Family is forever, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
This Has Been Absolutely Lovely is the charming, hilarious and all-too-relatable new novel from the author of How to be Second Best.
Molly’s a millennial home organiser about to have her first baby. Obviously her mum, Annie, will help with the childcare. Everyone else’s parents are doing it.
But Annie’s dreams of music stardom have been on hold for thirty-five years, paused by childbirth then buried under her responsibilities as a mother, wage earner, wife, and only child of ailing parents. Finally, she can taste freedom.
As Molly and her siblings gather in the close quarters of the family home over one fraught summer, shocking revelations come to light. Everyone is forced to confront the question of what it means to be a family.
What can I say about This Has Been Absolutely Lovely? I loved it! Read it, read this book now. We’re one week into January, and this will set the standard for what you read for the rest of the year. Fun, funny (extremely funny in parts… I mean spit your chardonnay while you’re reading funny), with beautifully drawn characters and a compelling, contemporary tale. Don’t be fooled by the wit though, there’s also a lot of wisdom in this novel. Jess covers a lot of ground with her highly dysfunctional family, including love, loss, birth, death, and mental health, and parts of the book are heart-wrenching.
Without giving any of the plot away, secrets are revealed, making an already complex family even more so. And I love some of author Jessica Dettmann’s creative choices and the direction she chooses to take characters – fresh and interesting.
This Has Been Absolutely Lovely is a story about growing up and giving in, of parents and children, of hope and failure, of bravery and defied expectation, and whether it is ever too late to try again.
It’s Dettmann’s second novel and there’s not even a smidgeon of second novel struggle here – the polished writing soars, and she sets herself up to be an author I’ll be putting straight to the top of the TBR pile. Her debut was the bestseller How To Be Second Best and had everyone drawing comparisons to Marian Keyes. With This Has Been Absolutely Lovely she’s well and truly arrived, and now great debut authors will be compared to her.
This Has Been Absolutely Lovely is… well, absolutely lovely!