I’d like to start with a warning for this book. This left me with a bad book hangover! I read it in less than two days and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. It all starts with two teenage sisters, Rose and Connie Doughty who find an abandoned baby near their home on the small island of Scribbly Gum.
It’s one of Australia’s most popular mysteries; the strange disappearance of Alice and Jack Munro who seemingly vanished in thin air leaving their newborn baby daughter behind. Seventy years later, the “Munro Baby Mystery” is still bringing fame and fortune to the island, where the Doughty sisters, baby Enigma (now an elderly lady) and their relatives still live.
When Connie passes and leaves her beautiful house to someone outside of the family, Roses ponders how long she can keep the island’s secrets alive, especially with everyone else having their own theories on the mystery. With changes to the family dynamic with Connie’s death, the secrets that hold their family together begin to unravel with many more unknown untold truths uncovered as well.
You get intimate glimpses of each of the family members’ lives and they all have their own day-to-day deceptions, as well their family secret that not all are privy to. All the characters are so well painted and with the island being so small, you feel like you know all of them personally. The older ladies were brilliant; there is something about getting old that you reach a point where you just don’t care what people think of you any more.
I loved the idea of the Baby Mystery, with the island being open to tours and their annual celebration, and the almost celebrity family spreading their roots on the site of their fame. With each chapter there seems to be more questions raised and more mysteries to uncover and so it pushes you through and makes you eager for more.
This was something of a holiday read for me, especially with the stunning island setting that I grew quite attached to. So when I came to the end, it was like having to pack up my imagination and go home. Holiday book blues without even leaving the house! When a book stays with you like that, you know it must be good!
Great characters, brilliant storyline and incredible mysteries; The Last Anniversary is a fabulous read about family and the secrets that bind them together.