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Family Baggage

By Monica McInerney

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Format: Paperback, 496 pages
Published In: Australia, 06 February 2006
A funny, warm and moving novel of family secrets, dilemmas and dynamics from the bestselling author of The Alphabet Sisters. Tour guide Harriet Turner knows all about journeys. She's arranged hundreds of them for the travel agency her family runs. But when her work colleague and foster sister Lara disappears on the eve of a big overseas trip, Harriet finds herself in uncharted territory. Left in charge of a coachload of eccentric tourists on a themed tour based on the English TV detective series Willoughby, Harriet soon has her hands full. But as the bus wends its way through the picturesque countryside of Devon and Cornwall, the tour becomes another kind of journey for her. She finds herself facing big questions about her family, her childhood and her feelings for the guest of honour on the tour, the charming star of Willoughby, Patrick Shawcross. And the biggest puzzle of all: what has happened to Lara?

About the Author

One of the stars of Australian fiction, Monica McInerney is the author of the internationally bestselling novels A Taste for It, Upside Down Inside Out, Spin the Bottle, The Alphabet Sisters, Family Baggage, Those Faraday Girls, At Home with the Templetons, Lola's Secret, The House of Memories and a short story collection, All Together Now. Those Faraday Girls was the winner of the General Fiction Book of the Year prize at the 2008 Australian Book Industry Awards. In 2006 Monica was the ambassador for the Australian Government initiative Books Alive, with her novella Odd One Out. Monica grew up in a family of seven children in the Clare Valley of South Australia and has been living between Australia and Ireland for twenty years. She and her Irish husband currently live in Dublin. For further information go to or connect with Monica on Facebook


Turner Travel specializes in themed tours that take Merryn Bay, Australia, locals abroad. The natural deaths, two months apart, of patriarch and matriarch Neil and Penny Turner leave the family business in the hands of their three children, Harriet, James and Austin; foster daughter Lara; and a handful of family friends. The book opens as Harriet, still recovering from her mother's death, leads 12 tourists through the Cornwall countryside in the footsteps of British TV detective Willoughby, but flashes back to the family's past and various coping strategies: James hides behind his domineering wife, Melissa; Austin parties; Lara, taken in by the family under mysterious circumstances nearly 25 years earlier, is the model of efficiency. Meanwhile Lara, who was to aid Harriet on the Cornwall tour, has disappeared, and Patrick Shawcross, the actor who played Willoughby and who has been hired to accompany the tour has mistaken it for a where-are-they-now media opportunity. The mystery of Lara's family and Melissa's nefariousness come to light, and Harriet's love life heats up. McInerney (The Alphabet Sisters), who lives in Ireland, offers a light look at a complicated family. (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

EAN: 9780143002819
ISBN: 0143002813
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 3.7 centimetres (0.34 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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1 review(s)
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Customer on
Family Baggage was about a family with a travel agency being run by that family. Its abaout a family taking in another child and making that child part of its family, but about death and betrail as well. There are chacaters to both love and hate and to never quite understand. I found it hard when it went from present to back and then back to present, but I will read it again to see if I understand it better next time round.

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