Source- Review copy
Publisher- Pan Macmillan
Publication date- 1st May, 2012
Synopsis- Lucinda Ellis has never really mastered the knack for dealing with people. Not that she is shy. To the contrary, she is too forthright by normal standards, and has no qualms telling others exactly what is wrong with them. So she usually avoids people. Until her sister, Jayne, decides to take a sudden trip to America and Lucinda’s perfectly ordered life is thrown into chaos.
With Jayne’s husband, Brian, stranded in a remote Aboriginal community, Lucinda is forced to take charge of Jayne’s children, David and Madison, and their ridiculous little dachshund, Wilma. The domestic dramas that unfold would be more than enough for Lucinda to deal with, even without the malingering presence of teenage Emo Wesley Heslop, who’s taken up residence on the living room couch. But then there’s also the mysterious disappearance of a stuffed eclectus parrot from the museum where she works, and the disarming affections of Madison’s challenging “second-best” friend, Kieran Waterford.
Naturally, Lucinda is determined to do things her way while Jayne and Brian play out their mid-life crises. But as life begins to spiral out of control, Lucinda reaches a turning point. She discovers that her way isn’t working, and she’s going to have to find the courage to do something that she has always been terrified of… open her heart to new relationships and possibilities.
Review- Lucinda’s Whirlwind is an quick, easy women’s fiction read about family, relationships and taking risks by Australian author Louise Limerick.
Following the death of their mother, sisters Jayne and Lucinda have coped very differently. And everyone is surprised when Jayne jumps on a plane to America without advising her husband Brian or her two children, Madison (8yrs), David (14yrs) and their couch-surfing pseudo foster child, Wesley. Lucinda is NOT happy about taking leave from work to care for Jayne’s children while she is off travelling and her husband is stuck on Locke Island in an Aboriginal community. Lucinda is thrown into a hectic family household where an average day involves far more chaos than Lucinda would like to experience in a lifetime.
The book alternates point of view between the three main characters Brian, Lucinda and Jayne who have their own internal conflicts to overcome.
Brian- is somewhat self-involved, very much focused on work and takes his family for granted. He learns that he needs to consider the feelings of Jayne and what she wants from life and not dismiss them.
Lucinda- has always struggled to connect with people on an emotional level and harbours a lingering resentment towards Jayne and Brian because when they married she lost her best friend. Lucinda is a likeable character who says exactly what she thinks which is generally tolerated by those who understand her. She is a woman who relies on her intellect to function in the world and is sometimes confused by these strange things called ‘feelings.’ But when she is thrown into Jayne’s role of mother and surrogate wife, initially becoming overwhelmed but soon finding a comfortable routine it is then she appreciates her sister and the importance of relationships. I also really liked how Lucinda makes an unlikely friend in young Kieran, Madison’s “second best-friend” and his dad Joel.
Jayne- the good wife and mother who is used to pleasing everyone else has surprised everyone by taking the trip to America that her mother had dreamed to do but died before she could. Jayne needs the time to reflect on her grief and to re-discover who she is as a woman not just as a wife and mother. She develops the strength to be assertive with her husband and her sister and express her feelings. Although there is some growth in her character, i felt as though she was the least developed and felt a little flat.
I felt there was something missing from this story, something to really grab me and make it a really enjoyable read. It’s primarily a character-driven story and there’s nothing too exciting that happens in the plot other than the twists and turns within the characters’ internal conflicts.
Overall, Lucinda’s Whirlwind is an easy read about three interesting Australian characters with plenty to learn about love and relationships.
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About the author: Louise Limerick was born in 1970. In 2004 she won the Sydney Morning Herald’s Best Young Novelists Award for her first book, Dying for Cake, which was also chosen as an Australian Women’s Weekly Great Read. Currently, she divides her time between her family and her emerging career as a novelist. She lives in Brisbane with her husband, her three children and her two dogs – one of which may be the prototype for that annoying dog, Wilma. Lucinda’s Whirlwind is her second book.
This book was read as part of the AWW2012 challenge: