Family Pictures or The Accidental Husband to give the book it’s UK title is yet another joy from American author Jane Green. I’ve been reading Green’s books for many years now, since Jemima J and Bookends right through to her current releases like The Patchwork Marriage and The Love Verb.
As a regular reader I’ve noticed a change in her style over the years as she moves from her novels being based on young singleton’s finding love to very much suburban housewives struggling with family and relationship dilemmas. Her settings have become distinctly middle class and her heroines often the well bred matriarch of wayward teens.
This is not to say it’s a bad thing. Just an observation that some of the edginess has gone and instead has been replaced by heartwarming stories that reassure me the author is, like me, moving into a different phase of her life.
In this novel we meet Sylvie and her daughter Eve, who are preparing for Eve to fly the nest leaving Sylvie worried about her future and Eve hiding a worrying secret. We also meet Maggie and her daughter Grace who are at a similar point in life but lack the closeness of mother and daughter due to Maggie’s endless social climbing.
There is a devastating link that both women share but are unaware of and when their daughters meet for the first time the secret is about to be blown wide open and will change all their lives forever.
A strong and moving story it is pacy and keeps you gripped. Short chapters moving between the 4 female lead characters it is amazing how quickly the chapters fly by. Green has become the master at writing strong Middle Aged female heroines but she also retains a wonderful ability to still relay the voice of the teenager beautifully. Her chapters from the perspectives of Eve and Grace reading equally as well as those of Maggie and Sylvie.
It’s a funny thing about Green that reading one of her books is like slipping on a comfortable pair of old slippers or meeting an old friend you haven’t seen for years. There’s an innate sense of comfort in her work and this book is a wonderful example of that. Very highly recommended.