Lola's Secret - Monica McInerney (2011)

This novel picks up four years down the track from The Alphabet Sisters. Feisty matriarch Lola is now 84 and scheming to spend Christmas without her family at their motel in Clare Valley. Lola still dresses just as flamboyantly as ever and keeps busy, helping out at the local charity shop and learning how to surf the net. In fact Lola uses her newfound internet skills to unleash a plan to invite some mystery guests to the motel for the festive season - and the troubled lives of these different people are woven into the main plot. Meanwhile, her granddaughters Carrie and Bett are both busy with their families - and bickering as usual. And her great-granddaughter Ellen is having trouble coming to terms with her father's new girlfriend. As Christmas approaches, it seems nothing is going to plan - but what does fate have in store for Lola? Fans of The Alphabet Sisters will love this update but you don't need to have read the earlier novel to get caught up in the family dramas. Wouldn't life be great if everyone had a Lola in their lives?

Monica McInerney has set her upcoming novel Lola's Secret in her Australian hometown and revisits a character from The Alphabet Sisters. The summary says: "At the Valley View Motel in South Australia's picturesque Clare Valley, 84-year-old Lola Quinlan is up to her usual mischief. She's sent her family away for Christmas and invited a number of mystery guests to come and stay. But who are all these people, and why aren't they spending the festive season with their own loved ones? As the big day draws closer and Lola's personal family dramas threaten to unravel her plans, she discovers that at a special time of year, magic can happen in every family - especially your own." Lola's Secret is out in October. To read an extract of chapter one, head to her publisher's website.

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