SECRETS OF THE TULIP SISTERS by Susan Mallery

July 14, 2017

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Kelly and her sister Olivia have been estranged for many years. Their mother was the town whore and eventually walked out on the family. Kelly thought that Olivia was just like their mom and convinced their father to send her to boarding school before she ended up a teenage mother. They haven’t seen each other since, so Kelly and her dad, Jeff, are surprised when Olivia shows up.

Kelly and Jeff, run the family business, a tulip farm. They live in a small town about an hour outside of Seattle. Olivia has been living in Phoenix, doing staging for a real estate company. Things are really slow in hot, hot Phoenix in the summer so she decides to spend some time reuniting with her family.

Both girls have serious relationship issues, with each other, their mother, and with men. Kelly was in a five year long relationship and when the guy broke up with her, she really didn’t care. When the boy she had a crush on in high school starts pursuing her, she’s interested. He manufactures tiny homes, like the ones on HGTV, so that was a fun subplot.

Olivia has been following in her mother’s footsteps, happily seducing men but never really having a relationship. And Kelly’s best friend Helen is secretly in love with Jeff, the sisters’ father. All three women have big secrets, but eventually find happiness with each other and the men in their lives. It is a joyful and occasionally painful road to get there.

I learned a bit about tulips, which was nice. I grew up in New York and when I was a kid, I planted tulips every year, then dug the bulbs up again after they finished blooming and stored them in a Barbie doll lunchbox in the garage. Tulips don’t grow in Florida, although I guess you could refrigerate them and fool them into thinking it’s winter but I haven’t tried that. I live in a tropical paradise and while tulips are lovely, I don’t mind not growing any.

I liked the characters a lot and enjoyed spending time with them, even for just one night. There were three romances here and everyone had their happy ending. Another fun read from a terrific storyteller.

7/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

SECRETS OF THE TULIP SISTERS by Susan Mallery. HQN Books (July 11, 2017).  ISBN 978-0373802760.  448p.

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THE LIGHT IN SUMMER by Mary McNear

June 29, 2017

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A Butternut Lake Novel

This was my first time reading this author, and I intend to read more of these Butternut Lake books. This was a really good, fast fun read, perfect for summer.

Of course it probably helps that the main character, Billy, is the small town librarian – that always gets me interested. She is a single mom, the result of a one-night stand, her first time having sex, when she was 18 years old. The father was a fishing guide in Alaska, and by the time she realized that she was pregnant, he had moved on with no forwarding address. Luckily, she has wonderful parents who support her and help her raise her son, Luke.

Fast forward several years and Luke is a young teen. Billy’s dad passed away, and they are both having a hard time dealing with it, but Luke refuses to discuss it. He has made a couple of new friends and is getting into trouble with them – getting suspended on the last day of school, then getting arrested for graffiti. This is a very small town in northern Minnesota, and the cop knows Luke is a good kid so he gets off with just a warning. But Billy is worried about how to handle this new person who is living in her son’s skin.

One day at work, Billy is looking out the window and sees a man driving a Porsche being ticketed. Cal is really good looking and turns out to be staying with his sister for the summer, while going through a divorce and selling off his partnership in a Seattle architecture firm. Eventually, Billy and Cal meet and there is a strong attraction, but things move slowly for a while. Billy is dealing with Luke, and Cal has his issues but they keep bumping into one another and things progress nicely.

This was a one night read for me. I loved these characters and the small town life – an idyllic summer read. Unfortunately, my library only has digital audiobooks of her earlier books – going to have to see what I can do about that!

6/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE LIGHT IN SUMMER by Mary McNear. Thomas Dunne Books (September 6, 2016).  ISBN 978-1250089090.  304p.

Kindle