Monday 1 May 2023

Hyphenated Relations - Daniel Maunz

Sam Daly is leading a life of quiet isolation following the death of her husband, Mike. She is content to merely put in her eight hours at work each day before heading home to lose herself in a book, only to restart that cycle the following morning. But Sam's self-imposed cocoon is threatened after her eccentric father-in-law Harold stumbles back into her world to announce that he is getting remarried to the mysterious Marcie Porter, who is burdened by her own complex family history.

The last thing Sam wants is to get involved with Harold's new endeavour. But after getting wind that Marcie's four children intend to sabotage the wedding, Sam is reluctantly drawn into a new family drama and all that comes with it, whether it be the development of unexpected alliances or butting heads with ruthless enemies. While navigating these landmines, Sam finds herself struggling to come to terms with the painful past she had been holding away at arm's length for so long.

Through these trials and tribulations, Sam is also forced to confront the one question that she had sought to avoid since her husband's passing—whether she is done with the notion of "family" after all.

What did I think?

Wowzers!  What a book!  I didn't just like it, I LOVED IT!  I laughed (a lot), I cried (a little) and I enjoyed every single second aboard this hugely entertaining emotional rollercoaster of a novel.  Just like Daniel Maunz's outstanding debut novel, Questions of Perspective, Hyphenated Relations is a book that will stay with me long after turning the final page.

This is a character driven novel with family at its huge heart.  The characters are an eclectic bunch and I loved all of them, even the sneaky, conniving ones.  Sam is the main character and she is suffering from the most painful of emotions: grief.  It seems as if a large part of Sam died when she lost her husband, although she escapes through her love of books (which made me love her even more).  

Sam has distanced herself from her former father-in-law so it's quite a shock to her system when he comes back into her life in the funniest way.  Humour is evident throughout the book, even though some serious subjects are touched upon and it very much reflects the ups and downs of real life.  

I don't think I fully appreciated the wonderful front cover until I was partway through the book and saw the initials on the leaves of the tree.  It makes me emotional just looking at it to write my review as it makes me grateful to think of the people who have touched my life in my own family tree.

This is one of those books that make you want to read it again as soon as you finish it.  I'm already missing all of the characters and I want to re-experience their stories again; I'm sure I'll even laugh in the same places and maybe even find some humour I missed when I was rapidly devouring this wonderful book as if I had been starved of words for weeks.

Entertaining, emotional and humorous, Hyphenated Relations is an unforgettable novel that has reminded me that life may be short but it is precious.  Don't let this wonderful book fly under your radar - Daniel Maunz is a true literary star and one of the best things about book blogging is being introduced to such amazing authors that I may not have otherwise discovered.

Very highly recommended - DO NOT MISS THIS BOOK (yes, I'm shouting from the rooftop, it's THAT good)!

Many thanks to Daniel Maunz for sending an ARC across the Atlantic; this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

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