Review: Everything Changes But You by Maggie Alderson

Title: Everything Changes But You

Author: Maggie Alderson

Published: Michael Joseph (Penguin Australia) October 2012

Synopsis: Home is where the heart is – but what happens to your heart when the people you love are scattered around the world? Hannah and Matt are very happy together, living in London’s cool East End with their two young children. Hannah has a job she loves as a beauty editor and Matt is always just about to break through as a songwriter. But then events start to pull them apart, with Hannah certain they’d be much better off down in the English countryside with her family – and Matt’s mum needing them with her, back in Sydney, 17 000 kilometres away. Hannah’s mother, Marguerite, mends broken china, but can she can repair her damaged marriage? And Matt’s vivacious young cousin, Ali, feels lost, looking for love in a strange city. All of them have unsettling secrets and while some are better shared, others might be best left unspoken – the problem is knowing which are which. In this story of three women’s search for a place to call home, Maggie Alderson crosses continents and generations to explore how we find happiness – and whether love can survive betrayal. Read an extract

Status: Read on November 04, 2012 — I own a copy {Courtesy Penguin Australia)

My Thoughts:

Maggie Alderson’s seventh novel, Everything Changes But You, explores the meaning of home, the value of family and the search for happiness.

Hannah and Matt are torn between the needs of their family, which includes their two young children, and the demands of their careers. Hannah loves her hectic job as a beauty editor amongst London’s elite fashion scene and Matt’s occasional bouts of homesickness for the sunny skies of Bondi are tempered by the presence of his best mate and song writing partner, Pete, but when circumstances force the family to move to a small English village, Matt’s dissatisfaction with the relocation breeds simmering resentment that threatens to shatter their happy family.
With care, Alderson examines the challenges faced by Hannah and Matt as they struggle to deal with the conflict between their ambitions and the needs of their children and respective families, complicated by distance, grief and secrets. Where is home when torn between the UK and Australia, city and country? It is a thoroughly modern quandary now that transatlantic relationships are common and difficult choices need to be made despite the conveniences of global travel.

Alderson underscores how conflicting needs, betrayal and a lack of trust undermines a marriage by introducing Hannah’s mother Marguerite, and her alcoholic father, Charlie whose miserable partnership benefits no-one.

Ali thinks London will be the perfect escape from her family in Australia but quickly discovers England’s charms fail to compensate for all that she has left behind. I liked Ali’s flaky, vulnerable yet independent spirit, she feels lost in the city, despite the support of her cousin Matt and his family, but isn’t willing to admit defeat. England gives her the opportunity to grow up and sort out what she really wants from life and love.

Despite my feeling that the plot is fairly predictable (and riddled with convenient financial windfalls which smooth the way to happiness), I found Everything Changes But You an engaging read. It has enough emotional depth to sustain interest and the writing is polished as you would expect from an accomplished author.

Though British born, and currently living in the UK with her Australian husband and daughter, Maggie Alderson is considered an Australian author. She spent several years as a fashion columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Cleo and Mode. Everything Changes But You, exploits Alderson’s familiarity with both the UK and Australia, an element that proves popular with readers on both sides of the pond.

Fans will likely enjoy this latest release and a s summer approaches it will surely be a popular beach accessory. Everything Changes But You is a light, engaging, contemporary read about relationships, family and love that proves home is where the heart is.

Available to Purchase

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Stephanie @ Read in a Single Sitting
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 10:26:20

    I’ve found Alderson generally quite a solid read–tidy, polished but not necessarily earth-shattering. I might pick up this one if I’m in the mood for chick lit, although I have to say I’ve read some great older chick lit of late, so perhaps I’m a bit spoilt! :)

    Reply

    • shelleyrae @ Book'd Out
      Nov 10, 2012 @ 14:11:13

      I think this is a little less chick lit than her previous novels Stephanie, I’d be interested to see what you think

      Reply

  2. Lindsey
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 12:41:28

    I haven’t read this author before, but I like to balance lighter, predictable reads. If I have too many in a row, they start to irritate me!

    Reply

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