and itching to turn the pages to find out what happens in the end.
nzgirl on-line magazine, New Zealand, July 2005