Book Title and Author: Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins
Publication Date and Publisher: August 6, 2019 by Berkley Publishing
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary
Pages: 448 pages
Buy on Amazon.com
Date Read: July 17, 2019 (paper copy by the publisher)
From the New York Times bestselling author of Good Luck with That comes a new novel about a blue-blood grandmother and her black-sheep granddaughter who discover they are truly two sides of the same coin.
Emma London never thought she had anything in common with her grandmother Genevieve London. The regal old woman came from wealthy and bluest-blood New England stock, but that didn’t protect her from life’s cruelest blows: the disappearance of Genevieve’s young son, followed by the premature death of her husband. But Genevieve rose from those ashes of grief and built a fashion empire that was respected the world over, even when it meant neglecting her other son.
When Emma’s own mother died, her father abandoned her on his mother’s doorstep. Genevieve took Emma in and reluctantly raised her–until Emma got pregnant her senior year of high school. Genevieve kicked her out with nothing but the clothes on her back…but Emma took with her the most important London possession: the strength not just to survive but to thrive. And indeed, Emma has built a wonderful life for herself and her teenage daughter, Riley.
So what is Emma to do when Genevieve does the one thing Emma never expected of her and, after not speaking to her for nearly two decades, calls and asks for help?
Kristan Higgins has become one of my favorite authors over the past couple of years because of her ability to always explore deep topics with grace and humor, while realistically portraying her character’s feelings of sadness, anger, hope, forgiveness, and love. I’m always left reading one of her books feeling emotional: I’ve laughed and I’ve cried and Life and Other Inconveniences was no different. In fact, I closed the last page with tears streaming down my face, some from sadness and some from joy, but I knew I’d been profoundly touched this time around.
Emma London has suffered a lot in her life. She’s now thirty-five, happy, successful, with a beautiful teenage daughter, but life hasn’t always been easy. When she was 8 years old, her mom died in a very tragic way and her dad dumped her on the doorstep of grandmother, Genevieve London, a blue-blooded woman better known for being a high-end fashion designer and style icon. Genevieve wasn’t exactly lovey-dovey, so Emma never grew close to her and instead their relationship was formal and distant. So when Emma got pregnant at 18, she was thrown out of the house.
The two women haven’t spoken until now when Genevieve calls asking her to return to Sheerwater for the summer to care for her as she’s sick. She also wants to meet Riley, who she says is her heir. Emma, still paying her own student loans, is determined Riley not be in her shoes, so she agrees against her better judgment, especially when Riley’s so-called best friends turn bullies.
Talk about a summer of unexpected surprises, especially when Riley and Genevieve become almost inseparable―Emma didn’t see that coming after the way she was treated as a child! The narrative is mainly told via Emma and Genevieve, but some of the chapters are told by some of the other characters as well, giving a well-rounded feel to the story. You get to know everyone so well and fully understand why they act and feel the way they do; Higgins does such an excellent job making you care deeply for the characters and their issues, something she excels at.
For me, the novel was just chock full of unexpected moments and honesty about life, family, and how we deal with life’s experiences, the good and the bad, that made this novel a five star read. Higgins didn’t hold back in exploring this theme and did so in such an insightful, funny (trademark Higgins), heartbreaking, and endearing way. While the novel had a few small flaws with pacing, they weren’t enough to detract from the profound grace and beauty of this novel and its message.
Honestly, I can’t say enough good things about Life and Inconveniences. The comparisons to Gilmore Girls for Emma and Riley’s relationship are warranted so if you’re a fan, then you’ll enjoy this one. So really, just read it! I’m just sad that it will be another year before I get to read another KH book!
**Thank you, Berkley, for my gifted copy. All opinions are my own.**