The novel's strength lies in Roach's ability to generate question marks and red herrings that keep readers guessing. She also succeeds in imbuing the story with a great affection for Australian nature (especially in a chase scene), and in imbuing her characters with a strong sense of yearning and love. Lola and Lorrelai are the center of the narrative—to the point of overshadowing everything else—and their parallel stories roll out in a rugged style that matches Lola's bristliness.
The relaxed pacing picks up at Lorrelai's part, though some repeated information in her section still slows down the story, and a stereotypical representation of mental illness that plays into the novel’s bigger revelations, will give some readers pause. Still, Roach utilizes her characters’ back stories to showcase the many facets of love, illuminating its power and potential for destruction at the same time. Readers whose heart strings are compelled by stories about resilience and love will be drawn to this heroine in her search for roots.
Takeaway: An Australian novel of love, mystery, and resilience that finds a woman facing her hometown and past.
Great for fans of: Rhys Bowen’s The Victory Garden, Lisa Wingate’s Before We Were Yours.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A-
Lola grew up an orphan and has hopped around since she was young. She found a home with Blossom, her foster mother, and for once felt like she belonged. Now older, she's branched out and is used to living on her own. Only to be pulled back to attend her foster mother's funeral. Blossom left her something, a link to her foster mother's past life. Now Lola must discover the secrets it holds and figure out what it has to do with her and who Blossom was when she was younger.
A Matchbox Full of Pearls is an extremely well-written book that tugs at the heartstrings, is gut-wrenching, funny, realistic, and is an overall emotional rollercoaster ride. It's a thoroughly enjoyable read.
The book starts well, is consistent throughout, and ends strongly. There were a couple of story points I would have liked to be clarified or expanded upon ( I won't say which points because of spoilers). I thought a tighter knot on the finish would have given the reader a little more satisfaction. But that is being picky because the ending was great. I think that because the characters are so well-written that I just wanted to devour everything about them.
Overall, this book was very enjoyable, and the plot flowed great from beginning to end. There were lots of good plot points, and the author does well to throw the reader off the scent. I recommend giving this a read.