Lola’s Secret by Monica McInerney

lolaThis just caught my eye on the new bookshelf at the library.  I hadn’t heard of this author before and even though I could tell the story was about characters introduced in another novel I figured it didn’t matter if I read them out of order.  In fact,  I’m glad I didn’t read The Alphabet Sisters-I got all I need to know about the sistsers and their feuds out of this one. I actually found the people my age coping with young children storyline way less interesting than the elderly people.

Lola is an 84 year old spunky lady who has lived in Australia for 60 years.  So it’s an Australian story, but Lola was born in Ireland, so I felt like it had a touch of that feeling too.  It was like Maeve Binchy + Liane Moriarty. I especially liked that one of the things I find fascinating about Australia was such a big part of this story-that Christmas occurs during the very hot days of Summer!

So Lola lives at a motel that her family has run for many years (Lola herself spent her adult life owning and running various guesthouses and motels, now her son and his wife, in their 60s, own the motel.)  She is very involved in her grandchildren and great-grandchildren’s lives, and she especially enjoys her time at the village thrift shop, where she runs things with some other old lady friends.  In the way of books, they all just love the internet and it’s so marvelous and no one knows how much they all love doing their own thing on it.  They have a computer, scanner, printer, webcam, and helpful young person who sets things up for them.  This made me think that public libraries in Australia have terrible computer availability for their patrons.  Anyway, the crux of the story is: all of Lola’s family are going various places for Christmas, but she is going to stay by herself at the motel. They are worried about that but she is looking forward to it. Especially because what they don’t know is that she has arranged an internet special to have a few guests stay at the hotel for Christmas.  She’s looking forward to the group of strangers coming and giving them all a fun holiday together.  The story is told mostly in Lola’s world, but it is also told from the p.o.v. of the various people who have booked reservations at the motel. I really enjoyed seeing all of their different stories because of course they all had crazy dramas and secret reasons for wanting to go.  I did think that their stories wrapped up awfully tidily, though.

I liked this and though I don’t want to read the earlier stories about this family I would like to try her other book, At Home with the Templetons.

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