I've just read Lola's Secret by Monica McInerney, which was published in 2012, a sequel to the popular novel, The Alphabet Sisters. The second book is set is South Australia, and starts right before the holidays. Lola surprises her family by insisting that they spend Christmas away from her and the Valley View Motel in Clare this year.
I certainly don't want to spoil the secret (or secrets) of the novel, but I'll tell you a few things about the main character, the Irish-born matriarch Lola Quinlan (who's still trying to get used to Australia's intense heat). This book is a real treat--in many ways--and it's because of Lola. (L-O-L-A!) She's a very engaging, funny, flawed (just a bit) and altogether irresistible protagonist, who's in her 80's but is decidedly young-at-heart, and always, it seems, up to some sort of mischief. I adored her character, and the fact that she bashes many stereotypes about older people. Lola's Secret focuses on relationships and connections with others, including those made on the internet. Lola's pretty adept with computers and her "mobile" (as they are called in Australia).
"The truth was, she wanted to get into her computer before her shift was over. It was two days since she had a chance to check her emails and she was getting twitchy."
~Lola's Secret, Monica McInerney
She's not retiring but is like an actress, dressing in a unique and zany way, and completing her outfits with bright lipstick. She helps run the family's Valley View Motel, volunteers at a thrift shop with other ladies, and cares very much about her family, which now includes great-grandchildren.
Instead of a litany of complaints, Lola has ample spunk and energy, and tries to live each day to the fullest, fueled by imagination, zest, and reflection. Lola's supporting cast is composed of family (Jim, Glenn, Ellen, Anna, Bett, Carrie, and others), prospective motel guests (Neil, Helen, Tony, Martha, Holly, Chloe, Belle), and friends (such as Luke and Margaret); their stories are ingeniously tied into the main character's. Lola's character truly sparkled for me. In fact, she deserves an Emmy.
If a unique Christmas story with a saucy and appealing protagonist sounds like your cup of tea, then I have good news for you. Random House is generously offering a copy of Lola's Secret to one of my readers (U.S./Canada only).
- To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment.
- For another chance at winning, become a follower of this blog, or let me know that you're already a follower.
- For an additional chance, post about this contest on your blog, Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter.
- For one more chance, name a book with an older protagonist that you've read and enjoyed.
Enter by 5 PM PST on Monday, November 19. One winner will be selected randomly and announced on Tuesday, November 20.
Special thanks to Lisa from TLC for sending me this book. My version included wonderful extras at the end: an interview with the author about the book, as well as the first chapter of The Alphabet Sisters, the prequel to this charming novel (Lola's Secret is a "spin-off" from that book). To read more reviews, please visit the other stops on TLC's book tour for Lola's Secret.