Book Review: The Sister’s Gift by Barbara Hannay

Published in Australia on the 4th August, 2020 by Michael Joseph, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

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Australian RRP: $32.99

ISBN: 9780143794219

Format: Trade Paperback

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Chick-Lit, Women’s Fiction.

Page Count: 336

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Sypnosis from Penguin Books Australia

The heartwarming new family drama by the bestselling author of Meet Me in Venice.

Two sisters, one baby and the best of intentions…

As a vibrant young woman with a lifetime of possibilities ahead of her, Freya grants her sister, Pearl, the ultimate gift of motherhood. But this comes at a hefty price – an unexpected rift in her family and the loss of the man she loves.

Decades later, Freya is divorced, childless and homeless, at rock bottom after losing everything she’s worked for. When her estranged niece, Billie, offers sanctuary, managing the family restaurant on beautiful Magnetic Island, Freya can hardly refuse.

Billie has never understood the tension between her mother and her aunt and now, with a newly broken heart, she is nursing a family secret of her own. All three women come together under the tropical Queensland skies, but can they let go of past regrets, or will old tensions tear them further apart?

By an award-winning, bestselling author, this is a moving and inspiring novel set in a stunning location about choices and consequences and the redemptive power of love.

My Review:

A huge and heartfelt thank you to the team at Penguin Random House Australia for sending me a finished copy of The Sister’s Gift in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts are my own.

Truthfully, I hadn’t had the joy of discovering Barbara Hannay’s writing until now, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from this book, though my lovely friend Julie had recently read it, so I enjoyed hearing what she thought of it and naturally sending her enthusiastic reactions as soon as I immersed myself in Freya’s story!

This is honestly the definition of a heartwarming story, completely sweet, endearing and poignant too. Set against the backdrop of the wonderfully sunny Queensland skies, I completely recommend this book for anyone looking for a dash of tropical escapism during these weird times!

I must admit, the hybrid Women’s Fiction/Chick Lit/Romance/Family Saga isn’t often one of my most frequented selection of genres, but after reading The Sister’s Gift, I’m definitely wanting to seek out more of Barbara Hannay’s writing! I found The Sister’s Gift to not only be wonderfully immersive but packed to the brim with honestly such believable, raw, human characters! Freya could be anyone’s beloved Aunt, she was just such a lovely character to read about throughout this book and her journey during this book was completely heartfelt too.

As I was reading Freya’s journey, often I found myself mirroring her emotions as I was reading (heartbreak at having lost her home to a fire, anger and further heartbreak as she recalls her husband leaving her for a younger woman (seriously, Brian’s a git!), solace, relief and gratitude upon finding out her beloved Won Ton survives the blaze, weariness over Pearl (a very interesting character, Freya’s sister who Freya performed the completely selfless act of carrying and giving birth to Pearl’s Daughter). Frankly, I can admit I was completely in awe of Freya’s character throughout, I hadn’t really read about a character similar to her before so I found The Sister’s Gift to be a wonderfully refreshing reading experience!

The Sister’s Gift is nothing short of a pleasure to read, from start to end! I absolutely enjoyed Barbara Hannay’s writing style, it completely flowed seamlessly and the dual narratives of Freya and her beloved niece Billie (a completely enjoyable, refreshing character in her own right!) were bound together as tender and beautiful as the relationship between the two characters were! My heart *sighs in fondness* was just completely happy throughout their scenes together!

Though as much as this story was Freya’s at the core, I found myself equally (and eagerly!) awaiting Billie’s chapters, excited and completely curious to read what would come next for her, especially when (newly pregnant and alone) she crosses paths with a striking Detective, a widower no less! I must admit, I did find the nature of their relationship quite rapid (namely at the finishing point of this novel), made my raise my eyebrows, but hey I’ll absolutely take it! It was just so unbelievably sweet, unique and endearing and it wouldn’t even surprise me if my mind fluttered back to not only Freya and Seb but Billie, Dan, Molly (I don’t think I’ll even now read the word seahorse without picturing Molly’s childlike glee and excitement about these wonderfully sweet creatures!).

Also at the heart of this beautiful novel is the relationship between Freya and her sister Pearl. So Freya did this completely huge and noble and selfless thing for Pearl, carrying Billie which then lead to problems for Freya herself! Again, I just completely felt myself in awe of this character and really wished Pearl would turn down the spite! However, as their sisterly relationship was explored and further truths came to light, I actually found myself throughogly (albeit surprisingly and therefore begrudgingly, given my trepidation about Pearl’s character initially and her spiteful and scathing ways towards Freya!), liking the scenes when Pearl and her Husband came back into the picture!

Add it to your TBR, everyone! I absolutely and completely recommend this beautiful book and an definitely going to look forward to reading more Barbara Hannay novels in the future! A huge thank you again to Penguin Books Australia for sending me a copy of The Sister’s Gift to read and review!

Happy Reading,


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