From the publisher:
Beloved bestselling author Susan Mallery brings readers an emotional, witty, and heartfelt story that explores the nuances of a broken family’s complex emotions as they strive to become whole in this uplifting story of human frailty and resilience.
Finley McGowan is determined that the niece she’s raising will always feel loved and wanted. Unlike how she felt after her mom left to pursue a dream of stardom, and when the grandfather who was left to raise them abandoned her and her sister, Sloane, when they needed him most. Finley reacted to her chaotic childhood by walking the straight and narrow—nose down, work hard, follow the rules.
Sloane went the other way.
Now Sloane is back, as beautiful and as damaged as ever…and she wants a relationship with her daughter. She says she’s changed, but Finley’s heart has been burned once too often for her to trust easily. But is her reluctance to forgive really about Sloane or worry over losing what she loves the most? With the help of a man who knows all too well how messy families can be, Finley will learn there’s joy in surrendering and peace in letting go.
“Mallery beautifully illustrates the power of female friendship and the importance of reaching for one’s dreams.”—Publishers Weekly
“Mallery is an expert at writing about strong women, their friendships, and their romances.” —Booklisthttps://amzn.to/407bR1T
Susan Mallery is one of my favorite authors, and this book is a good example of why. The sisters are Sloane, a recovering alcoholic, and Finley, who is raising Sloane’s daughter. Sloane hit rock bottom after she stole Finley’s work truck with over a $100,000 worth of plumbing fixtures, sold them for pennies, and crashed the truck. She dried out in prison and when she got out, she started working the AA program. Her ex was killed and that’s how Finley ended up with her niece, and after she paid back her boss for the stolen fixtures by maxing out her credit cards, they end up living with Finley’s mother, Molly.
Molly floated in and out of her daughters’ lives in her pursuit of stardom. Her father, Lester, was the stabilizing influence in their lives until her mother decided to return home permanently. She forced the girls to choose between her and their grandfather, and he was so hurt that they chose their mom that he disappeared from their lives altogether. Until he got old and sick, and Molly decided to take him in.
Finley is a plumber and meets the owner of the construction company that is building this new neighborhood that she is working in. Jericho is a really nice guy, not to mention good looking, who has some family troubles of his own. His wife and his brother had an affair, he got divorced and stopped talking to both of them, but his mother is not happy about that. When his ex announces she is pregnant and they are getting married, his brother has the nerve to ask him to be his best man. He refuses, but eventually his mother wears him down.
Finley and Jericho become friends, commiserating with each other about their horrible families. Eventually, they become more than friends, but while their romance is a subplot here, the real story is about the sisters. Finley has a lot of resentment about her life, with good reason. She feels like she has always done the right thing, but all this horrible stuff happens to her. She is not interested in her sister’s sobriety other than making sure her niece is kept safe. We learn a lot about alcoholism and the toll it takes on the family in this moving, emotional read. I fell into this story and couldn’t stop turning the pages. I was rooting for everyone to find their happy ending, and they did. I loved this unputdownable read that is perfect for book discussion. Don’t miss it!
3/2023 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
THE SISTER EFFECT by Susan Mallery. HQN; Original edition (March 7, 2023). ISBN: 978-1335448644. 416p.