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There’s a moment in Love You Madly, co-written by Daisy Jones and Lucinda Hooley, when one of the characters recalls reading Lyndall Gordon’s memoir Shared Lives and liking it because “it’s South African and about ordinary women and their ordinary lives. Not men’s adventures On the Road or Into the Heart of Darkness.” It’s a description that could apply equally to Jones’s and Hooley’s wonderfully nostalgic, funny and tender novel.

Love you Madly is about two sisters — Marigold (Mare) and Amelia (Mielie) Ashford — and is set in the late 1990s in Cape Town, Johannesburg and London. The sisters leave the family home after the death of their father and set out to do what young people do — find love, find themselves, experience the joys and tragedies of youth. It’s about the first year away from home, about finding your identity in a time caught between the old and new SA...

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