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Published February 16th 2020
Take a fictional tour of Devon & Cornwall
Families can be complicated beasts filled with stories, secrets, lies and love. Family Baggage draws on this notion in a story of the second and third generations of the Turner Family, who run a small, boutique travel agency called Turner Travel.
The Turner children (and their family friend Gloria) inherited the business after the unexpected deaths of their parents, Neil and Penny, within months of each other.
We are introduced to the Turner family siblings (Austin, Harriet, Melissa, James and their foster sister Lara) at a time when they are about to lead The Willoughby Tour of Devon and Cornwall.
The tour retraces the episodes of the much-loved TV series of the same name by a group of devoted senior fans from Australia. The drawcard for the tour is the appearance of the dashing Patrick Shawcross, who played the lead character in the series several years earlier.
Just as the tour is due to begin, organised and in-control Lara Turner unexpectedly goes missing. Lara was the family's' foster sister who joined the brood after her parents died in a car accident when she was a child.
While the family take steps to find Lara and the reason for her disappearance, it is also left to 30-something Harriet Turner to take the reins and step in as the tour guide.
If it's not worrying enough that Lara is missing, it is also complicated by the fact that Harriet suffers from a severe grief reaction she contracted after her parents' deaths. What will happen if self-described "nervy, basket case" Harriet is left in charge of the 12 person tour group?
How will Harriet cope? Where is Lara? Is she safe and why did she disappear? Will the tour go without a hitch or will the group suspect the troubles haunting the Turner family? Will the members of the tour group be able to resist the charismatic charms of Patrick Shawcross?
Family Baggage is a delightful read with very likeable characters. The aged tour guests are high maintenance at times but essentially kind-hearted with an encyclopaedic knowledge and memory of the Willoughby series.
Through the travels and adventures of the book, we are reminded that all families carry baggage and secrets – it's how we deal with the information and how we negotiate complicated relationships that are the key.
Of Family Baggage,Marie Claire magazine wrote: "With every book, Monica McInerney becomes more skilled at juggling plot complexities and giving depth to her characters."
I thoroughly enjoyed Family Baggage and turned the final page feeling uplifted and grateful for the travel experience.
Let Family Baggage take you on a tour of the twists and turn of family.
About the Author
Monica McInerney is an Australian-born Dublin-based author.