Apples Never Fall is the 2021 follow-up to Liane Moriarty’s very successful 2018 novel Nine Perfect Strangers. Like that bestseller, it has four-hundred-plus pages of domestic Sturm und Drang focusing on interrelationships among family members and, especially, the problems that inevitably corrupt even the best of marriages. Rather than using the perspective of strangers looking inward from the outside, however, the Delaney siblings are already on the inside and looking outward through which the tales are seen. One might even suggest—were one so inclined—that a good alternative title might have been "Six Imperfect Delaneys" as in addition to the offspring, there is also a missing mother and a father whom the police in all their comforting predictably waste little time in naming a person of interest in her disappearance. And on that note, one might also be willing to propose "Little Big Lies" as another potential title.
With her ninth novel following in much the same broadly generalized generic categorization as the previous eight—plotless examinations of flawed but surprisingly empathetic characters trying to navigate the difficulties of modern middle classic domesticity—Moriarty has reached a potentially complicated point in her career. Thanks not only to the welcoming readership of her novels, but the increased potential readership in the audiences that have binged critically acclaimed Hulu adaptations of two of her biggest-selling predecessors to Apples Never Fall, she is ripe for settling into the deceptively cozy environs of becoming less and less a mere writer and more and more a brand. If ever there were a time to take a risk and indulge in a personal challenge to write a story taking place in the past or future and involving not a single husband or wife, it would be now.
Or, looked at another way, if Apples Never Falls enjoys the same success as that which has come before—including the anticipated television adaptation to be produced by David Heyman’s Heyday Television production company—then writing about anything other than flawed but empathetic characters would be sheer lunacy. After all, despite the best intentions and most fervent hopes, the reality is that only a very select number of novelists ever attain make that leap to the recognized brand which currently seems to be laid at Moriarty’s doorstep. When one takes a cursory reading of both professional reviews and those written by fans out of love for their blogs, one thing is inevitable and telling. Almost universally, the message seems to be—whether explicitly asserted or more subtly implied—the same: if you have enjoyed Moriarty’s body of work up to Apples Never Fall, you can almost bet the farm on the odds that you will take her latest to heart as well. And that is the equivalent of hearing the cash register ringing to the folks in working the Liane Moriarty branding department.
The Delaneys are a tight-knit family, but even the best of families have their secrets. When the mother of the Delaneys, Helen, mysteriously disappears after an argument with her husband, the Delaneys are left reeling. Each of the Delaney siblings must grapple with the reality that Helen may never be found and come to terms with the guilt and questions that come with the situation. Meanwhile, their father, Hugh, is under scrutiny by the police and is subjected to a barrage of accusations and suspicions. As the police investigate, the Delaney family must face the truth: their mother may be gone forever.
Apples Never Fall follows the Delaneys as they attempt to come to terms with the possibility of a life without their mother and the guilt of not being able to save her. As the siblings try to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives, they must confront the secrets that were hidden within the family and the lies that were used to keep them hidden. It is a story of love, loss, and the power of family to persevere in even the most trying of times. With its powerful themes and vivid characters, Apple's Never Fall has already won critical acclaim. It is a story that speaks to the power of family and the strength of the human spirit. It is a timely story that reminds us of the importance of cherishing the moments we have with our loved ones, while also teaching us to be honest with ourselves and each other to heal and move forward. With its captivating plot, Apples Never Fall is another must-read from Liane Moriarty.