Family & mystery reads while you wait for Apples Never Fall

Australian author Liane Moriarty is back with another page-turner about family secrets and mystery, written with her trademark humor and warmth. Apples Never Fall begins with a disappearance and ends with a crazy twist I did not see coming.  

Joy and Stan Delaney have been together for 50 years and tennis has been the center of their world. Both were competitive players who won championships in their younger years. Joy and Stan ran a highly regarded tennis school for decades before their recent retirement. The couple also raised four children who were nearly pro players. Now that the school has been sold and the children are off living their own lives, Joy and Stan are unhappy and drifting apart.

One night a young woman shows up at their door in need of shelter. Joy invites her to move in until she finds her feet. Then Joy disappears and suspicion turns to Stan. Could he have murdered his wife? Why does no one in the family want to talk about the house guest who also seems to have disappeared into thin air? 

Moriarty really shines in writing fully developed characters and exploring family relationships. My favorite part of Apples Never Fall was getting to learn about each of the Delaneys and their interactions with each other. There is sibling rivalry, resentments, secrets and old wounds. Sometimes the ones we love are also the ones who hurt us the most. 

I recommend this one on audiobook with Australian narrator Caroline Lee. I love hearing Moriarty’s characters brought to life with an Australian voice.  

If you enjoyed Apples Never Fall or you’re waiting for your copy, here are some other excellent stories of family secrets, mysterious disappearances and tennis.  

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

This story of a mom who disappears is told through emails, letters and articles written by a variety of people. These items gradually paint the picture of a gifted, unique individual from multiple perspectives. Just when you think you have Bernadette all figured out, she’ll surprise you. Is she a recluse? A mad genius? A terrible mother? A wonderful mother? What happened in California?

One thing is certain, she’s scathing and hilarious. The action of the story is framed around a family trip to Antarctica that Bernadette’s daughter Bee requested to mark her 8th grade graduation with all A’s. Bernadette can’t deny the girl her wish, but the stress of planning the trip takes its toll. When several personal conflicts and an unexpected betrayal combine to drive Bernadette over the edge, she disappears. Sift through the clues, join the search and above all enjoy the ride in this fun, unforgettable story.

All In by Billie Jean King

Tennis is such an important part of Apples Never Fall and Moriarty notes she had to research what it’s like to be a competitive player to write the book. Billie Jean King is a legend of the sport. For six years she was the top-ranked woman in the world. King won 20 Wimbledon championships and 39 grand-slam titles. In this autobiography she tells the story of her career against the backdrop of the women’s rights movement and civil rights movement. This is a truly fascinating and inspiring real-life read.  

40 Love by Madeleine Wickham (Sophie Kinsella)

This is an early book from the author who later became published as Sophie Kinsella, bestselling author of the Shopaholic series. Check this one out for a comedy about a tennis party between competing couples with plenty of personal reveals and drama. If you’re a Shopaholic fan, expect a more wry and cynical look at the world, but with the same page-turning appeal. It’s available on audiobook with no waiting on Hoopla.  

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict

In December 1926, author Agatha Christie went missing. She reappeared 11 days later claiming she couldn’t remember where she had been.

In The Mystery of Mrs. Christie historical author Marie Benedict weaves fact and fiction into a fascinating novel imagining what might have happened during that time. Told in alternating timelines, the story slowly unveils a mystery good enough to satisfy readers of Christie’s work. It’s available as an ebook with no waiting on Hoopla. 

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

Jewell is a master of twisty reads that keep you guessing. Then She Was Gone is a much darker story of a family member’s disappearance and the emotional impact on those left to search and grieve. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare to imagine their child disappearing without a trace. Ellie, 15 years old, is a stellar student and a good girl. She leaves to study at the library and doesn’t return home.

Her family is devastated, but her mom, Laurel, never gives up hope that Ellie will come home and she never stops searching. Ten years after the disappearance Laurel meets a man who makes her think love and happiness might be possible again. Then Laurel meets his daughter, Poppy. This girl looks just like Ellie did at that age. You won’t be able to put this one down! Check it out on audio with no waiting on Hoopla.  

Miranda is your Readers Librarian. She loves to talk books, and to connect readers with their next great reads. Her favorite reads are poetry, literary fiction, and speculative science fiction, and she's passionate about promoting literature written by Kansas authors. She works with library programs that support and engage writers in our community, so ask her for more information about the Local Writers Workshop and Great Writers Right Here author fair. Miranda also facilitates TALK book discussions, co-leads the BookBites book discussion group, and serves as a member of the library's Top City Reads Together team.