Fourth Estate, 9780732285999, February 2008 (Aus, US/Kindle)
Mumma is sent away to an island to have her illegitimate daughter. She emotionally smothers her new baby and curbs her own anxieties with the comfort of food – hot bread with butter, puddings, eggs, meats and sweet treats. Her mother had eased her own discomforts with mountains of food. Her father had been emotionally void.
The boy next door, ‘Mister’ is enticed by Mumma, the sweet-scented beauty, and soon becomes a part of the family. His family also has a few skeletons in the closet. Mumma’s daughter Lola-Belle grows up with a strange relationship to loss, food, comfort and the body. At school she is seen as different. At home she struggles with her needs. Mumma doesn’t realise she is making many of the mistakes her own mother made.
The novel explores themes of lust and burgeoning sexulity, the functions of bodies, the confusions of growing up and forming one’s identity. It is a comfortable, easy read which stimulates the reader’s appetite and slowly roasts the reader’s heart. The characters are well-rounded and memorable. A smaller-scale Chocolat or Pomegranate Soup.
(Note: The quote ‘stimulates the readers appetite and slowly roasts the reader’s heart’ has been used on the book’s back cover! I am very excited about my first blurb!)