Book Review: A Plan Unravelled, by Lia Spencer

An easy-to-read romantic novel about picking ourselves up and discovering what is really important in our life after a woman’s life comes crashing down.

By
A relaxing holiday read: not too heavy, can be put down when something comes up, but easy to continue.
Overall
3

Lia Spencer calls herself a “journalist, mother, wife, daydreamer, creative writer, and lover of the outdoors, good chocolate and strong coffee”. She grew up in Saskatchewan, Canada, and moved to Australia shortly after receiving her BA Sociology in 2006 and now lives in Melbourne. This is her first foray into the writing of novels.

A Plan Unravelled is a novel about Ruby, who grew up in the small imaginary mining town of Rockford in Queensland. She had spent her childhood dreaming of being famous. She wanted to become an actress and be rich. She had even written out her life plan at the age of eight:

Move to New York
Get an acting gig
Make money

Unfortunately, after achieving her ambition by the time she was 18 it all came crashing down fifteen years later. She has lost her job, she has no money and she is a headline scandal in the tabloids.

Ruby heads home to Rockford to live with her family for a while until she is able to get her life back together. Her publicist manages the destruction her behaviour has caused.

Ruby has forgotten about her friends and family in her rise to fame, but her old life comes flooding back as she arrives in the town. She reacquaints herself with her best friend Sam, who, despite having had a drinking problem, now runs the local pub. Being home also reminds her just how dysfunctional her family is and how parochial Rockford really is. Her parents constantly fight and her 30-year-old brother still lives at home with no prospect of work in the future.

This story is about Ruby deciding what she really wants out of life. Is fame and fortune really what she wants? Are there other things in life more important? Ruby reconnects with her old boyfriend but she also meets the mysterious man who lives next door to her parents who is the keeper of his own secrets.

Surprisingly for me, I finished this book in a few hours. It is easy to read and written in language that is uncomplicated. There are a few editing errors and if reprinted these will hopefully be fixed.

Elephant House Press is a relatively new company and the books which they publish reflect their mission to publish new writers, staying away from stories which are not suitable for a wide audience.

A Plan Unravelled is written in the first person. The font is large and not the usual Times New Roman which makes it easy to read in low light. The story is accessible and the characters well rounded and generally believable. Often authors spend too much time repeating information or dwelling on unimportant information but Spencer has been more frugal in her word choices.

We have all made mistakes we are not particularly proud of, but it is how we pick ourselves up again and get on with our lives that is important. Many of us find ourselves on a continuous loop, rushing around doing the everyday things required from us with work and home. A Plan Unravelled looks at how we can re-evaluate our crazy lives and start again –  doing the things that are important to us and getting off the treadmill of life.

This is a novel that would be good to read on a relaxing holiday. Not too heavy, can be put down when something comes up, but easy to continue.

Reviewed by Sue Mauger

Distributed by: Elephant House Press
Released: July 2019
RRP: $24.99

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