Books: Chick lit

By Fiona Cole

The Year of the Unexpected

by Erica Bauermeister

HarperCollins, $36.99

From the best-selling author of The School of Essential Ingredients comes a tale of seven women who have forged a bond of friendship around nothing more than the need for each other's support when life throws you something unexpected.

At a dinner party celebrating Kate's recovery from cancer, she announces she will face death again but on her own terms: on a white-water kayaking trip through the Grand Canyon with her daughter. This inspires an unusual pact: for each friend to do something that they've always avoided doing out of fear. As guest of honour, Kate gets to choose the tasks. Although simple at face value, Kate's selections show an uncanny insight into her friends' innermost demons.

The Kindness of Your Nature

by Linda Olsson

Penguin, $40

Swedish doctor Marion Flint has created for herself a safe world. Her home on the isolated west coast beach of Kawhia is as far removed from people and her past life as she can get. One day she finds a small boy face down in the sand.

Ika, the silent child with the webbed hands, becomes a focal point in Marion's empty existence. As Marion discovers the dark secrets that overshadow Ika's life, she must also revisit her own lonely childhood and piece together memories of a shattered life. This is a beautifully woven tale of sadness and the inexplicable cruelty of fate, but also of the ability to rediscover kindness.

There But For The

by Ali Smith

Penguin, $32

A dinner party in Greenwich takes an unexpected turn when one of the guests locks himself in the spare bedroom and remains there - for several months. Ali Smith takes the reader on a fragmented journey of events that lead up to and are triggered by this seemingly insane act. With her funny yet thought-provoking use of words, Smith takes a satirical punt at what we think is ordinary and what is extraordinary in a modern world that often doesn't make any sense at all.

The Ugly Sister

by Jane Fallon

Penguin, $37

Fallon brings her signature wry humour to the story of two estranged sisters. Caroline is catapulted into the glamorous world of modelling at the age of 16, leaving her rather ordinary 12-year-old sister, Abigail, far behind.

Years later, Abi is invited to spend the summer in London where Caroline, now Cleo, lives with her advertising executive husband and two spoilt daughters. Abi is surprised and more than a little sceptical that Cleo would suddenly want to spend time with her. Is this the chance to revive the once close relationship they had as children or is it just another carefully considered lie from Cleo to wangle free childcare?

Abi is determined to flush out the real Caroline who she believes lurks somewhere behind the false lashes and fake smiles. Abi soon finds herself as unpaid caregiver and willing champion for her frighteningly sophisticated young nieces. Loyalties are tested, realities faced and a foolish liaison threatens to leave more than one relationship in tatters.

- Hamilton News

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