Monday, July 6, 2020

Review: Sisters by Choice by Susan Mallery

Sisters by Choice (Blackberry Island, Book $4)
by Susan Mallery
Release Date: February 11th 2020
2020 MIRA
Kindle Edition; 367 Pages
ISBN: 978-0778310020
Genre: Fiction / Contemporary
Source: Review copy from publisher

2.5 / 5 Stars

After her cat toy empire goes up in flames, Sophie Lane returns to Blackberry Island, determined to rebuild. Until small-town life reveals a big problem: she can’t grow unless she learns to let go. If Sophie relaxes her grip even a little, she might lose everything. Or she might finally be free to reach for the happiness and love that have eluded her for so long.

Kristine has become defined by her relationship to others. She’s a wife, a mom. As much as she adores her husband and sons, she wants something for herself—a sweet little bakery just off the waterfront. She knew changing the rules wouldn’t be easy, but she never imagined she might have to choose between her marriage and her dreams.

Like the mainland on the horizon, Heather’s goals seem beyond her grasp. Every time she manages to save for college, her mother has another crisis. Can she break free, or will she be trapped in this tiny life forever?

My Thoughts
Sisters by Choice is a really hard review to write as I typically love books by this author, but I have to admit this one didn't resonate with me at all.  Other than the writing style, and maybe Kristine's story arc, I couldn't for the life of me empathize with Sophie and really disliked Amber.  When someone gets rewarded for their bad behaviour, towards their daughter as well as in their job, it really leaves a bad taste in my mouth, family or not.

The book is told in multiple POV, following the lives of three women: Sophie, a woman returning home after her business was destroyed by a fire; Kristine, determined to open up a bakery despite resistance from her husband; and Heather, trying to escape the Island and go to school despite roadblocks from a bitter and nasty parent.   While I always enjoy this author's writing style, I just couldn't bring myself to like most of these story arcs and I think it comes down to character development.  Other than Kristine, none of these women really learned anything other than to whine and complain about their lives and it got old, fast.

Kristine was pretty much the only story line that I liked, despite a husband who was childish and insensitive.  And to be honest, even his reasons for running away were flimsy at best.  He's a grown man, and he runs away because of that?!?!  If I was married to him, I would need some serious counselling too.  But what I did like in this story arc was the approach taken about stay-at-home moms and the stereotypes, even how the children may view their moms who stay at home.  It's important for people to value the job that a stay-at-home mom does.  I liked how Kristine needed to find something to do for herself that was outside the home now that her boys were growing older.

Okay, Sophie.  Didn't care for her at all.  She was whiny, arrogant, and downright annoying.  Personally, I got a bit tired listening to her rant about problems when she never learned from any of her mistakes, and the little things she did to ensure people knew she was the boss were downright annoying.  I'm also not really sure why she really needed a love interest at all as I didn't like her romance with Dugan, and I didn't really feel any fireworks or anything.  And all of a sudden, he was holding out for her to love him, gosh help me.  Couldn't they just enjoy each other's company for a while and see how it went?  Plus, he was just as annoying as Sophie, kind of smug and condescending.  And I'm really not sure why the author had to really push the 'no kids' thing so much; I think having a simple conversation would have been so much more adult as it made Sophie look really silly.

And now the piece de resistance, Amber and Heather.  There is nothing good to say about Amber as a character.  And then she was rewarded at the end.  Awful stuff, which left a really bad feeling in my mouth.  No thanks!

Sister By Choice is one of those books I struggled to write a review as I typically love books by this author.  However, I have to say that neither the characters nor the story did anything for me and I was a bit sad over this.  However, the author's writing style was great as always and that was the strength of the book.  Will that stop me from reading another book by this author?  Definitely not.  Her previous books in this series were fun, and I am looking forward to future books in this series.  This one though, was not for me, but others may enjoy it more than I did. 



Post a Comment