Family Tree Fiction

Ah, winter. Lovely, lovely winter.

It's almost at an end which is such a shame, because how perfect is winter and a book? Some would say the beach and a book but there is so much potential for disaster there. What if you get wet, and then get covered in sand, and get all this sandy, gritty mess all over the pages, or drop the book in the water-filled moat the kids have made in the sand, or even worse, what if you drop the Kindle? And then the sun glares off the pages, causing huge blind spots in your vision, or you have to wear non-prescription sunglasses and can't see, or you've got sunscreen all over your hands and you touch the pages, and its a library book! Or you spill your vanilla milkshake all over it... No. Too much can go wrong at the beach, way too much. But winter? Winter is perfect for reading on the couch or in bed, on the bus ride home, or at a café with a coffee. Fictional bliss!

On to the family history fiction.

You would not be wrong in assuming from the title "Kissing Mr Wrong" that this is one for those who like romantic comedy in the chick-lit vein. It is indeed. Yet besides the romantic angst and confusion, there is a lovely family history thread running through it with associated mystery to solve.

Set in England, Lu is a 30-something children's book illustrator whose beloved grandmother, Delia, has asked her to find out who her birth parents are. Delia knows she was adopted, she has her father's name and some documentation, and figures all Lu has to do is go on the internet, like they do on the TV shows.

Lu has never been interested in her family history, but as she embarks on a mission to find out who her real great-grandparents are, she finds herself becoming hooked on the research, and the war becomes more and more real to her.

If you're a long-time family historian and know a lot about the First World War, the information may be a bit basic for you, with scenes like the "Mr Wrong" of the story, Nick, teaching Lu how to find the information, and Lu learning details about the war, when she hasn't been all that interested before. But it's such a fun read, as you would expect a romantic-comedy to be. Like the scene where worried grandma Delia, concerned over having to be put under for dental surgery, says to Lu: "It'll be like Death Row, the lethal injection. I'm ninety-two, you know, no good to anyone, I've had my time. They'll want to put me down, save me being a drain on resources." She sighed. "It's probably for the best."

The story is of course all about the budding romance with the confusion, conflict, why Nick is the wrong one for Lu, domestic dramas and happy-ever-after, but the family history thread running through it is most enjoyable. I loved this story.

There are large-print versions floating around the library system, as well as an audio book version.

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