Just Like Family follows the fictional story of the chief of staff for Toronto’s mayor

In a tweet between author Kate Hilton and myself, Hilton said someone suggested she had a mole at Toronto City Hall as her descriptions of people, situations and procedures seemed bang on.

I do not know if she does in fact have a mole, or secretly works for the City of Toronto, but I do know she did an amazing job of describing the craziness that is Toronto politics in Just Like Family ($22.99, HarperCollins Canada).

You have to wonder how things get done when so many people are working against you.

But despite the circus that is called politics, I loved Just Like Family, which is a perfect summer read.

Just Like Family follows the story of Avery Graham, the chief of staff to Toronto mayor Peter Haines, and a longtime friend. She also has a devoted partner in Matt, her boyfriend of 14 years, a loving family and deep friendships that stretch back to childhood summers at the cottage.

“But when Matt proposes, Avery’s past threatens to engulf her present. Can she contemplate a lifetime commitment to Matt after her disastrous first marriage to Hugh? And is Matt really the love of her life, when she has spent so much of it by Peter’s side? Avery could use some good advice from the women who know her best, but her closest friends, Jenny and Tara, have drifted away over the years.

“When a scandal erupts at city hall, Avery must overcome her deepest fears about love and loss, and discover what it means to be a family.”

I love that you get to know the Avery of today as well as the Avery of  the past through memories of a young girl who spends summers with her parents and friends at the cottage; and a young adult who runs away from the grief of losing her father and ends up marrying her older professor. 9-11 finds its way into the book as well, and it was interested to read the perspective of two Canadians living in New York City at the time.

You also get to know the secondary characters through Avery’s memories, and I liked almost all of them.

There was also a complete mouth-dropping-to-the-floor moment that still makes my blood boil. And the worst of it? You could see it happening.

A great summer read whether you are staying in Toronto or heading north to the cottage.

A copy of this book was provided by HarperCollins Canada for an honest review.               The opinions are my own.

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