BOOK CLUB: Better Luck Next Time

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[Total: 3 Average: 3.7]

Author: Kate Hilton
ISBN: 978-1-76087-608-5

Copy courtesy of Allen & Unwin

This is the first of  Kate Hilton’s works that I have read, but if it is indicative of her other books I will be looking to read them also.  I thoroughly enjoyed Better Luck Next Time finding Hilton’s characters highly relatable and the tale itself both moving and funny.

I particularly liked the way Hilton set out the character’s family tree at the beginning of the tale, separated into the Hennessey branch and the Goldstein-Hennessey Branch with the addition of The Supporting Cast!

Lydia Hennessey is the matriarch of the Goldstein-Hennessey clan, now 70 she has spent her life dedicated to feminism and is regarded as a feminist icon.  For her three children Mariana, Nina and Beata this meant spending their childhood being dragged from one feminist rally to another.

Larry Hennessey is Lydia’s older brother, married to Judy their children are Zoe and Zack.

The story opens with the family gathering at Larry and Judy’s home for Christmas dinner and right from the start we are thrown into the noise, chaos and emotions that often represents a family gathering at Christmas.

 Zoe, recently separated from her husband, is trying to work out how to break the news to the family, not helped by the hunky barista she’s been fantasizing about having just mistaken her for his buddy’s step-mum!

Zack, screenwriter for a dramedy that ran for three decreasingly popular seasons, based more than a little loosely on Lydia and her family, has recently completed rehab for a series of addictions, is feeling washed up at thirty three, and has taken to using air quotes around mantras from his stint in rehab.

Judy, still smarting from a comment Lydia made 50 years ago, about her disappointment that Larry didn’t marry a woman with professional ambitions or feminist convictions, is working hard on acting martyred for having to create the Christmas dinner.

Marianna’s four year old twin girls are running riot pulling wrapping paper out of a garbage bag under the christmas tree and tearing it into confetti, while her husband Delvin Kelly plays obliviously on his phone.

Nina is a doctor with Physicians for Peace and has done three consecutive missions in Syria and is dealing with her own issues that she hasn’t shared with the family.

Beata, single mother to Oscar, is wondering where her sweet little boy went and who this monster teen that has taken over her son’s body is, and what she did wrong to create this monster.

Oscar chooses Christmas dinner to announce that Beata has lied to him all his life, he was not created by a sperm donor and he has found his dad and wants to meet him.

Marvin has been hit in the centre of the forehead by a ladle hurled by Zoe at Zack, that missed hitting him instead and has a huge red mark, and Larry is just quietly getting drunk in a corner.

And so the scene is set for the events of the year to follow with divorces, betrayals, confusions, surprises, recriminations, growth and more than a little humour as the characters from the two family branches, plus the supporting cast, wend their way through life’s challenges.

This is a fabulous read, easy and yet intense at the same time, and I highly recommend it.

My thanks to Beauty and Lace Book Club and Allen and Unwin for the opportunity to read and review.

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading Better Luck Next Time by Kate Hilton. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

9 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Better Luck Next Time

  1. Thanks to Allen&Unwin for this ARC of Better Luck Next Time by Kate Hilton to read and review.

    This is my first book from this author and I really enjoyed it. It is written from many different characters point of views from a diverse family. Once I got my head around all the characters I found it funny and easy to read. At many points I found myself having a little giggle. You find yourself attached to the characters throughout and really want to know where they are going next.

    This book consists of a year in this families lives, through heartbreak, divorce, teenage tantrums, death, marriage, secrets but most importantly love and relationships and how everyone must accept each other and what life throws at them. Every person is different and has many choices and I think this book shines a light on this topic well.

    Although I didn’t get this through Beauty and Lace, I am happy to share my thoughts.

  2. Better Luck Next Time – by Kate Hilton
    A year in the life of the Hennessey Family!
    Life doesn’t always turn out as you expect it to.
    Zoe, her Brother Zack and their cousins Mariana, Beata and Nina each find themselves on an expected new path. They thought they knew what their futures looked like but now they need to re-evalulate everything and find new directions!
    With the ‘help’ of their meddling Mothers and a lot of soul searching will they find their happy endings?
    The Author describes this book as ‘Divorce Comedy’. There are ups and downs, tears and laughter! I loved this family with all of their different personalities and quirks.
    I would love to read more from this Author1

  3. I found the begining a bit muddled trying to sort out who belonged to who and had to reread the Family Tree a few times, but once I got it straightened out in my head I found this was a lovely light hearted read.
    There are quite a few different topics covered, that as the story progresses most are intertwined.
    There are a couple of surprises that I didn’t see coming but they all tied in wonderfully.
    Overall I found this lovely and refreshing and do believe that it will become a well loved and very well read book.
    Thank you to Beauty and Lace Book Club and Allen & Unwin for the opportunity to read this.

  4. Thanks for selecting me to read Better Luck Next Time

    Interesting book but with so many characters was a bit hard to follow the family tree is a help to readers

    A nice light hearted book not to heavy a read

    My favourite characters were Zack and his sister Zoe though all the characters in this book are different with their own point of views

    Was a nice book with a few good surprises


  5. Thank you Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to review Better Luck Next Time by Kate Hilton.
    The novel revolves around Lydia Hennessey and her family.
    Lydia is a feminist icon celebrating her great career. She has three daughters, her eldest daughter Mariana a journalist is having trouble with her marriage.
    Nina her middle child is a changed woman after coming back from an overseas medical mission.
    The youngest daughter Beata whose teenage son has just found his Dad.
    There’s also their cousin Zoe who is going through a terrible divorce and Zoe’s brother Zack who is having trouble with his tv show.
    It is a novel that made me laugh so many times. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

  6. I was given the chance to read and review Better Luck Next Time and if Im honest it wasnt my “normal ” genre of choice. But in saying that I was pleasantly surprised.

    I did get a bit confused in the beginning but the more I read the harder it was to put down.

    Thank you for giving me the chance to read a really great book

  7. Thank you Beauty and Lace for giving me the chance to read this wonderful quirky book about life, love and family. I absolutely loved it!!

  8. thanks beauty and lace I loved this book! little confusing getting a handle on the many characters but then it was funny light hearted and a little jerry springer! thankyou again.

  9. I really enjoyed ‘Better Luck Next Time’ by Kate Hilton. At first I was a bit confused by all the characters, who were so closely woven together it was difficult to keep track of who was who. As I kept reading and the story lines developed I worked out the characters. I loved the close knit family who looked out for each other and took care of each other even though individually they all felt that they weren’t supported. When the truth came out, their family was there to support each of them. What a lovely life to live! Thanks for the book!

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