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Messy, Wonderful Us

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  437 ratings  ·  109 reviews
What if loving someone means keeping a secret that will break your heart?

In late 1983, a letter arrives from Italy, containing secrets so unthinkable that it is hidden away, apparently forever. More than three decades later, it is found . . . by the last person who was ever supposed to see it.

When Allie opens an envelope in her grandmother’s house, it changes everything
Paperback, 400 pages
Expected publication: March 5th 2020 (first published November 28th 2019)
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Average rating 4.01  · 
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 ·  437 ratings  ·  109 reviews

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Emer (A Little Haze)
I'm not crying, you're crying...

Oh this book... THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!

It utterly took me by surprise how much I was moved by this story. Messy Wonderful Us is a book about the messiness of love and how it shapes our lives. It's about the things we do for the sake of family, for the sake of best friends. It's about the dark undercurrents of love and the joy of it.

The story primarily follows Allie who sets off on a trip to Italy in an effort to uncover certain truths about her deceased mother's
Mandy White
Messy, Wonderful Us.. what a delightful story. It is not all sunshine and roses, this one is an emotional roller coaster for the characters and the reader. Mostly set in beautiful parts of Italy with 2 main characters that are likeable and easy to care about. I was hoping it was all going to work out for both of them.

Allie is the sensible, research assistant who finds a letter in her grandmothers room that rocks her world. Suddenly there is a secret from her mother’s past that she needs to know
Dale Harcombe
Three and a half stars.
Allie’s life is dramatically changed when she finds a photograph and a letter tucked away in her grandmother’s drawer. It seems to undermine all she knows about her family. Worse, still her grandmother shuts down any attempts to discuss the matter at all. Determined not to be put off Allie set off to try and track down the truth in Italy. With Allie is Ed, who has been her best friend since school days. Married to Julia, Ed is having his own issues and he has a critical
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Messy Wonderful Us is the second novel by British author, Catherine Isaac. Best friends Allie Culpepper and Ed Holt have gone to Verona. She’s looking for the man who might be her father; he’s trying to work out if his marriage to Julia can be saved, or if he even wants to do that.

Allie accidentally found a letter and a newspaper clipping that seems to indicate that Joe Hudson, the man she has known as her father for thirty-three years, might be that in name only. Well, and actions: he raised
Gloria Arthur
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-bookshelf
Messy, Wonderful Us

I was surprised at how much I adored this story.

The story revolves around Allie a research scientist and her unexpected journey to Northern Italy to uncover the secrets of her family’s past. Allie can’t bring herself to tell her family the truth about where she is heading off to and they believe she’s gone on a singles holiday to Portugal.

I found Allie to be a likeable character along with her best friend Ed, a successful business owner who decides to join Allie on her quest.
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
I’m hovering between 3-4 stars for this book but rounded it up. I really did enjoy the ups and downs of Allie and Ed and the will they, won’t they storyline. It was predictable in places and I did guess some parts of it, but I just loved the way the story flowed.
I was expecting to like this, and once I started, I thought that I was really going to enjoy this. But it quite quickly descended into sentimentality and eye-rolling predictability. Ed really irritated me, with his "poor me" attitude hidden behind a facade of stoicism, and the more I found out about Peggy, the more she irritated me too. Allie felt like she was alternating between naïvete and romantic soppiness. I liked her Dad the best of all the characters, I think.

But perhaps the fault was
Nov 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
*Book provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

I can't even describe how excited I was for this book. Ever since Catherine Isaac published You Me Everything last year, I wanted more. And she topped it with this!!!

We follow Allie in this story, who is an academic research scientist and has always been careful and organized in her life.
Well, she finds a letter in grandmother's things, talking about a possible boyfriend her mother had, when she was young, namely 9 months before
Nov 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Having loved her previous book and giving it five stars I was very much looking forward to reading this one. I did enjoy it however I was a little underwhelmed when comparing it to her last book.

I liked the main characters, the story had a good plot and had a few twists and turns which I guessed. It was a nice enough story but it wasn’t anything unique and I found it very predictable.

Oct 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, giveaways
This was a thoroughly enjoyable read. The characters, and in particular Allie's and Ed's relationship, really had me fully engaged. Peggys story tugged at the heart strings and I'll admit to shedding a tear at the ending. I'm very keen to read more by Catherine Isaac.

Thanks to the publisher for the copy of this book.
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
Unfolding from the viewpoints of Allie, Ed and an unnamed girl, (whose chapters are italicised) that is speaking of the past, as the present, Messy, Wonderful Us is a touching tale of friendship, love, regret, and second chances.

Allie and Ed have been friends since adolescence, and remain so in their early thirties, despite periods of both physical and emotional distance.

Allie, an academic research scientist, who lost her mother as a young girl to cancer, is devastated when she finds a
Kathy - Books & Munches
Jan 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc-s
The thing that intrigued me most while reading, were the different POV's and the time jumps. Apart from our main characters' perspectives - Ed and Allie - we also get glimpses of the past, before Allie was born. Those had me hooked, I tell you. They were full of information, but you had to figure out for yourself how it'd fit into the story. Trying to puzzle it all together really was half the fun!
Basically, there's the past before Allie's birth, the past where we see her budding friendship with
Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Book reviews on

Messy, Wonderful Us is the best kind of contemporary romantic fiction – it manages to be sweet without being cloying, romantic without being cheesy, and although you can predict some of what’s going to happen, it still serves up plenty of surprises.

I love the characters in this novel – Allie and Ed are just brilliant, and feel convincing to read about too. It addresses various topics and issues, one of which I won’t say here because it will give away part of
Egle (readingfreakquotes)
This is one of those books that will leave you with a heart-warming smile on your face.

It's a slow-burning story, paced over a short period of time, but with all the memories from the past mixed in with the current events, it makes absolutely perfect and addicting read.

All those unfolding secrets and twists in this book kept me on the edge and made me yearn for more. Lovable characters, beautiful writing style and ability to "show" rather than only "tell" the story makes this book that bit more
thewoollygeek (tea, cake, crochet & books)
Highly recommended read, I adored this, such a moving story about family, grief, loss, friendship and seeing beyond friendship. Wonderful twists and turns, amazing writing that makes you want to keep reading after the book ends. A completely unpredictable read for me, nothing predictable at all which I loved.

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first, I didn't enjoy this book, but as Ed and Allie went off to Italy together, it got so much better.
I didn't expect everything that happened to happen, it was such an emotional rollercoaster.
I will definitely be reading more written by Catherine Isaac!
Dec 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2019
I love diving into what’s often brushed off as ‘chick-lit’. Catherine Isaac’s Messy, Wonderful Us fits perfectly into this world, but it’s nothing new. The narrative is wildly predictable and a little overdramatic. As a result, it was difficult to be emotionally invested in Allie’s pursuit of the truth. I would have much rather had fewer plots and been able to further delve into them.

The book explores themes of adoption, domestic violence and loss. They’re respectfully handled to a degree, but
Hard working scientist Allie has her world rocked when she finds an old letter in her grandmother’s house which suggests that her mother was involved with a mysterious Italian – just before she was pregnant with Allie. Along with her best friend of decades, Ed, who is dealing with a messy separation from his wife, she takes an impulsive holiday to Italy to try and track down the man who might be her birth father. She’s looking to uncover the secret of her past, but along the way we find out the ...more
Such an awesome read.

I loved following Ally on her trip across to Italy and uncovering secrets with her as she started to find out more about her family's past. I loved her relationship with her best friend Ed and seeing how it developed over the course of the book as he supported her along her journey to uncover the past.

A real roller coaster of emotions from start to finish. I loved it
Karen Whittard
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Full of family drama, secrets, summers of love, beautiful countryside, fabulous characters and feel good vibes this is one not to be missed from and chicklit fans summer reading.
Linda Hill
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Cystic Fibrosis researcher Allie is on a professional quest; but a personal one may just be as important to her.

Now, when I read You, Me, Everything by Catherine Isaac I thought it was fantastic and as a result I approached reading Messy, Wonderful Us with some trepidation. I was afraid I’d be disappointed. I am quite prepared to admit I was a complete idiot. Messy, Wonderful Us is sensationally good and I am going to find it hard to conjure up the superlatives I need to express my absolute
An Aussie Book Nerd
This was a lovely book to get to after reading a couple of thrillers in a row! And you know what, It wasn't until the last three chapters that I decided to give it 5 stars because if you can make cry at least three times, then I think you deserve it. I loved the journey that Allie took, I loved her as a person. She was not only intelligent, caring, and honest, but also so authentic. She was likeable from the very first page, and I continued to love being her, taking the plunge and traveling ...more
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was an unexpected delight.

I loved how we were tipped into Allie's narrative right from the off, with her discovering a piece of family history that flips her world upside down. The two plots; that of Allie's heritage and her long-term best friend's fractured relationship with his wife, are woven together with a finely tuned notion of pace and tension.

The Italian setting is particularly stunning and I found it refreshing to read about a place so often romanticised to the point of it
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an advanced copy of this title in exchange for an honest review.

Messy, Wonderful Us is a book about grief, family, love and heartache amongst other things. It tackled sensitive topics in a way that I haven’t seen before in other books.

I loved the main characters, and not just because they were well written and developed, but because they were inherently good people with raw, painful issues that didn’t affect the way they treated others. So many
Claire Mc Partlin
Very enjoyable story, with a few surprises that I didn't see coming!

Allie is a research scientist and is living a happy, normal life, until one day she finds an old letter in her grandma's drawer that reveals a secret that her grandma doesn't want to talk about, so without telling any family she sets off to Italy to find out the truth.

Along for the ride is her best friend, Ed, who has marriage issues of his own to try and sort out and needs a break so accompanies Allie. There has never been any
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lovely read, loved both Allie and Ed and their friendship from children. Plus the more you read the more you find out about the past. Also having half the book in sunny beautiful Italy also helps.
I will be honest, initially I wasn’t sure if it was for me, couldn’t really put my finger on it but really glad I carried on as it ended up a really enjoyable read.
Linda Barrett
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading this book
All its twists and turns definitely kept me hooked throughout.
It also made me want to visit Italy and see all the wonderful places in the book.
The storyline was really engaging,the author definitely knows how to pull you in to the story and make you feel the characters.
Great book would definitely recommend you read it as soon as you can
Aug 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lovely honest read - at first it felt a little cliched but it did not pull any punches on the reality of how messy relationships and love can be and contained the right amount of twists and suspense. I loved Ed and Alli’s characters and enjoyed “going” to Italy with them - trust me I have added Sirmione and Portofino to my bucket list!
Oct 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, contemporary
This was a lovely book about how messy relationships can be.
Dec 12, 2019 rated it liked it
It doesn’t get much more soap opera than this book. Because when Allie opens a letter addressed to her grandmother thirty years ago, she finds out that her mother had an affair- and that she might have been the result of it.

Seeking to find out more about her past, she journeys to Italy, the home of her potential father, along with Ed, her childhood friend who is currently contemplating whether or not to divorce his high-flying wife Julia. Along the way, she’s about to find out more than she ever
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Here’s me in a nutshell: I born in Liverpool, England and my first experience of writing was as trainee reporter on the Liverpool Echo - a job I loved and in which lifelong friendships were forged over deadlines and quite a lot of beer.
I worked my way up to become Editor of the Liverpool Daily Post, but after five years at the helm I finally tackled my long-standing ambition to write a novel.