Cover Image: A Million Aunties

A Million Aunties

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Member Reviews

A million Aunties 

Chris is desperately trying to come to terms with the sudden death of his wife . She was the bond that held his family together and now he can barely stay in the same room as his father . He leaves New York and travels to Jamaica to stay with his friends Aunt Della and to paint . Here begins an assortment of characters who somehow feel like family . Sometimes our family are those closest to us and are the relationships that bind us .

A story about relationships ,family and healing .
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A Million Aunties is an engaging book with a cast of people who live in Jamaica or who came from the island and now live elsewhere.  There is a lot of art, artists and examination of what it means to be family - relationship by blood or found family. Connection is more profound when it’s based on need and compassion, rather than an accident of birth.

An enjoyable read with characters I’d love to know in real life.

Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for providing a review copy in exchange for honest feedback.
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Chris is reeling after the sudden loss of his partner, an interesting woman who had given up a business career for a job working with plants, and has come to Jamaica to recover himself, staying with his friend and agent Stephen's "Auntie" Della. Della rescued Stephen from a children's home and Chris must be careful to be polite and call everyone by their honorifics as he settles into life on a very remote part of the island, recently partially destroyed by a landslide. Chris needs space to work on his art, but also ends up visiting his own relatives in another part of the island. He meets other residents, too, Della's friends and neighbours, and other artists, as well, and thinks back over his early life and art development.

Moving on from Chris, we also have vignettes from his father, Stephen, another artist friend of theirs, Chris's uncle, Miss Vera from across the road and Miss Pretty, a local eccentric who's been woven into Stephen and Della's life forever. I loved this multi-faceted approach, looking at Chris and Stephen from different angles; it did remind me a little bit of Girl, Woman, Other but also other narratives of chosen family (like Michael Cunning ham), because that's what ends up forming, including a trans artist with Chinese heritage and various generations of American, Jamaican and French folk. There's a trip that involves everyone to close off the story, with Chris in particular healing and bringing closure to his bereavement with the help of the others. Back home in Jamaica, Aunt Vera makes a tentative new friend, which is a lovely part of the story. 

Reviewed (28 Feb) on my blog at
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A Million Aunties starts in New York where a mixed race artist Chris is struggling after the loss of his wife in a terror attack and is visiting his friend and agent Stephen’s Auntie Della in Jamaica. The word Auntie isn’t so much a blood relation but an older woman who is a mother figure. Chris is spending time healing and learning to paint flowers while getting to know Miss Della through morning yoga, bringing him around the village and her cooking. 
The book then skips over to other points of view – Chris’s aged father, Miss Pretty (another auntie of Stephans) who walks all day long and wears a fur coat even in the heat.
This is the where I was somewhat disappointed in the book as the chapters seemed to be more vignettes of views into all the different characters lives which are interconnected to Stephen and also in their own grief. I would have loved more of a conclusion at the end of the book but it just seemed to end – I would love to know what happened them all next.
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It's a story about grief, coming home, arts, relationships, family. It's a well written story that makes travel to places and wish you were there.
Excellent storytelling and character development, a fascinating plot.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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Refreshing and captivating.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for letting me access an advance copy of this book in exchange for my feedback.
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Normally I love novels like this but for some reason I couldn’t get into it. I picked it up and put it down so many times that it left me frustrated. 

The synopsis was well written and had me excited for get cracking but it was a slog to the plot twist and then once that happened I was left a little deflated. Was that really it? Just that. 

Maybe I’m being more critical than usual as I’m spending most of my time reading these days and therefore there is stiff competition. Either way I don’t think this book is going to find a place on by bookshelf or in the post for a friend.
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