Book Review: The Godmothers by Monica McInerney

The Godmothers…

About the Book:

Eliza Miller grew up in Australia as the only daughter of a troubled young mother, but with the constant support of two watchful godmothers, Olivia and Maxie. Despite her tricky childhood, she always felt loved and secure. Until, just before her eighteenth birthday, a tragic event changed her life.

Thirteen years on, Eliza is deliberately living as safely as possible, avoiding close relationships and devoting herself to her job. Out of the blue, an enticing invitation from one of her godmothers prompts a leap into the unknown.

Within a fortnight, Eliza finds herself in the middle of a complicated family in Edinburgh. There’s no such thing as an ordinary day any more. Yet, amidst the chaos, Eliza begins to blossom. She finds herself not only hopeful about the future, but ready to explore her past, including the biggest mystery of all – who is her father?

Set in Australia, Scotland, Ireland and England, THE GODMOTHERS is a great big hug of a book that will fill your heart to bursting. It is a moving and perceptive story about love, lies, hope and sorrow, about the families we are born into and the families we make for ourselves.

My Thoughts:

I’ve been reading Monica McInerney’s novels for a long time now and each new release delivers what I can only describe as a literary hug – comfort reading with all the feels.

In The Godmothers we meet Eliza, daughter of Jeannie, a woman who was clearly not well, but also just as clearly not willing to do anything about it. While Eliza grows up feeling loved by her mother and adored by her two godmothers, the erratic behaviour of her mother, culminating in a tragedy during Eliza’s seventeenth year, leaves its mark on her long into adulthood. There are more questions in Eliza’s history than answers, and when her life gets turned upside-down inside a fortnight, she decides it might be time to get those questions answered.

Set in Australia, Scotland, Ireland and England, this novel is just filled to the brim with delightful characters and atmospheric settings. It’s just gorgeous. New friendships are formed – Sullivan! I just adored this boy and the way he latched on to Eliza; and Celine, as atrocious as her behaviour was, the way Eliza managed her was brilliant. All of the characters were so authentic and original, I enjoyed meeting and spending time with all of them. And as always after reading a novel by Monica set in the UK and Ireland, I really want to just get on a plane and go exploring there myself. One day…

The most precious relationship within the story was that of Eliza with her two godmothers, Olivia and Maxxie. The love these two women had for Eliza was just beautiful and their protectiveness of her instinctive. Monica skilfully explores the lines around telling someone the truth about their past: the whole truth and nothing but the truth. At what point does knowing the full story offer more harm than healing? Guilt and what ifs are also examined and the way in which they can plague a person indefinitely.

All in all, The Godmothers delivers all that it promises. Warm, funny, honest, deeply sad at times, but ultimately hopeful. Classic Monica McInerney, and I mean that as the highest of praise.


Thanks is extended to Penguin Random House Australia for providing me with a copy of The Godmothers for review.

About the Author:

One of the stars of Australian fiction, Monica McInerney is the author of the internationally bestselling novels A Taste for It, Upside Down Inside Out, Spin the Bottle, The Alphabet Sisters, Family Baggage, Those Faraday Girls, At Home with the Templetons, Lola’s Secret, The House of Memories, Hello from the Gillespies, The Trip of a Lifetime and The Godmothers, and a short story collection, All Together Now. Those Faraday Girls was the winner of the General Fiction Book of the Year prize at the 2008 Australian Book Industry Awards. In 2006 Monica was the ambassador for the Australian Government initiative Books Alive, with her novella Odd One Out. Monica grew up in a family of seven children in the Clare Valley of South Australia and has been living between Australia and Ireland for twenty years. She and her Irish husband currently live in Dublin.

The Godmothers
Published by Penguin – Michael Joseph
Released 29th September 2020

14 thoughts on “Book Review: The Godmothers by Monica McInerney

  1. I think we could all do with a bookish hug at the moment. I’ve never come across this author, but if she has connections with Ireland, and part of this story is set in Scotland, hopefully I can get hold of it. I’ll have a look.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: General Fiction Round Up : October 2020 | Australian Women Writers Challenge Blog

  3. I’ve enjoyed Monica McInerneys for many years, and I enjoyed this offering too. But… I’m starting to find the formula is growing a bit stale. There’s a wronged woman in Australia, there’s an Irish connection, there are misunderstandings, everything is hunky dory by the end of the story. I’d like something a bit unexpected. Not sure I’ll be in a rush to consume the next offering.

    Liked by 1 person

      • It’s tricky, isn’t it. I enjoy rom coms, and they are nothing if not formulaic. But somehow there is pleasure in seeing how the author is able to stay within accepted bounds, and yet produce something that is different. So the unexpected is expected! Perhaps the problem is that I am starting to weary of stories about deep dark mysterious backgrounds. In these perilous times, I hanker for a bit more normality.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s