This is the dilemma facing the four grown Delaney siblings.
The Delaneys are fixtures in their community. The parents, Stan and Joy, are the envy of all of their friends. They’re killers on the tennis court, and off it their chemistry is palpable. But after fifty years of marriage, they’ve finally sold their famed tennis academy and are ready to start what should be the golden years of their lives. So why are Stan and Joy so miserable?
The four Delaney children—Amy, Logan, Troy, and Brooke—were tennis stars in their own right, yet as their father will tell you, none of them had what it took to go all the way. But that’s okay, now that they’re all successful grown-ups and there is the wonderful possibility of grandchildren on the horizon.
One night a stranger named Savannah knocks on Stan and Joy’s door, bleeding after a fight with her boyfriend. The Delaneys are more than happy to give her the small kindness she sorely needs. If only that was all she wanted.
Later, when Joy goes missing, and Savannah is nowhere to be found, the police question the one person who remains: Stan. But for someone who claims to be innocent, he, like many spouses, seems to have a lot to hide. Two of the Delaney children think their father is innocent, two are not so sure—but as the two sides square off against each other in perhaps their biggest match ever, all of the Delaneys will start to reexamine their shared family history in a very new light.
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My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Apples Never Fall by Lianne Moriarty is a 2021 Henry Holt and Co. Publication.
This one had my name on it!
The Delaney family was destined to be a tennis dynasty of sorts. Joy and Stan ran a tennis school, but while all their children played tennis, none of them made it into the pros...
The children are all grown now, with various occupations, and riddled with various life challenges, but everything comes to a crashing halt when Joy goes missing.
Switching back and forth in time, we learn that once Joy is left with an empty nest, a chance encounter with a troubled young woman named Savannah, morphs into a full-fledged bond for Joy, bordering on a mother/daughter type relationship between the women.
We also learn of Stan’s massive career disappointments, mainly being dropped as the coach for a student who went on to massive success in the tennis world.
Each of the Delaney children are given a voice, and each is as different as night and day, except that each harbors resentments, disappointments, and suffer from relationship woes. Each responds differently to their mother’s sudden disappearance.
We also get an up close and personal glimpse inside Joy and Stan’s marriage. To anyone who knows them, the couple is the epitome of a perfect marriage- on and off the tennis court. Of course, everything is not always as it seems…
I really liked this book and for anyone who knows me, that will come as no surprise. I’m always up for a good family saga and it’s even better if there’s a mystery involved in there somewhere, too.
The story, for those who are looking primarily for a thriller, goes much deeper than what is on the surface. Joy’s disappearance is a catalyst for the Delaney’s, as memories surface cataloguing the many familial resentments, misunderstanding, and secrets - past and present - that bubble up to the surface.
The mystery, the ‘gotcha’ moment, which sort of made me laugh, since I already had my suspicions, might be too much for some- and I get that- but the mystery, in my opinion, was mainly a means to an end.
At the heart of the story is the character study of a family, and life.
Moriarty nails family and human dynamics- even if our lives are nothing like the Delaney’s, there’s recognition in there, all the same.
While the criminal element is quirky, and perhaps the weakest link in the story, overall, I think the author is going for something deeper here.
I thought the story was brilliant- smart, clever, thought provoking and entertaining.
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Liane Moriarty is the Australian author of eight internationally best-selling novels: Three Wishes, The Last Anniversary, What Alice Forgot, The Hypnotist’s Love Story, Nine Perfect Strangers and the number one New York Times bestsellers: The Husband's Secret, Big Little Lies and Truly Madly Guilty. Her books have been translated into over forty languages and sold more than 20 million copies.
Big Little Lies and Truly Madly Guilty both debuted at number one on the New York Times bestseller list - the first time this was ever achieved by an Australian author. Big Little Lies was adapted into a multiple award-winning HBO series with a star-studded cast including Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon. Hulu is adapting Nine Perfect Strangers into a limited series starring Nicole Kidman and Melissa McCarthy for release in 2021.
Her new novel, Apples Never Fall, will be released in September 2021.
Liane lives in Sydney, Australia, together with her husband, son and daughter. You can find out more at www.lianemoriarty.com and www.facebook.com/LianeMoriartyAuthor
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