Sunday 29 August 2021

✪ The Unusual Abduction of Avery Conifer ✪



Two women abduct and hide out with their four-year-old granddaughter Avery, who they suspect is being harmed. They both love Avery ... shame they can't stand each other. A wise and witty novel for readers of Sophie Green and Brooke Davis.

What would you do to protect a child?

Beth's daughter Cleo and Shirley's son Daniel used to be married. Now Cleo is in gaol for supposedly contravening a family violence order, and Daniel has full-time care of their four-year-old daughter, Avery.

When Shirley suspects that Daniel is harming Avery, she enlists Beth to abduct their own granddaughter, even though the two women can't stand each other. They are joined on the run across country Victoria by Winnie, Shirley's own 89-year-old tech-savvy mother, and Harthacnut, Beth's miniature schnauzer.

The abduction gives rise to crises both personal and social, as Shirley's large and interfering family - including her toxic son - struggle to come to terms with her actions, amid a whirl of police investigation and media excitement. This heartfelt, wise, witty and wholly original novel explores of the lengths we may go to for those we love, and the unintended damage folded into daily life.



ARC received from Harper Collins/Harlequin AU for an honest review

What a delight is The Unusual Abduction of Avery Conifer.

When I looked at the cover I thought it was going to be quite a light and humourous tale of grannies on the run.

And whilst yes, we did get that, we got so much more.

This story deals with abusive relationships, strained family dynamics, and those who come together to save those they love.

Shirley and Beth are so completely different, and even with the years of dislike and discontent with each other, they really were the perfect partners for this Thelma and Louise-esque adventure.

Add  in a beautiful 4 year old girl and a great grandmother that reminded me of Yetta from The Nanny, this is one road trip that you won't quickly forget.

I did feel that there were a couple of POVs that we really didn't need, though this could just be a me thing.

Ms Evans has given a beautifully written story, with wonderfully nuanced relationships, and a different take on what we would call motherly love.

The Unusual Abduction of Avery Conifer is my first Ilsa Evans read,  however I will definitely read more in the future.

I was raised in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne (two parents, three sisters, assorted pets - great childhood) and, after failing matriculation in quite spectacular fashion, joined the RAAF at the age of seventeen. Blissfully unaware of how bad my hair looked, I enjoyed three wonderful years (what more can one say about an institution where the male-female ratio was about 500 - 1?) before leaving to complete a BA majoring in medieval history - which ably demonstrates how in touch I was with the local job market. At the same time I also joined the Army Reserves and spent part of the next fifteen years running around in camouflage gear whilst trying to master the intricacies of the M60 machine gun. In 1995, after enjoying (some more than others) a variety of jobs - I found myself back at university, this time completing first a teaching degree before deciding to focus on issues of gender, particularly violence against women. I completed my PhD in 2005, which led to a report on the long-term effects of DV on survivors. Oh, and along the way I managed to collect three children. Mine, not other people's.


That brings us to where I am now; living in a rambling old house in the Dandenongs which has just become, after many (many) years, officially an empty nest. My grand plan is to eventually downsize, preferably to a small, bookcase-lined, minimal-labour apartment in some cultural mecca. In the meantime,  I shall continue what I’m doing now - squeezing public speaking around writing around working for Chisholm TAFE (in Melbourne's south-east). And thoroughly enjoying all of it