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  • An Uplifting & Hilarious Début

    Suzanne Nugent writes a wonderful, tender and fantastic début about hope and the complexity of friendships and relationships. Nora, Christina and Leanne have only one thing in common: their friend Molly. They each share an independent friendship with her, happy in their belief that individually, they are Molly’s best friend as they ignore the reality of the others' roles, despite sharing a joint history going back to their early childhood. Now in their early 30’s, Molly has died, leaving the three women bereft and alone with their grief. Mischief-maker Molly makes it her last wish that the ladies do brunch together once a month for one year. The former childhood friends all approach the Sunday brunches with equal amounts of dread, although we never come to understand why these three ladies all despise each other. Molly's plans for her three friends also involve strange gifts that the women puzzle the meaning of. As the three women agree to make it work even though their hearts aren’t really into the task, what follows is the slow unravelling of past and current events that draw each of the women into different journeys of self-discovery. Full marks must go to Suzanne Nugent for making this novel an immensely fun, and times downright hysterical read when it could have been a rather sombre affair. This story is beautifully paced, with humour in almost every scene, though there is also a good deal of tenderness in the mix. Never the main character, the author has cleverly made Molly indispensable in many scenes. The three women are ably created, keen, honest and flawed and I found that I could relate to them all on some level which was definitely the icing on the cake. Powerful, incredibly amusing, poignant, sharp and uplifting, Brunch and Other Obligations is a real jewel and is well worth reading. I for one, will be watching out for Suzanne Nugent's next offering. I received a complimentary copy of this novel at my request from She Writes Press via NetGalley and this review is my unbiased opinion.

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