Apples Never Fall
The Delaney family love one another dearly – it’s just that sometimes they want to murder each other . . .
Joy Delaney and husband Stan have done well. Four wonderful grown-up children. A family business to envy. The golden years of retirement ahead of them.
So when Joy Delaney vanishes – no note, no calls, her bike missing – it’s natural that tongues will wag.
How did Stan scratch his face? Why no answers from the police? And who was the stranger who entered and suddenly left their lives? What are they all hiding?
But for the Delaney children there is a much more terrifying question: did they ever know their parents at all?
Because the closer the family, the bigger the lie . . .
I was so excited to read this brand new publication from one of my favourite authors, and Apples Never Fall had me completely hooked.
The story surrounds Joy and Stan Delaney, retired tennis coaches, and their four grown up children. Tennis has always been a huge part of their lives and the family share varying degrees of talent in the sport. When Stan and Joy decide to retire from their coaching business they look forward to a calmer way of life, family time and the exciting prospect of grandchildren.
However drama seems to follow them when a stranger appears on the doorstep, distraught, injured and in need of a safe haven. Joy’s maternal instincts kick in but the family are suspicious of the young girl and try to find out if her story is genuine.
The plot deepens when Joy suddenly vanishes, leaving only a garbled text message.She is the glue that keeps the family together and it is totally out of character . The police are mystified by her disappearance, but the clues are there and suspicions are running high.
This is a family drama / crime mystery with a difference. The complex, well drawn characters have a multitude of issues, rivalry, health problems and relationship woes which make them fascinating and completely believable. However, despite everything the family care deeply and will do anything to protect each other. The adult children are all affected by their childhoods where they were constantly encouraged to make their parents dreams come true and become the next tennis superstars. Due to lack of talent, motivation or determination, the siblings turned to alternative walks of life and Stan finds a pupil with a glittering future.
I loved how Liane Moriarty describes an authentic long standing marriage with all the highs and lows, changing emotions and insecurities which are inevitable in real life. The mystery element of the story expertly ties together despite red herrings, secrets and unreliable narrators along the way. Any novel set in the present day needs a nod to the pandemic and the author integrates this, but it is not a major part of the story. As expected the writing flows beautifully between past and present and as a tennis fan I found the content well researched. The extremely well drawn characters light up this emotive and thought provoking story.
Thank you to the publisher via NetGalley for an advance copy which I have reviewed honestly.