SheReviews “Apples Never Fall” by Liane Moriarty

November 3, 2021


Even the most seemingly stereotypically ‘normal’ of families can be deceptively holding together a familial structure that’s very fabric is filled with not only nuanced peculiarities, but shattering secrets – which have the potential to alter lives irrevocably if revealed.

Such is most definitely the case with the Delaney family; the tennis obsessed Sydney family at the centre of hugely successful Australian author, Liane Moriarty’s, latest novel, “Apples Never Fall”.

The Delaney family were living the quintessentially ‘Great Australian Dream’. Mother and father, athletic and ambitious Joy and Stan Delaney, ran the fabulously successful ‘Delaney’s Tennis Academy’ for many years. Stan was a fearsome yet caring coach, while Joy took care of the business side. Their four children – Amy, Troy, Logan and Brooke – were all superiorly talented at tennis as children and teenagers and were driven to practise relentlessly, in addition to playing frequently in competitions. All four children dreamed of being professional tennis players when they grew up, and winning grand slams (and they definitely all possessed the ferocious talent necessary to do so). However, for varying reasons, none of the Delaney children ever reached the transcendent heights in the tennis world that Joy and Stan so desperately wanted for them all. None of the children ever go on to play tennis professionally in adulthood and win those grand slams, and as a result a damp blanket of disappointment has settled uneasily over the Joy and Stan. It still ‘stings’ for Joy and Stan that Amy, Troy, Logan and Brooke never ‘reached their potential’ (at least in Joy and Stan’s eyes).

Fast forward to 2018, and now 69 year old Joy has abruptly and surprisingly gone missing. Initially, her children are ostensibly bewildered and simply wondering why Joy isn’t answering her texts, however, as time seamlessly evaporates and the police become overarchingly involved, suspicion begins to fall on Stan. 

Horribly sordid and murky secrets reside in the Delaney family – secrets which if exposed will cause not insignificant explosions in all the Delaneys’ lives. Have the Delaney parents – living in a quietly suburban street where lawns are carefully manicured, leaf blowers are often heard, and dogs are dutifully walked – and indeed the Delaney children themselves been projecting an untrue image to the world of an quaintly interesting, yet fiercely loyal, Australian ‘golden family’? And has Joy and Stan’s mysterious, waif-like house guest from the previous year – a guest whom the police are of the opinion may indeed be a factor in Joy’s out of character and sudden disappearance – been hiding more from the Delaneys’ than at first apparent?

“Apples Never Fall” is at it’s heart a story encapsulating the disparate lives of a family that once lived the life (all being sublimely talented and driven tennis players aiming to conquer the tennis world) that so many in our society seek to emulate. Intertwined with subtle and horribly blatant family dynamics, is a mystery that will keep you turning the pages of this book in rapid succession. This book is a ‘must read’ for all Liane Moriarty fans, and anyone who wants to be taken on a wild ride where potent missile after potent missile is launched in a story where question are raised about family loyalties and intentions.

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