Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O’Farrell

Instructions for a Heatwave

*mother brother sisters wife husbands boyfriends*

Why this particular story was set in the English heatwave of 1976, I’m still not sure. There are brief mentions of the heat and laws that were enacted to curtail water waste, but it’s such a small part of the overall picture that it shouldn’t be the reason to select this book over another. Instead, readers who enjoy a good dose of family drama, punctuated by plenty of individual and sibling related secrets, will be more than pleased with this story. Gretta and Robert Riordain left Ireland for London, England in hopes of making a better future for their family, and when Michael, Monica, and Aoife are born -in that order- there isn’t any reason this shouldn’t have been the case. Yet each sibling has a personal struggle as well as how they are blending (or not blending) into the family dynamics, all adding a layer of tension when these adult children come home to rally around Gretta over a four-day period in July. Forced into close confines, issues that have remained dormant spring to life -and it’s the best thing that’s happened to this family in ages. Perhaps this isn’t a groundbreaking book, but it was -for sure- a nice way to experience a different place and time.

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