Book Review Apples Never Fall

by Liane Moriarty


From the outside, the Delaneys appear to be an enviably contented family. Even after all these years, former tennis coaches Joy and Stan are still winning tournaments, and now that they’ve sold the family business they have all the time in the world to learn how to ‘relax’. Their four adult children are busy living their own lives, and while it could be argued they never quite achieved their destinies, no-one ever says that out loud.

But now Joy Delaney has disappeared and her children are re-examining their parents’ marriage and their family history with fresh, frightened eyes. Is her disappearance related to their mysterious house guest from last year? Or were things never as rosy as they seemed in the Delaney household?


A long and rather tedious family saga/ psychological thriller. The Delaney family appear to be a normal happy family however when the mother, Joy, suddenly disappears the whole family is scrutinised and their underlying characters are revealed and found wanting. Has Joy been murdered and if so is her husband Stan the killer? To complicate matters a young woman named Savannah arrives on the Delaney’s doorstep in the middle of the night in a distressed state. She has apparently been injured by her partner and has nowhere to go. Joy allows her to stay with them despite opposition from her four adult children and lukewarm suport from her husband.

The background of the Delaney’s obsession with tennis is a crucial factor in the relationship between Stan and Joy and the lives of their four children. They met at a tennis club and went on to own a coaching school. All the children played from an early age and were expected to be champions. Such pressure to succeed has blighted the lives of all four of them in various ways.

One suspects throughout that Savannah is in some way responsible for Joy’s disappearance but we are kept waiting, not in nail biting suspense, but wishing that the end is in sight. When it comes however, like all good fairy tales, the family all live happily ever after and the wicked witch Savannah has the satisfaction of slaying the dragon who ruined her life.

The underlying theme of the damage caused by ambitious parents imposing their dreams of fame and  success on their offspring is a positive in this otherwise rather ordinary novel.

Read by Dundas Readers

Book Review – Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty


A murder… A tragic accident… Or just parents behaving badly? What is indisputable is that someone is dead.

Big Little Lies will take you on a roller coaster ride with the secrets of the three women.  

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She is funny, biting, and passionate; she remembers everything and forgives no one. Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare but she is paying a price for the illusion of perfection. New to town, single mum Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for a nanny. She comes with a mysterious past and a sadness beyond her years. These three women are at different crossroads, but they will all wind up in the same shocking place.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the little lies that can turn lethal.

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Book Review: Nine Perfect Strangers

Nine Perfect Strangers

Liane Moriarty


The retreat at health and wellness resort Tranquillum House promises total transformation. Nine stressed city dwellers are keen to drop their literal and mental baggage, and absorb the meditative ambience while enjoying their hot stone massages.

Watching over them is the resort’s director, a woman on a mission to reinvigorate their tired bodies and minds. 

These nine perfect strangers have no idea what is about to hit them.

With her wit, compassion and uncanny understanding of human behaviour, Liane Moriarty explores the depth of connection that can be formed when people are thrown together in… unconventional circumstances. 


While some of our readers liked this book, the majority felt this one fell a little flat unfortunately. 

We were looking forward to this read, considering we loved ‘Big Little Lies’ and ‘The Husband’s Secret’ amongst her others, but were left a little disappointed.

We found it a very slow start and a bit repetitive with some characters hard to engage. 

For those of us who did enjoy this book,  they likened it to a good holiday, on-the-beach read.

Read By

Cultcha Club 6/10

Book Review: Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty




What if they hadn’t gone? That’s the question Clementine can’t stop asking herself. It was just a backyard barbeque. They didn’t know their hosts that well. They were friends of friends. They could so easily have said no.

But she and her husband Sam said yes, and now they can never change what they did and didn’t do that beautiful winter’s day.

Six responsible adults. Three cute kids. One yapping dog. It’s a normal weekend in the suburbs. What could possibly go wrong?

Once again Liane Moriarty uses her unique, razor-sharp observational skills to sift through the emerging fault lines of seemingly happy families.

It was just an ordinary Sunday afternoon…


This was a good holiday read for our group.  However, while this was an eagerly anticipated read for us having read a few books by this author, we felt that this was not one of her better ones.  We found it a little too hard to follow.  The writer built the suspense well, but between flipping between 3 different points of view and also between the past and present day, made it at times, too complex.  Some of our readers found it hard to sympathise with the main characters and found some sections a little over detailed.
Overall though, as a group, we still found this book an enjoyable read, and we definitely recommend it.

Rating – 7/10          
Read by – Culcha Club


Book Club Wrap Up – June 2016

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Our Book Club’s love to read! Take a look at what they read in June.


First Wednesday Book Club

Book ReadThe Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson


Pak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother—a singer “stolen” to Pyongyang—and an influential father who runs Long Tomorrows, a work camp for orphans. There the boy is given his first taste of power, picking which orphans eat first and which will be lent out for manual labor. Recognized for his loyalty and keen instincts, Jun Do comes to the attention of superiors in the state, rises in the ranks, and starts on a road from which there will be no return.


Thought the novel was about the search for identity. Various characters found their identity as the story progressed, e.g. Comrade Buc being able to speak by the end of the book. Many didn’t have their own names but an assumed identity. Pah Jun Do assumes the identity of Comrade Ya. The characters inner self initially hidden but each found their identity. Enjoyed reading the novel and wanted to know what happened to the characters.

In two minds about the book! Is it American propaganda or is the life in North Korea not as ideal as painted in the book. Needed to skim sections; e.g. loud speaker speech.

Found it exhausting to read. Difficult to engage with characters. It needs to be read in short time frame to follow the change in time and characters. “The story is more important than the person”, is the crux of the story; the person must change.

Found it very bleak as there is no way of finding out the truth. Life so very hard and bleak, with education and freedom not available to people.

Didn’t enjoy reading the novel at all!

Didn’t enjoy it! Even though I thought I was very interested in North Korea. Would prefer a factual account of North Korea rather than a satirical account, such as this novel.


Second Tuesday Evening Book Club

Book ReadLife after Life by Kate Atkinson


What if there were second chances? And third chances? In fact an infinite number of chances to live your life? Would you eventually be able to save the world from its own inevitable destiny? And would you even want to?

Life After Life follows Ursula Todd as she lives through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. With wit and compassion, Kate Atkinson finds warmth even in life’s bleakest moments, and shows an extraordinary ability to evoke the past. Here she is at her most profound and inventive, in a novel that celebrates the best and worst of ourselves.


Overall, book was good but there were parts in the middle where the story seemed to stop following the pattern.

All agreed it was very well written and found it interesting, how small events may change the lives of one or many; plus therefore history.

Great concept and well done, but could be complex in parts.

Good overview of social and moral values at the times.

Recommend ‘A God in Ruins’ if you enjoyed this book; it follows through one of the characters in this book, Teddy.

Thought the theme was being “beaten into me”!


The Last Thursday Book Group

Book ReadThe husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty


At the heart of The Husband’s Secret is a letter that is not meant to be read…

My darling Cecilia,
If you’re reading this, then I’ve died…

Imagine your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not only the life you have built together, but the lives of others as well. And then imagine that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive…

Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything—and not just for her. There are other women who barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they, too, are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret.


Really well written and loved the way all the characters intertwined and created a plot that was very exciting, maintaining interest throughout.

Qualities of each character showed different traits.

Kept reflecting and changing opinion of the characters.

Author displayed a good understanding of people.