Category Archives: Life and Other Inconveniences

Review: Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins

Title: Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 448 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


From the New York Times bestselling author of Good Luck with That comes a new novel about a blue-blood grandmother and her black-sheep granddaughter who discover they are truly two sides of the same coin.

Emma London never thought she had anything in common with her grandmother Genevieve London. The regal old woman came from wealthy and bluest-blood New England stock, but that didn’t protect her from life’s cruelest blows: the disappearance of Genevieve’s young son, followed by the premature death of her husband. But Genevieve rose from those ashes of grief and built a fashion empire that was respected the world over, even when it meant neglecting her other son.

When Emma’s own mother died, her father abandoned her on his mother’s doorstep. Genevieve took Emma in and reluctantly raised her–until Emma got pregnant her senior year of high school. Genevieve kicked her out with nothing but the clothes on her back…but Emma took with her the most important London possession: the strength not just to survive but to thrive. And indeed, Emma has built a wonderful life for herself and her teenage daughter, Riley.

So what is Emma to do when Genevieve does the one thing Emma never expected of her and, after not speaking to her for nearly two decades, calls and asks for help?


Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins is a poignant, heartwarming and humorous novel of family, new beginnings and healing.

A single mother in her mid-thirties, Emma London is finally establishing herself in her career. She remains estranged from her wealthy paternal grandmother Genevieve who turned her back on her granddaughter when she became pregnant at eighteen. Emma’s beloved grandfather, Pop, took her in and she and her sixteen year daughter Riley still live with him. They are extremely close-knit but Emma is worried about Riley, who has suddenly become moody and uncommunicative. When Genevieve unexpectedly calls to tell her she is dying of cancer and would like to meet Riley, Emma is uncertain whether or not she wants to expose her daughter to her overly critical great-grandmother. But after Riley becomes a victim of bullying from her longtime former “best” friends,  Emma decides a change of scenery will go a long way in helping her daughter. But can a summer with her acerbic grandmother heal their rift?

Genevieve is a harsh woman who became hardened with grief following her young son’s disappearance and her beloved husband’s premature death. Instead of comforting her son Clark, she threw herself into starting her own business. Clark never lived up to her exacting standards and her disappointment in him has never abated. After her daughter-in-law’s death, raising Emma falls on Genevieve’s reluctant shoulders.

Emma is slightly neurotic yet surprisingly upbeat and cheerful. She is a fierce mother bear but she tries to give her daughter the space and privacy she needs to deal with whatever is bothering her.  Emma initially keeps her distance from Genevieve but she is pleasantly surprised at the instant rapport between Riley and her great-grandmother. She finds it surprisingly easy to settle back into her grandmother’s orbit and Emma easily holds her own against Genevieve’s biting comments.

Riley is an absolutely delightful teenager who is quite charmed by her great-grandmother. Their interactions are laced with witty banter as they grow close.  Riley also finally gets the chance to connect with her younger half-brothers and she forms a warm friendship with the son of her great-grandmother’s friends.

Emma unexpectedly  becomes close with Miller Finlay, a widower with a troubled three year daughter, Tess. Miller is struggling with his grief over the death his wife, Ashley.  Young Tess is quite the handful and her mischief creates one of the funniest scenes in the novel.

Life and Other Inconveniences is a captivating family-centric  novel that is deeply affecting. Emma is an endearing woman with enviable strengths and relatable flaws. Riley is a refreshing breath of fresh air who is well-adjusted and genuine.  Genevieve is initially rather off-putting, but she is surprisingly easier to like as she grows close to Riley. The storyline is well-written and fast-paced.  Kristan Higgins brings this heartfelt, entertaining novel to a wonderfully uplifting yet slightly bittersweet conclusion.  I absolutely loved and highly recommend this emotionally compelling novel.

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Filed under Berkley, Contemporary, Kristan Higgins, Life and Other Inconveniences, Rated B+, Review, Women's Fiction