Book Review: Any Other Family by Eleanor Brown

Posted July 14, 2022 by WendyW in Bloglinks, Book Review, bookblogger / 37 Comments

Any Other Family
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

by Eleanor Brown
Publication Date July 12, 2022
Published by Penguin
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Genres: Fiction / Family Life / General, Fiction / Literary, Fiction / Women
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
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.

About Eleanor Brown

Eleanor Brown is the New York Times and #1 international bestselling author of three novels: Any Other Family (coming summer 2022), The Weird Sisters, and The Light of Paris.

Her writing has been hailed by People magazine as “delightful” and “creative and original” by Library Journal.

In addition to her fiction writing, Eleanor edited the anthology A Paris All Your Own. Her book reviews, interviews, and essays have been featured in publications including The Washington Post, The Guardian, and Publishers Weekly.

Born and raised in the Washington, D.C. area, Eleanor lives with her family in Colorado.

Book Challenges:

Any Other Family counts towards my 20 Books of Summer 2022 challenge.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

37 responses to “Book Review: Any Other Family by Eleanor Brown

  1. I loved The Light of Paris by this author and while this doesn’t necessarily look like a book I’d pick up just based off blurb your review makes this definitely sound like one I need to read.

  2. Wonderful review, Wendy! I really like the sound of this one and will be checking for it at my library. I love the sound of these three women each struggling with their situations in different ways. I imagine it makes for an emotional story.

  3. I am very intrigued by this story, Wendy. Adoption is something that affects a lot of lives and I love that this story is well done. The premise of siblings being adopted by different families, yet they strive to keep the bond between them alive, sounds loving but oh so difficult. I am definitely going to look for this book. I love when I can make a personal connection to a book and yours is so special. Wonderful review, Wendy.

  4. Wow, can’t believe the biological mother got pregnant again after giving up her other children. It sounds like an interesting story. Glad it was also personal to you. Fab review, Wendy!

  5. This sounds like a great story. My husband and I considered adopting. Due to financial woes and health issues on my husband’s part, we weren’t able to. My heart does go out to those who have, though. I know it’s not and easy process and that it’s not without its difficulties razing adopted children. 💜

  6. I can totally empathize with the colicky baby experience too. My oldest was so colicky and being new parents, my husband and I were beside ourselves trying to find some way to soothe her for the first six months of her little life. Luckily, my second was very easy going from day one. This sounds like such a moving read. Excellent review!

  7. This sounds like a very powerful read Wendy. I love books that teach me something about what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes. A wonderful review Wendy!

  8. Wow!! Wonderful review Wendy. Did you cry? This sounds like such a heart tugging story. I’m off to see if I have it!💕💕

  9. Jenny+McClinton

    This sounds really good, my sister has become an adoptive parent recently & I wasn’t aware of everything it takes to get there 💕

  10. I can’t imagine trying to juggle this situation with so many other parents. But I love that they’re trying to work it so the siblings can still stay a family. What a fun-sounding story. 🙂

  11. I am intrigued by the premise of this book. I don’t know that I’ve read a book from the adoptive parents’ POV before. As an adoptee myself, I’m usually interested in books written about adoptees. I am going to see if my library will have this one. Great review!

  12. What a complicated life these parents have chosen. I understand their desire to maintain connections among the siblings, but I doubt they really “counted the cost” before they undertook the adoptions. And then the birth mother has another baby? Unfortunately, that is probably realistic. Good review, Wendy.

  13. I have a couple friends who are adoptive parents, so I like that each female character had a different experience. Everyone’s is different. Sounds like a wonderful book, Wendy – glad you enjoyed it!