Here’s another two-bite novel I picked up a while back, A Family Affair by Mary Campisi. [goodreads review]
Christine’s father is her hero, and with a mother constantly on pain pills and trying to control every aspect of her life, her Dad’s approval is a strong motivator. When her father is killed in a car accident, she’s left to finalize his last wishes while her mother grieves, but what she finds is more that she expected. Her father’s lies go back over a dozen years and Christine finds herself unable to let them go. Determined to find the truth about a man she loved, she follows every lie until she finds the whole truth.
There were a lot of characters in this story; Uncle Harry, the boyfriend Connor, Lily, Nate, Christine, and more. All of these characters were drastically different from one another, so much in fact that it felt forced, I’m not sure if any of these people could be in one room together without wanting to kill each other. With all of these personalities the author then added in different point of view passages which added to the yo-yo feeling of going from one wholesome character’s POV and then to Uncle Harry’s alcoholic sexual predator inner monologue, etc.
Christine’s love interest in the beginning of the novel was Connor and it was obvious that the author wanted to convey a lackluster relationship, Connor was a sleaze and a throw away. The man Christine eventually ends up choosing was not much better. There was no spark between the characters at all and it felt like the romance was just another check box. What made up for that was Lily. Lily’s character and her relationship with Christine was the reason I continued to read the novel. *spoiler* Lily has down syndrome and it was clear that the author is either an epic researcher or has first hand knowledge and experience with this condition. Lily’s interactions, innocence, and personality was full of light and brought tears of both sadness and joy to my eyes on multiple occasions. Lily made this book and I would read it again just to read her sections.
With everything and the kitchen sink in the plot; death, sex, special needs, romance, lies, politics, big city, small town, etc, it would have been nearly impossible for the book to be amazing at all of it. What it excelled in was the plot, the twists and turns were fairly satisfying. With so many plot devices there were some loose ends as expected, but they weren’t plot lines being forgotten, more along the lines of not enough book to explain reactions to everything and how Christine reacts to unearthed family lies.