In late 1983, a letter arrives from Italy, containing secrets so unthinkable that it is hidden away, apparently forever. More than three decades later, it is found . . . by the last person who was ever supposed to see it.When Allie opens an envelope in her grandmother’s house, it changes everything she knows about her family - and herself.
With the truth liable to hurt those she loves most, she hires a private detective to find out what happened to her late mother in the summer before Allie was born. Taking leave from her job as a research scientist, she is led to the sun-drenched shores of Lake Garda, accompanied by her best friend Ed.
But the secrets that emerge go far beyond anything they were expecting. Now, Allie must find the courage to confront her family’s tangled past and reshape her own future.
I'd like to thank Megan at ED PR for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour and for my copy of Messy, Wonderful Us to review.
Wow what I can say about Messy, Wonderful Us that hasn't been said already, it's a story that will take you on an emotional journey with Allie Culpepper as she looks for answers about hers and her mother's past little knowing where it will take her. But at its heart is a story about self-discovery, a chance for Allie to take stock and think about what it is she wants from life.
As the blurb says Allie discovers a hidden letter which suddenly makes her question everything she thought she knew about herself and her family. She starts to question who she really is and knows that she won't settle until she gets the answers she so desperately wants, although the one person who could answer them is no longer around. So with her best friend Ed by her side she heads to Italy on a trip little knowing how this will change their lives for ever.
Interwoven with Allie and Ed's story is a third voice from the past and it's not until the midway point that it becomes clear who it is narrating this aspect of the storyline and the pieces of the deeply-hidden secret are revealed. With each chapter from Allie, Ed and the mystery narrator's point of view we get to know them a little better as we see an insight into who they are as people, what's happened in the past to bring them to this point and what is currently going on in their lives.
As much as I was invested in getting to know more about Allie and the mystery narrator's past, it was Ed's story in particular that I found eye-opening, and one that made for uncomfortable reading at times, as it just goes to show you never really know what is going on in other peoples lives behind closed doors.
Set against the backdrop of Northern Italy, the descriptive writing of all the places Allie and Ed visited were so vivid that it almost felt that I was there with them as they explored the narrow streets and took in the sights around them. Catherine Isaac has clearly done her research, not only about the locations within this story but also regarding Allie's job as a research scientist working towards a cure for Cystic Fibrosis.
Messy, Wonderful is a poignant tale that explores some taboo and sensitive topics within its pages but ultimately at its core it's a story about family, friendship and love. If this sounds like your type of read then you're in luck as I'm currently running a giveaway for a paperback copy of Messy, Wonderful Us which you can enter here.