Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Review: The Lemon Sisters by Jill Shalvis


The New York Times bestselling author of Rainy Day Friends and Lost and Found Sisters returns to Wildstone, California...


THE LEMON SISTERS by JILL SHALVIS
Series: Wildstone #3
Publication date: June 18, 2019
Published by: William Morrow
Genre: women's fiction

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SYNOPSIS

Brooke Lemon has always led the life she wanted, wild adventures—and mistakes—included, something her perfect sister, Mindy, never understood. So when Mindy shows up on Brooke’s doorstep in the throes of a break-down with her three little kids in tow, Brooke’s shocked.

Wanting to make amends, Brooke agrees to trade places, taking the kids back to Wildstone for a few days so Mindy can pick up the pieces and put herself back together. What Brooke doesn’t admit is she’s just as broken . . . Also how does one go home after seven years away? It doesn’t take long for Brooke to come face-to-face with her past, in the form of one tall, dark, sexy mistake. But Garrett’s no longer interested. Only his words don’t match his actions, leaving Brooke feeling things she’d shoved deep.

Soon the sisters begin to wonder: Are they lemons in life? In love? All they know is that neither seems to be able to run far enough to outpace her demons. And when secrets surface, they’ll have to learn that sometimes the one person who can help you the most is the one you never thought to ask.

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Praise for Jill Shalvis:

“Sisterhood takes center stage in this utterly absorbing novel. Jill Shalvis balances her trademark sunny optimism and humor with unforgettable real-life drama. A book to savor--and share.”
- Susan Wiggs, New York Times Bestselling Author

“Jill Shalvis’s books are funny, warm, charming and unforgettable.”
- RaeAnne Thayne, New York Times bestselling author

“The Lemon Sisters is full of Shalvis’ signature verve and wit; it touches on sisterhood and forgiveness while also serving up plenty of romance. The perfect beach read for any romance reader.”
- Booklist

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras with her family and far too many assorted quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. 

Look for Jill's latest, LOST AND FOUND SISTERS on shelves and e-readers now, and get all her bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold. 

Visit Jill's website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.
You can find her on:
Twitter | Instagram | Website | Goodreads | Facebook


REVIEW

The Lemon Sisters: A NovelThe Lemon Sisters: A Novel by Jill Shalvis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Jill Shalvis is one of my auto-buy authors. Whether she's writing women's fiction or contemporary romance, her stories always resonate in some way with me. They're effortless, sexy, and a guaranteed comfort read. Of course I liked some better than others, but I haven't come across one that I didn't enjoy. The Wildstone women's fiction series has a strong influence of romance which isn't always the case in the genre. I like the fact that I can rely on the same things we get in her romances, while exploring the family dynamic and conflict with a little more depth.

The Lemon Sisters is about two sisters, Brooke and Mindy who are estranged and facing a personal crisis. These two women couldn't be more different from one another if they tried. Brooke was always the free-spirited, adventure loving sister. The one who wasn't satisfied with small town life, and left to experience the world through the lens of her camera. She was high on life, adrenaline, and freedom to do what she pleased. Mindy settled down in their hometown, married and started a family, and ran her parents' business in town. She's a people pleaser, organizing everyone and everything around her in the attempt to be perfect. Now she's having a mental health crisis, stressed beyond belief and has nowhere to turn. So she seeks out the sister she hasn't been in contact with for seven years in a desperate plea for help.

    She’d spent most of her life trying to be perfect, which had finally sucked the soul out of her and left her feeling like she was free-falling into an abyss.

From the outside, Brooke seems to have it all: a successful career at a travel reality show, a nice home, and fantastic friends. On the inside she struggles with OCD, anxiety, and crippling guilt over a tragic event in her past. She's completely isolated herself from her family, and won't let the few people in her life know what she struggles with. Everything is internalized, and always has been. Which doesn't do much to solve anything, but she realizes that something finally has to give. She misses her old life, before. Before the accident that led her down the lonely path she's on, and stole her passion for life. Both sisters are burned out, and at their wits end. They know they have to start making some serious changes. So Brooke takes a brave step to mending their broken relationship and heads back to Wildstone.

    It wasn’t adventure that kept her away from Wildstone. Shame, maybe. Okay, definitely. And regrets. Lots of regrets. She’d been haunted by them for seven years, throughout which she’d stayed away from her childhood town, only four hours north of here.

Brooke has two goals in going back home. To reconcile her relationship with her sister and to make peace with the man she ran from without getting closure. Garrett grew up with her and the three of them were close friends, and eventually he became something more. Even back then, she kept her distance emotionally, but deep inside she knows they could have had something permanent if she had reached for it. She has a lot of mistakes to make up for, and she doesn't feel as if she deserves forgiveness necessarily but she knows she can't continue the way things have been. Brooke quickly realizes that stepping into Mindy's life isn't going to be quite as easy as she had planned. The kids, the schedule, and a broody Garrett right next door have her nerves frayed in no time.

I enjoyed Brooke's perspective the most. I was interested to find out what exactly happened after the helicopter crash, and why she felt the need to cut and run from everyone. It was really heartbreaking when she finally opened up to Garrett and shared with him how she had been struggling for so many years. At the same time, I felt worse for him because she had left him in the dark for so long and the woman he once loved was stirring up all kinds of emotions that he was scared to feel again. He didn't trust that she would have the courage to stay and leave herself vulnerable. Beyond their relationship issues, she's also working through her own fears an inability to do the things she once loved. Later on, a conflict crops up with Garrett and his own family and he must do his own soul searching to decide if he's willing to forgive and fight for what he wants.

Mindy I couldn't really connect with as much. I thought she was really judgemental and controlling which kind of got on my nerves a bit. Yes, she was overwhelmed in her family life and trying to keep her head above water. But she was quick to overreact and slow to listen to others. She also seemed pretty ungrateful about what Brooke was doing for her. I get that she was holding onto some resentment, but her jealousy and animosity made her a little more difficult to sympathize with.

Overall, I thought this was solidly entertaining, holding my interest from beginning to end. Shalvis included lots of humor through her usual menagerie of pets as well as some very high energy children. While I didn't feel as emotionally invested in Brooke and Garrett's second chance romance as I should have been, I was still rooting for them to finally break through the pride and hurt that had been keeping them apart for so long.

If you're thinking of starting the series, don't hesitate. I may not have loved this one as much as her others but there is always something substantial to take away from her stories. It's important to note: you do not have to read this series in order. They are very loosely tied together with no overlap in plotlines.


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