At 39 Sophie Honeywell's life takes an unexpected turn when she inherits a house on Scribbly Gum Island. The house belonged to her ex-fiance Thomas's Great Aunt Connie - so right from the get go it is an awkward situation. Especially since she broke Thomas's heart (while everyone considered him to be the perfect boyfriend) and he has moved on by getting married - and she is still very single. Added to the mix is the fact that the house was the setting for the famous unsolved "missing Munro baby" mystery - a mystery that still draws tourists to the island.
Right from the start I could relate to Sophie - a woman in her late 30s whose biological clock is ticking, yet she wasn't prepared to "settle" with Thomas. Society seems to have a view that you should be prepared to hook up with just about anybody if you're in that situation and most people are pretty suspicious of those who don't toe the line. Everyone else thought Thomas was perfect and in many ways he had great potential as a husband, but Sophie knew in her heart it wasn't right and stuck with her convictions.
The story also touches on many other themes, such as postnatal depression and lesbianism through a cast of quirky and seemingly dysfunctional characters who all impact Sophie's life in one way or another once she moves temporarily to the island, while deciding what she will do with the house. There is a lot of wry humour in the story as Sophie finds herself in one ridiculous situation after another, but through it all you can see her growth as a person and the realisation that her life can be as good as she makes it.
Underpinning the whole novel is the "missing baby" mystery from 70 years before, which is intriguing enough to keep you guessing right until it is revealed at the end. Although not an entirely "out there" twist, it was not a scenario I had considered as I made my way through the story.
I really liked the setting of the book - fictitious Scribbly Gum Island, along the Hawksbury River - it sounded like a place that would be great for a day trip. I also really enjoy Liane Moriarty's writing style - The Last Anniversary is very well written with an engaging style that kept me eagerly turning the pages throughout.
Overall an entertaining, sometimes compelling read with some deeper elements that your average chick-lit book. Definitely worth a read.