BOOK REVIEW: Under the Sun by Lottie Moggach (Picador)

When Anna moves to Marea in Spain with her boyfriend, her life seems perfect. After a decade in London, she is ready to set up home in her newly purchased, painstakingly decorated finca and enjoy the warm climate and laid-back lifestyle. Her handsome boyfriend is occasionally moody and complicated – but aren’t all artists? It doesn’t take long, however, before her idyllic life crashes around her.

Before she knows it, her boyfriend has returned to London with little more than a note for explanation, and left Anna alone in their new home feeling homesick and sorry for herself. Despite securing a bar that brings in a meagre income, the bills continue to pile up and Anna embarks on a series of bad decisions, turning to the bottle to drown her sorrows and embarking on an affair with a married man.

When a local businessman approaches her to rent the finca, she thinks her luck is about to change, but the mysterious series of events that follow, including an apparent murder, make her wonder about the man’s intentions. She realises that she is the only one who can change the situation and puts her life on the line to reclaim her home and her life.

While the plot is not necessarily the most gripping, the story is fast-paced and the characters are intriguing. Moggach’s observations on home, family, migration and personal and national identity are well crafted

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