After Frank drops down dead in Heathrow Arrivals on Christmas Eve, his estranged daughter Jem is called in to identify the body. When Jem travels back to Frank’s house in France – a house she hasn’t been in since she was a child – she realises that Frank had a son too.
Frank has died of a congenital heart defect, a defect he may have passed on to his daughter – or on to his son. Jem must warn her brother, but in finding herself a family she risks ripping another apart.
Shrewd, witty and poignant, The Frank Business is a vivid tale of love and other battlefields.
This is a very well-written book, with a compelling idea at its heart.
When Frank drops dead at the airport, on his arrival from his home in France on Christmas Eve, his estranged daughter Jem is called upon to identify his body. She then makes the impulsive decision to travel to France, to the childhood home she hasn’t visited in years.
What she discovers leads her to contact her brother, a brother she didn’t know existed, and this contact will have huge repercussions, for everyone.
Jem is lovely, strong-minded, independent, but with a past that won’t leave her alone. Her brother, Sonny, on the other hand, is spoilt and selfish, as is his mother, Kathleen. Their interactions are sometimes very funny, but sometimes painful to read, as is their treatment of poor Lauren, Sonny’s older sister.
And therein lies an issue for me. Jem is really the only character I liked – unless you count Mike the dog, which of course you should. It was difficult then, to really care about what happened to Sonny and Kathleen or to want a happy outcome for them. I didn’t really understand why Kathleen’s husband, Walter, put up with either of them.
I’m also a bit bored by the amount of books that are middle-class London-centric at the moment.
So I didn’t love this book, but I didn’t hate it either. There’s a lot to recommend and it’s definitely worth a read.