hello from the gillespies

Let’s meet the Gillespies………

Angela Gillespie is fifty-five and has recently started suffering from frequent severe headaches, menopause or something more? She’s been married to Nick for thirty-three years. They’ve always been best friends, the rock for the other when necessary and together there’s nothing they can’t face and overcome.  Therein lies the problem.  Nick has shut Angela out. He spends his days, when not seeing to the station maintenance, closeted in the office researching his Irish roots and talking to Carol, the Irish genealogical researcher.

Angela herself has taken to escaping into a fantasy world.

The situation with Nick, concern for her children and their varied issues combined with her health fears are about to overwhelm her.  It’s this mood and advice from her dearest friend Joan that prompts her to write a completely honest Christmas letter this year. No bright side spin just the plain unvarnished truth. Maybe putting it in writing will help her to gain some perspective.

When Nick unintentionally sends the letter never meant to be seen by anyone other than Angela it’s the catalyst for changes, desired or not.

Nick feels he’s let Angela, his children, and those who came before him down. He’s run up massive debts and had no choice but to accept an offer that’s bound to set his neighbors against him. Worse yet, he can’t bring himself to talk to Angela. He simply can’t bear to face her disappointment. Despite his deep abiding love for Angela, his inability to speak puts him further from her with every passing day.

Genevieve is the oldest twin. Hairdresser to the stars in New York, Genevieve is a bit on the snarky side. Without a shy bone in her body she grabs life by the throat and wrings as much as she can from it. Unfortunately, Genevieve’s filter issues and lack of discretion are about to bite her…

Victoria’s the quieter twin. Nick believed Victoria would take over the station but her life took a different path when she and Fred Lawson broke up. Victoria was a successful radio producer in Sydney until her radio personality locked himself in the booth and went on a drug and alcohol fueled rant. Victoria finds herself the scapegoat for his meltdown.

Rosalind aka Lindy is the daughter born after the twins.  Lindy’s always felt left out because of the close relationship between the twins.  I found Lindy to be a whiner.  She’s my least favorite character.

Ignatius aka Ig is Angela and Nick’s surprise late life baby boy. Ig is a delight from beginning to end and one of my favorite characters.

Celia is Nick’s aunt and, much to their dismay, spends a lot of time with the family. She was married to his uncle and helped run their successful small parts business. Celia’s one of those difficult people. It’s hard to like her but for many reasons she’s earned and deserves respect. She’s never really approved of Angela and their relationship is an uneasy one. Angela’s remarks in her Christmas letter don’t improve on it much.

Joan is Angela’s oldest and dearest friend. Joan and her husband own a neighboring station. She’s been there for Angela, in fact the whole family, and always will be. Friends like Joan are a true blessing.

Would it really be so awful to tell the truth? Perhaps not bluntly but making honesty palatable and a priority can’t be a bad thing can it?  Personally, the truth is preferable over any of the alternatives.  In HELLO FROM THE GILLESPIES Angela and the rest of her family are about to discover how powerful the truth is.

In the tradition of Maeve Binchy, Ms. McInerney introduces readers to the Gillespies and immerses them in their lives.  Though ordinary hard working people the Gillespies live on an exotic (for me) Australian sheep station with seasons the complete opposite of ours.  Everything about that vast landscape and sky is fascinating. The Gillespies location may be alien but their problems, with a few exceptions, are similar to everyone else’s making them easy to relate to.  The Gillespie’s travails allow escapism while also giving readers potential insight into their own particular situations and dilemmas.  Escapism and a broadening perspective, it’s a win on both levels.

This is my first book by Ms. McInerney but not the last. I’ll definitely be scoping out her back list.

3.5 stars

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