The Unusual Abduction of Avery Conifer by Isla Evans

EXCERPT: ‘I have a theory,’ began Beth.

‘Oh, god!’ said Shirley. ‘Not another one!’

Beth sent her a brief frown. ‘No, hear me out. I have a theory that in thirty years we’ll be sitting where your mother is now. Celebrating our ninetieth birthdays. We’ll have been carted over from the retirement village and we’ll be surrounded by wheelchairs and walking sticks and those Zimmerframe things. And also family. Just like now.’ She wiped at the window, clearing away the condensation from her breath. ‘Your Sam will still be running around organising everything, and Alex will have settled himself somewhere with a beer, and Hamish will be tending the bar, and Cleo will still probably be finding her way.’

‘And Daniel?’ asked Shirley in a low voice.

Beth hesitated, but only for a second. ‘Yes,even your rotten Daniel. And also Avery, who’ll probably have children of her own, and Caitlin and Charlie. All grown up. And you know what? People will be arguing, and others will be estranged, and still others will be taking sides when they maybe shouldn’t. Some will be happy and some will be sad. They’ll have mortgages and marriage issues. Some will be unemployed. All of them will have regrets in one way or the other. Maybe wishing they’d made better choices. And it doesn’t matter.’ She shrugged. ‘Because, well, that’s life.’

ABOUT ‘THE UNUSUAL ABDUCTION OF AVERY CONIFER’: Two women abduct and hide out with their four-year-old granddaughter Avery, who they suspect is being harmed. They both love Avery … shame they can’t stand each other. A wise and witty novel for readers of Sophie Green and Brooke Davis.

What would you do to protect a child?

Beth’s daughter Cleo and Shirley’s son Daniel used to be married. Now Cleo is in gaol for supposedly contravening a family violence order, and Daniel has full-time care of their four-year-old daughter, Avery.

When Shirley suspects that Daniel is harming Avery, she enlists Beth to abduct their own granddaughter, even though the two women can’t stand each other. They are joined on the run across country Victoria by Winnie, Shirley’s own 89-year-old tech-savvy mother, and Harthacnut, Beth’s miniature schnauzer.

The abduction gives rise to crises both personal and social, as Shirley’s large and interfering family – including her toxic son – struggle to come to terms with her actions, amid a whirl of police investigation and media excitement. This heartfelt, wise, witty and wholly original novel explores of the lengths we may go to for those we love, and the unintended damage folded into daily life.

MY THOUGHTS: Relationships are an endless source of fascination for me. The Unusual Abduction of Avery Conifer is the story of mothers in their role as grandmothers (and one great-grandmother) doing what they do best – nuture and protect.

Of course, as someone once famously said, ‘you can’t please all of the people all of the time,’ and yet mothers constantly try as they do their best for their families. And these mothers certainly upset more than one person in their efforts to keep Avery safe and give Daniel a much needed wake up call.

Daniel is a character who is easy to dislike. He’s one of those ‘entitled’ people, one who never takes responsibility for anything, who believes that he is treated unfairly, and – need I go on? You know the sort. He’s manipulative and needy and controlling. What makes him so different from his brother and sister? Who knows, but he is different, very different.

But the crux of the story is what brings together two women who previously couldn’t stand each other. Beth thinks Shirley is common; Shirley thinks Beth is stuck up; and Winnie thinks they both need to get over themselves. Shirley is worried that Winnie is in the early stages of dementia but Beth has a sneaking admiration for Winnie – she is capable of being sneaky and thinking on her feet.

I admired these three women for having the courage of their convictions. They tried to do the right thing the right way, but when that failed they took matters into their own hands. We need more women like these three. You only have to look at the skyrocketing child abuse numbers to know why.

An inspiring story told with empathy, pathos and humour.


#TheUnusualAbductionofAveryConifer #NetGalley

I: #islaevansauthor @harlequinaus

T: @islaevans @HarlequinAUS

#australianfiction #contemporaryfiction #familydrama #sliceoflife

THE AUTHOR: Ilsa Evans is an Australian author. She has written across several genres from light fiction (such as the books that make up the ‘laundry series’) to more gritty social realism. Two of her books, Broken and Sticks and Stones stem from the findings of a PhD on the long-term effects of family violence that Ilsa completed in 2005. Ilsa teaches creative writing and carries out public speaking when she is not writing. She lives in the Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne with her children, assorted pets and several uninvited possums.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harlequin Australia, HQ & MIRA, via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Unusual Abduction of Avery Conifer by Isla Evans for review. I’m only sorry that I waited so long to read this little gem. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my profile page or the about page on

This review is also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and


Author: sandysbookaday

I love good quality chocolate. I love the ocean and love to be in, on or beside it. I read any and every where. I am a proud mum and Nana. I like wine, gin, Southern Comfort, a cold Heineken on a hot day. I am very versatile like that. I cross stitch, do jigsaws, garden, and work on a farm. I am an occasional scribbler. I have far too many books I want to read to ever find the time to die. I am an active member of Goodreads as Sandy *the world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* and review on Amazon under the name Sandyj21. My Goodreads reviews are automatically linked to my Facebook page. Groups I belong to and participate in on Goodreads include: The Mystery, Crime and Thriller Group; Mysteries and Crime Thrillers; Psychological Thrillers; Reading for Pleasure; Crime Detective Mystery Thrillers; English Mysteries; Dead Good Crime; Kindle English Mystery, All About Books and NZ Readers. April 2016 I made the Top 1% of Goodreads reviewers (As follows) Hello Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*, In our community of readers, you stand out in a notable way: You're one of the top 1% of reviewers on Goodreads! With every rave and every pan, with every excited GIF and every critical assessment, you've helped the Goodreads community get closer to a very important milestone – the 50 Million Reviews mark!

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