Any Other Family
by Eleanor Brown
Publication Date July 12, 2022
Published by Penguin
Purchase Here Buy on Amazon US - Buy on Apple - Buy on Kobo - Buy on Google - Buy at Barnes and Noble - Buy on Waterstones - Buy on Audible - Buy on Amazon UK
Genres: Fiction / Family Life / General, Fiction / Literary, Fiction / Women
Reading Challenges: 20 Books of Summer 2022
***I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.***
The New York Times bestselling author of The Weird Sisters returns with a striking and intimate new novel about three very different adoptive mothers who face the impossible question: What makes a family?
Though they look like any other family, they aren’t one—not quite. They are three sets of parents who find themselves intertwined after adopting four biological siblings, having committed to keeping the children as connected as possible.
At the heart of the family, the adoptive mothers grapple to define themselves and their new roles. Tabitha, who adopted the twins, crowns herself planner of the group, responsible for endless playdates and holidays, determined to create a perfect happy family. Quiet and steady Ginger, single mother to the eldest daughter, is wary of the way these complicated not-fully-family relationships test her long held boundaries. And Elizabeth, still reeling from rounds of failed IVF, is terrified that her unhappiness after adopting a newborn means she was not meant to be a mother at all.
As they set out on their first family vacation, all three are pushed into uncomfortably close quarters. And when they receive a call from their children’s birth mother announcing she is pregnant again, the delicate bonds the women are struggling to form threaten to collapse as they each must consider how a family is found and formed.
Any Other Family by Eleanor Brown is a story of three families tied together by their adopted children. As an adoptive parent, I appreciated how the author told a story of some of the varied ways families deal with the stresses and joys of adoption. I just loved this story of family, love, and motherhood.
This is the story of three families, who together make one family. The family consists of three sets of parents for four biological siblings. The oldest sibling of Brianna, the biological mother of the four children, is Phoebe. Ginger is the single adoptive mother of Phoebe. Next, Tabitha and Perry are the adoptive parents of the twins Taylor and Tate. And Elizabeth and John are the adoptive parents of the baby, Violet. These three families are tied together as these families try to keep the siblings together as much as possible. The families get together for dinners and plan vacations together in order for the siblings to be able to spend time together.
When Brianna, the biological mother of all four children, becomes pregnant once again, she asks the families to help her find adoptive parents for her fifth child. This causes some stress between the families as they all have their reasons for not wanting to take on another child, but not wanting to keep the siblings apart any more than they already are.
I thought the author did a wonderful job of describing the different feelings each mother has about motherhood and adoption. Each mother has a slightly different view of adoption and how they form a family, and each mother has a completely different experience. Also, the dynamic of the three families is very interesting. As they have decided to spend time together in order to keep the siblings together as much as possible.
Not all these characters are likable, but they are all relatable. I related most with Elizabeth as she struggles with a colicky baby, and is a bit overwhelmed at times. Tabitha is a bit much, but I understood her motivations to keep these siblings together. And Ginger has a backstory that makes her a bit reluctant to participate in all the activities. But one thing that I never questioned was the love these mothers have for their children. Their love manifested in many different ways, but it’s always there. The two husbands are in the story, but their characters are pretty one-dimensional, which is fine as the story is really about the mothers.
This is a unique family, that all work together to keep the siblings together and each of the families sacrifices just a bit in order to keep them all together.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys women’s fiction. I received a complimentary copy of this book. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Any Other Family counts towards my 20 Books of Summer 2022 challenge.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: