Thank you to the publisher for sending me an advanced copy of this book!
This book is 100% outside of the norm of what I typically read, and I can give it no less than 5 stars. It wouldn’t be right. With masterful storytelling, a palpable family dynamic, and an intricate storyline, Unlikely Animals is full of heart and soul. I never wanted to leave Everton and its ghosts (literally ghosts in the cemetery, they’re the ones narrating the story).
Every single important character in this story had a quality that had me rooting for them. From Clive’s antics to Auggie’s recovery, the Starling family was charming and flawed. We get to witness our main character, Emma, find herself back in the familiarity of her hometown, a place that she couldn’t wait to get away from when she turned 18. It was fascinating to watch a family go through the troubles in their life while also interacting with the heaviness of the world surrounding them.
The pacing is slow, but there’s reason for it, as we watch every stitch in the fabric of this drama pull together. This quiet story produced some of the biggest twists I’ve ever read in my life – so twisty that I didn’t have them on my radar.
The writing is beautiful, the storyline well thought out, and the execution superb. I cannot wait to read more from Annie Hartnett.