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By Marie Bostwick
Publication Date: 3/31/2015
My Rating: 4 Stars
A special thank you to Kensington and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
THE SECOND SISTER by Marie Bostwick is an emotional and powerful story of second chances, and with the author’s background she is quite at home with her storylines, as she brings all her characters together for an inspiring and uplifting story of family, hope and healing.
As the book opens, it is Nov, 2016 and Alice is calling Lucy, her sister asking her to come home for Christmas and Lucy explains they will go somewhere warm for Christmas like Disney World, which Alice loves, or of course Washington, since this is where Lucy may be with her political campaign as her boss gets closer to the White House- her life.
A near drowning accident at the age of eighteen had permanently altered Lucy’s sister Alice’s intellect, abilities, and personality. Alice of course wants to have Christmas in Nilson Bay and informed Lucy she has not been home in eight years, since her parents died in a freak single car accident --and when her boss lost his job, and she lost hers and they had returned to Colorado. Eighty hour work weeks and frequent flyer miles is what Lucy is accustomed to, and she could even spring for a trip around the world for Christmas with all the miles she had accumulated.
Lucy spent the first eighteen years of her life in Door County and she does not want to make the trip back to Wisconsin ever again. On the other hand, Alice loves Nilson Bay. At age thirty seven Alice is seventeen months older than herself; however, Alice still has the mind of a teenager and wishes her happy birthday. What was her sister thinking, if her boss won the election, she would need to go to Washington, and if he lost, she would need to start looking for a job! Maybe next year she could visit..
Things drastically change when her cousin calls from Wisconsin notifying her of an accident involving Lucy and pills? She has to go to her, Alice was frightened of hospitals. Now Lucy is feeling guilty as she left the phone off the hook the night before and wonders if Alice took the pills on purpose, as she had a tendency toward depression since her early twenties after a year at college.
However, through plane connections and winter storms, by the time she arrives in Wisconsin, she learns the horrible news, her sister did not make it. Barney was the last living relative, an apple farmer and lifelong bachelor, about twice her age was there and he was an emotional wreck. Now she has arrangements to make in the middle of a campaign election.
Soon thereafter she finds Alice's eccentric will stipulates that Lucy must take up temporary residence in the house before she can inherit it. Then Lucy meets her late sister's friends, a close knit lively group of women who meet regularly to quilt together.
Daphne, a single mother of four daughters. Rinda, a chain-smoking, Bible-touting African American woman and a recovering alcoholic. And finally there's Celia, a gay art teacher who's unlucky in love. Lucy is drawn into their lives and comes to find out how much they cared for her sister. She begins to confront her own past, as well as the guilt that kept her estranged from her sister for so long.
Lucy is accustomed to being independent and not sharing her world with a group of women. What about all the time she missed with her sister? Lucy soon learns we have no guarantees in life and has to forgive herself and the past in order to move on for a second chance. Lucy is driven in her passion for her job and for advancing Tom’s political career; and puts her own life on hold and she has only one friend, Joe.
On the other hand, Alice mentally challenged and childlike in many ways has friends and a life. And now Lucy goes from a busy career to being back in her home town away from work and all she has known, having to decide to sell her home and plan a different future. Then there is Peter, the lawyer.
My first book by Bostwick and am strongly reminded of fellow authors, Debbie Macomber, Sherryl Woods, Emilie Richards, and Mariah Stewart with the warm-hearted stories, quilting, strong women circles, friendships, sisters, family, inspirational, and small town charm.
You come to feel you know the characters as friends and the author’s passion definitely shines through her vivid settings and characters. I enjoyed reading the author’s notes and hearing about the time she and her family spent in Wisconsin and weekend trips to Door County, making you want to visit and enjoy a stroll through the lovely quaint town.
An enjoyable read, THE SECOND SISTER,includes detailed discussion questions and personal reflection – making this an ideal read for book clubs and further discussions with different perspectives.