And Now There's Zelda by Carolyn Clarke presents
another engaging family drama, a clever exploration of the challenges of
familial relationships. The narrative unfolds five years after Allison
Montgomery's father-in-law, George, passes away, leading to her tetchy
mother-in-law, Margaret, moving in. Despite initial clashes, Allie and Margaret
have managed to not only coexist but thrive as business partners in a home
staging venture. However, their harmony is disrupted when Allie's son, Cameron,
brings home Zelda, his mysterious fiancée. Allie doesn’t feel like she can trust
Zelda and even though she is not ready to be a mother-in-law, she sees much in
Zelda to worry about. Margaret is just there to offer advice.
The novel cleverly taps into the universal theme of
navigating in-law relationships and introduces readers to the amusingly titled “Project
Zelda.” Allie and Margaret join forces in an intervention aimed at unraveling
the enigma that is Zelda and preventing a potentially disastrous union. Clarke excels
at weaving humor into the narrative, infusing the narrative with relatable scenes
and laugh-out-loud moments that keep them wanting more. The author writes about
everyday life with intelligence and introduces a resonant family conflict.
The prickling prose and the captivating dialogues enrich this narrative, and
the author’s gift for character shines through every finely drawn character. Allie
and Margaret have contrasting personalities and the author exploits them
cleverly. And Now There's Zelda is a delightful read for readers who
enjoy a family-focused narrative with a blend of humor and realism. Fans of Little
Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng and The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan will
adore Clarke's novel. It is filled with heart and drama.