Review: The Second Sister by Marie Bostwick

The Second Sister by Marie Bostwick
Release Date:  March 31, 2015
Publisher: Kensington
Pages:  353
Source: book provided by NetGalley for review



From New York Times bestselling author Marie Bostwick comes an emotionally rich, inspiring new novel about family, second chances–and the connections that bring women together in hope and healing. . .

Years of long workdays and little sleep as a political campaigner are about to pay off now that Lucy Toomey’s boss is entering the White House. But when her estranged older sister, Alice, unexpectedly dies, Lucy is drawn back to Nilson’s Bay, her small, close-knit, Wisconsin hometown.

An accident in her teens left Alice mentally impaired, and she was content to stay in Nilson’s Bay. Lucy, meanwhile, got out and never looked back. But now, to meet the terms of Alice’s eccentric will, Lucy has taken up temporary residence in her sister’s cottage–and begins to see the town, and Alice’s life, anew. Alice’s diverse group of friends appears to have little in common besides an interest in quilting. Yet deep affection for Alice united them and soon Lucy, too, is brought into the fold as they share problems and stories. And as she finds warmth and support in this new circle, Lucy begins to understand this will be her sister’s enduring gift–a chance to move beyond her difficult past, and find what she has long been missing.  


Review:  While this book is women’s contemporary fiction, The Second Sister, had a lot of depth to not only the storyline but also the characters who were multifaceted and kept me on my toes.  There were many emotions running throughout – sadness, despair, anger, frustration, fighting for causes and second chances, finding oneself, happiness, friendship, peace and acceptance.  Alice and Lucy, as sisters, had a rocky relationship during their childhood because of their parents treatment of them.  Their father seemed to only love Alice for a multitude of reasons and was a very unhappy man living an unfulfilled life.  Whatever blame could be placed at Lucy’s feet for anything that didn’t go the way he wanted, was.  No wonder Lucy wanted to get as far away from Nilson’s Bay, Wisconsin, as she possibly could and never wanted to return or look back.  Not that her adult life was great.  She was a workaholic who was always on the go in Washington, working 24/7, without any friends or love in her life.  Although she and Alice kept in touch after the death of their parents Lucy never gave Alice what she wanted – her to visit their hometown especially for Christmas, but Alice finally got her wish and that’s when the story for me really took off since initially it was a slow read even with all the political machinations going on.

Once I got immersed in their hometown and met the residents and Alice’s friends it was like a different book.  I loved the descriptions of the businesses, the lake and the waterfront, the homes but especially the cottage with the cats, the food, the quilts and the quilting along with the landscape, the ice fishing and the shanty.   Everything was so detailed and vivid that I felt I was there.  The small town feel was welcoming and it was nice to see Lucy finally realize that there was a lot of good in Nilson’s Bay and not always how she remembered it.  There were a lot of reminisces by Lucy, some told to others and some she just relived in her mind but when she finally could talk about her childhood and the eventful day that changed everything in her life, she finally found some peace.  The three quirky women who were known by the townspeople as the Friends of Alice, or FOA,  also eventually became Lucy’s friends.  Watching her get closer to the people she knew growing up and the new friends she made was heartwarming.  She and her childhood friend, Peter had a history but could they also have a future?  There was chemistry but they also fought like cats and dogs and never knew how the other felt back in high school or even now.  There were a lot of twists and turns to the story as well as many surprises along the way.  There were many secrets revealed which just added another layer to the story.  There was some closure with most of the loose ends tied up but there were more that needed to be addressed.   Bostwick was able to intertwine many lives effortlessly even when they seemed to have nothing in common.  When I turned the last page I was sorry to see the story end and an epilogue would have been a nice treat.

Marie Bostwick is an author that I’ve read many times before.  Her Cobbled Court Quilts series is among my favorites even though I don’t quilt.  I loved the way she brought quilting into this book as well although it was totally unexpected.  Her books are always added to my always growing TBR pile as soon as I know she has a new one out.

Favorite Quote:   It was breathtaking especially on such a crisply cold but bright and sunny day in an autumn that was lingering long.  Every breath of wind raised sparking ripples on the endless blue-gray surface of the water and rattled the leaves of the trees, releasing showers of still brilliant yellow, gold, orange and red foliage that floated to the ground like little flags of welcome.