Parenting 101 for a reluctant aunt who needs to raise her brother’s kids.
I love my Australian mates, and a lesbian novel from Oz gets my attention anytime. Add to this the prospect of cute kids and a romance set in the medical world, and I ripped into this story. Liked it, loved it, reviewed it.
Anna is focused on her career as a successful anesthesiologist. She lives in sunny Brisbane with her career-oriented girlfriend half a continent away from her family. And then life happens: Her beloved brother and her best friend and sister-in-law are gone in a second, hit by a car. And to her surprise, she finds out that her brother and his wife trusted her to raise their two small kids. Kids? She adores her nephew and niece, but oh my gosh, raising kids as in 24/7 responsible? That was never part of her life’s plan, a life centered completely around her career. What to do? Leave them to be raised by her problematic parents or the religious, bigoted family of her sister-in-law? Not an option. And despite her doubts and misgivings, she jumps in and changes her life, her job, and her city to care for the kids.
A large part of the book is about grief and dealing with grief while tackling daily life. Anna is in grief, a colleague who becomes a fast friend is grieving the death of her husband, the kids have to deal with their own loss. Despite all this, at the bottom line, this book is a feel-good-read which left me happy and content and ready for more of G Benson.
Benson does a good job writing about a heavy topic. She knows how to show what her characters are feeling, and there are some poignant scenes. I liked that she runs the whole gamut effortlessly from heart-wrenching to humorous and takes us on a roller coaster ride with the new “mom” who needs to learn parenting real fast. The kids worm their way not only into the heart of Anna, but of us readers as well. And when Anna and the kids are threatened and ugliness rears its head, you want to strangle everyone standing in the way of their happiness. Into this main story of grief the author interweaves a budding romance and the building of a new family. And for those who are looking for main characters of color, here you go. The outcome is predictable – and why not? This book is about getting to know and getting to love the characters, their lives and their relationships. And characterization is definitely Benson’s forte. It doesn’t hurt that the characters work at a hospital, giving this story a medical flavor and I love stories set in the medical world.
This is an excellent debut story from Australian author G Benson. It is well-rounded and engaging. If I had a wish for her next story, it would be to flavor the setting with more distinctly Australian traits, be it language, food or quirks. Nevertheless, get comfy and kick back some rainy afternoon on your favorite couch to immerse yourself in the strange, new world of parenting Anna finds herself in. You won’t regret it.