Pre-Release Book Review: The Fancies by Kim Lock

About the Book:

A story about stories: those we tell, those we believe and those we make into a reality, whether true, murky or not true at all.

Port Kingerton: the insular cray-fishing town at the butt-end of South Australia, where everyone knows everyone. And everyone knows too that when Abigail Fancy left town at seventeen, she hung out the window of her boyfriend’s Corolla, middle fingers held high, swearing she’d never come back. And she hasn’t, until now.

At her parents’ house Abigail finds a party (read town meeting) in full swing over something iffy found on the beach – a thighbone. And although iffy things aren’t uncommon in Port Kingerton, Abigail’s surprise arrival forces a family – and an entire town – to unpack a twenty-four-year-old secret that rocked this tiny place to its core: that time they found something much iffier.

Through Abigail, her grandfather Old Dick Fancy’s unreliable memories and the collective voices of the town itself, Port Kingerton unravels as old wounds are picked open, skeletons fall from closets and unlikely bonds are forged. But will Abigail finally change the past?

Fresh, punchy, expertly crafted and deliciously wry – the author of The Other Side of Beautiful returns with a tour de force of a small-town mystery where a homecoming lifts the veil on a time when a town failed to stand up for its girls.

Published by HarperCollins Publishers Australia – HQ Fiction AU

Released 5th April 2023

My Thoughts:

Kim Lock has returned with her trademark breath of fresh air approach to fiction, this time around with a very Australian story that put me in mind of The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham. That type of dark humour that pokes some friendly fun at what it means to exist in a tiny, insular town in Australia. The Fancies are a family who appear to ‘rule the town’ in a *mostly* non-criminal mafia like way. The return of their prodigal daughter, Abigail, coinciding with a couple of gossip worthy events, ignites the town in way that is reminiscent of days gone by – days that are better left in the past.

‘Young Dick didn’t want to be a leader; he simply wanted to live his life, quiet with his family. Sure, he guarded some unfortunate truths he’d have to take to his grave, but regardless, for six years he had tried to wean the town from the Fancy reign and tonight it appeared they’d finally chosen to let go of the damn nipple. They had decided to ignore him and think for themselves. And now he wished they hadn’t.’

To me, this was a very funny novel that also dug deep into misogyny. The chapters told from the perspective of Old Dick were hilarious and a lot more insightful than I first gave them credit for. I really enjoyed the way in which Kim utilised third-person omniscient narration to provide the perspectives of the townsfolk. Again, as the novel progressed, incredibly insightful in terms of the way people accept or resist change when making comparisons with past events. Also, again, very funny. With this novel, Kim has proven that she has a sharply intelligent sense of humour and that she’s not afraid to use it.

‘Maybe aversion – to other people, to connections, to feeling things – can run in the genes, thread into one’s DNA little stitches of repulsion. Or maybe sometimes there simply isn’t an explanation.

For a good part of the story, I wasn’t entirely sure what was going on. Put your trust into Kim, it all comes together in the last quarter, and it was well worth the entertaining journey. Five stars and a highly recommended for this one.

Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

6 thoughts on “Pre-Release Book Review: The Fancies by Kim Lock

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