The Wakes

Dianne Yarwood

The Wakes
Hachette Australia
1 March 2023

The Wakes

Dianne Yarwood

This is a story about Clare, Louisa and Chris. And sometimes Paul, and less often, Beth. It is most certainly not about frittatas (a terrible concession), and more to do with lemon tart (a perfect contrast of textures).

It is about what to do when your husband tells you that he doesn't love you anymore. And what to do when your wife leaves you after too many rounds of IVF. It's about helping your new friend with her funeral catering business, and discovering that, sometimes, the most unlikely of pairings are the very, very best. It is about food that is outrageously good and comforting to sad people. And, for once, not being sensible, and throwing away everything you know.

Catering, like life, doesn't always go according to plan, and as Clare, Louisa and Chris's stories become more intertwined, they will learn that life will always manage to break in to remind you of just how good it can be.

This is a book about living. After all, the thing about death is that it makes life important.


Are you looking for a novel that is going to tease you a little? Perhaps you are after a story with characters in it that seem quirky enough, true enough, even, to remind you of people you know? Do you enjoy reading about situations you have also experienced? And do you understand the power of a good morning bun, or a chicken sandwich? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, then please do yourself a wonderful weekend favour and read The Wakes. It will not take you long because you will not be able to put it down. You will, after all, be reading passages from your own life. (That is, if you are like me: a middle-aged woman!)

Clare and Louisa meet in their Sydney street and form a friendship and a business catering company for funeral wakes. They meet because their lives have been dramatically reconsidered by forces outside their own control. It is a story about funerals, so do be prepared to cry a little. It is also a story about falling out of love; so again, be primed to weep. Overall, though, this is a story about friendship and change and all the power that happens when you finally decide to put your own needs first.

This is Dianne Yarwood’s first novel. I expect she is already writing the next. I also believe that this is the type of novel that will be picked up quick smart by a production company. If you love the work of Toni Jordan, Liane Moriarty, and Trent Dalton, then this debut novel is for you. Have it ready to go for your next weekend away, or that long plane trip, or that empty Tuesday evening. You’re welcome.

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