Book Talk Tuesday: SISTERS BY CHOICE

I love opening new books by my favorites authors and a new book by Susan Mallery qualifies in every way.

SISTERS BY CHOICE is her newest and it’s my favorite read of the year so far. We return to Blackberry Island, off the coast of Washington state, in Puget Sound, and spend time with three cousins.

Sophie has just returned to the island to rebuild her cat toy/supplies business after a fire destroyed it in Southern California. She ignores helpful suggestions that she let her employees do their jobs while she does hers. She’s the one who grew the company singlehandedly. She’s the one who knows the company better than anyone else. She’s the one who works tirelessly for the company. She’s also the one who threatens the future of her beloved company by her dogged determination to do it all.

cover-sisters-by-choiceKristine loves life as a homemaker, her husband, and their three sons. She also loves her side career baking the cookies and brownies she sells to local tasting rooms, even as she dreams about opening her own bakery. Because her husband isn’t supportive, Kristine keeps those dreams to herself. Until the perfect location becomes available. Then Kristine may have to choose between her family and her own dreams.

Twenty-year-old Heather skipped going to college off the island to stay home and take financial care of her indolent and demanding mother. She feels trapped and resentful. Sophie bringing her business to Blackberry Island means Heather can quit two of her part-time jobs for one full-time job with the cat toy company. But as Heather learns about business and real life, she also learns she has to take care of herself before she can take care of anyone else.

Mallery writes romance and women’s fiction. SISTERS BY CHOICE is women’s fiction, with a dash of romance. Sophie is determined to stay single, but she meets a man who is just as determined that they deserve a future together. Kristine and her husband have a happy marriage on the outside, but when Kristine shares her dreams, it turns out they have some deep issues that need to be worked out.

I enjoyed seeing all three women grapple with their problems and emerge stronger and with better lives than they thought possible at the beginning of the book. They were cousins, but they support and love each other as sisters should.

I love this book and highly recommend it!

I received a free copy of this book, but that did not induce me to review it favorably.

Book Talk Tuesday: Evening Stars

Nina gave up her life and her dreams of leaving Blackberry Island to give her younger sister Averil the chance to chase her own dream of being a journalist married to the wonderful Kevin.

EVENING STARS, a Blackberry Island novel by Susan MalleryTen years have passed and Nina is still on the island wondering what happened to her life. She’s the responsible one, still watching out for Bonnie, her irrepressible mother, and wondering why she gave up medical school to get Averil off the island if Averil has just returned home with a stray dog but no husband.

Then, her ex who broke her heart returns to the island. But so does a younger man, now a hot-shot Naval pilot, who had a crush on Nina when he was 12 and she was 16. Life gets even more complicated when Nina’s mother purchases an odd lot from a storage company for her local antique store. One item has the potential to change Nina and her family’s lives.

Evening Stars is the third of the Blackberry Island trilogy by Susan Mallery. The characters from book two Three Sisters, Deanna, Boston, and Andi, have supporting roles in Evening Stars, but this is Nina, Averil, and Bonnie’s book.

I liked Nina’s character growth of feeling like she was the only responsible one in her family change into seeing that because she always stepped up, she allowed her mother to go on being irresponsible. And her fear is what kept her on the island, not her responsibilities.

The story is a finely crafted tale of regret and fear and the mixed curse and blessing that is family. I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it!


Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Evening Stars in return for a fair review.