Author: Therese Anne Fowler
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Genre: Women's Fiction
Format: Kindle ARC
No. of Pages: 352
Date of Publication: June 7, 2022
My Rating: 3 Stars
A warm, keenly perceptive novel of sisterhood, heartbreak, home, and what it takes to remake a life at its halfway point, for fans of Ann Patchett and Emma Straub.
Meet the Geller sisters: Beck, Claire, and Sophie, a trio of strong-minded women whose pragmatic, widowed mother, Marti, will be dying soon. Marti has ensured that her modest estate is easy for her family once she’s gone––including a provision that the family’s summer cottage on Mount Desert Island, Maine, must be sold, the proceeds split equally between the three girls.
Beck, the eldest, is a freelance journalist whose marriage looks more like a sibling bond than a passionate partnership. In fact, her husband is hiding a troubling truth about his love life. For Beck, the Maine cottage has been essential to her secret wish to write a novel––and to remake the terms of her relationship.
Despite her accomplishments as a pediatric cardiologist, Claire, the middle daughter, has always felt like the Geller misfit. Recently divorced, Claire’s unrequited love for the wrong man is slowly destroying her, and she’s finding that her expertise on matters of the heart unfortunately doesn’t extend to her own.
Youngest daughter Sophie appears to live an Instagram-ready life, filled with glamorous work and travel, celebrities, fashion, art, and sex. In reality, her existence is a cash-strapped house of cards that may tumble at any moment.
But when C.J. Reynolds, an enigmatic southerner with his own hidden past enters the picture, the future of the Maine cottage––and of the sisters themselves––will take on an entirely new dimension.
Beck, Claire, and Sophie find out that their mother is dying and will be going into hospice, or even palliative care. Before the girls can get to the mother's bedside, she passes away. In fact, their mother held back from telling them how seriously ill she was until it was too late. She didn't want the girls hovering about while she was dying. Her plan was for them to focus on their futures.
Each of the sisters grieve in their own way, all while navigating their own personal drama. Once they get together, there seems to be an unspoken bond between them - and that is to keep up appearances. Beck won't mention how unhappily married she is, Recently divorced Claire is a bit jaded when it comes to love and to men. Lastly, Sophie's life seems to be the most stable, and uses her social media presence to fund a rather glamorous life.
Whether seen or unseen, the sisters must push away their issues to deal with the loss of their mother, especially as they were unable to say goodbye to her. Between the three of them, they must decide what to do with the family cottage in Maine that was left to all of them. This is made especially hard as the sisters all have a strained relationship with each other. Can they get past secrets, lies and more in order to make a decision that will work for all of them?
In dramatic fashion, this story deals with emotions, both good and bad, decision making, with a smidge of romance thrown in. For further thoughts, please enjoy my YouTube video -
Many thanks to St. Martin's Press and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.
Her books are available in every format and in multiple languages, and are sold around the world. Z has been adapted for television by Amazon Studios.
Therese earned a BA in sociology and cultural anthropology and an MFA in creative writing, both from North Carolina State University. She has been a visiting professor and occasionally teaches fiction writing at conferences and workshops. A member of Phi Beta Kappa and PEN America, she is married to award-winning professor and author John Kessel. They reside in North Carolina.