Messy, Wonderful Us by Catherine Isaac

It didn’t take me long to fall hook, line and sinker in love with this story. Right from the get go, Isaac’s writing lulled me into this wonderful sense of calm and had me rooting for these characters and their individual journeys of self discovery.

Allie’s mother died when she was young and whilst she’s extremely close to her dad and grandparents, she’s curious about who her mum was before she was born. A chance discovery at her grandparent’s house has shaken Allie to the core, she’d listened to her family’s tales of her mum’s life… but it seems they’ve been hiding something from her.

Not knowing who knows the truth and unable to get any information out of her grandma, Allie takes it upon herself to find the truth… in Italy. Not a bad place to be discovery family secrets, right?

Joining her on the trip is Ed – Allie’s childhood friend, who has his own reasons for jumping on the plane. At a first glance, it seems his marriage is over and it’s due to the spark leaving his relationship with Julia… but as the story unravels and Isaac dives into Ed’s deepest thoughts, memories and feelings; we discover how complex their relationship is and how “what goes on behind closed doors” really can be shocking when revealed to others.

Whilst the main focus of this story surrounds Allie’s search for the truth about her mother, I really was very taken by Ed’s POV. The way that Isaac presented Ed and Julia to the reader at the beginning, and then very slowly, and with much care, began to bring out into the open the insecurities, the flaws and the passion within these two characters really impressed me. To say Isaac peeled back the layers on her characters is an understatement!

Whilst this story was soothing for me and just “blimming lovely” in its style, it was clear throughout that this plot had been brilliantly pieced together. One of my favourite surprises was the revealment within the past POV… I won’t go any further and spoil it for you but, ahh, it’s a good’un!

The added bonus of an Italian backdrop made this story shine even brighter, and talking of shining bright, Isaac shines within this genre and stands out. No one writes like Isaac. Her ability to bring joy, love and suspense to every page has me in awe. I’m like a kid in a chocolate shop when I read her stories.

Messy, Wonderful Us is out NOW in hardback and eBook versions from Simon & Schuster with the paperback version coming out in March.

Until next time, Chloé x

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