Monday, March 9, 2020

Review: The Moonglow Sisters by Lori Wilde

As an older sister myself, I have a soft spot for stories about sisters. My own relationship with my sister has changed in ways big and small over the years, evolving from the days I declared to my mother that she was my baby, not my mom's, to being irritated with her always wanting to tag along with me, to being friends. We are quite different as adults but we will always have a bond and despite occasional frustrations (probably on both our parts), there's no one I'd rather be stuck with as a sister. So when I saw the premise of Lori Wilde's new book, The Moonglow Sisters, I was quite excited to read it. Unfortunately it didn't quite live up to what I'd hoped.

The three Clark sisters were once as close as sisters could be.  Orphaned young and sent to live with the grandmother they had no idea existed in Moonglow Cove, Texas, the golden haired girls were nicknamed the Moonglow Sisters. Madison, the oldest, was always organized and in charge, carefully controlled, caring for her younger sisters as if she was another parent. Middle sister Shelley looked just like their late mother but was the impetuous, wild, and carefree rebel of the family. Little sister Gia was the peacemaker, bridging the gap between her two wildly different sisters, wanting only for everyone to get along and be happy, the consummate people pleaser. But after "The Incident with Raoul", the sisters' relationship was broken. Maddie fled to New York, launched a very successful lifestyle TV show and became famous. Shelley escaped to Costa Rica and hadn't been home since. Gia went to college and then to Japan to study under a famous kitemaker, before coming back to Moonglow Cove and the beach to try and make a go of it with her kite business. When their dear Grammy is diagnosed with a glioblastoma and must have brain surgery, she instructs her best friend, Darynda not to tell Gia until the surgery is underway. At the same time, Gia will read the letter that Grammy has written, asking her to finish the quilt they'd all left unfinished so long ago. But she must call her sisters home to help her finish it. The question is whether the three women, still nursing their hurts, can get past what happened 5 years ago with Raoul, can share their secrets, and unravel the misunderstandings that tore them apart even as each sister faces her own role in their rift, learns truths about herself, and changes in order to move on.

Opening with Grammy penning the letter to the sisters before her surgery, the sisters are described as very different but each a vital part of one complete kite. In one sense this makes sense in that the letter is written to Gia, the kitemaker, but since the rest of the story uses quilt imagery, this seems a bit of an incongruous analogy, especially as Grammy herself is a quilter. In the letter she exhorts Gia to "repair the riff" between the sisters. And while using the word riff instead of rift could be a dialect thing, there are no other instances of dialect terms. And it's hard for me to get past an obvious mistake like that right off the bat. The three sisters are drawn as very different in personality and they stay strictly true to those depictions throughout the novel. They each guard their secrets carefully even if sharing them could have made life far easier very quickly. As the sisters and the town come together to help save the Moonglow Inn (and just why the town is so invested in the sisters is unclear other than they were once close to each other), they will have to reveal themselves, laid open and honest. All three of the women learn their life lesson at almost exactly the same time, leading to three major climaxes all at once. Gia's pretend engagement to next door neighbor Mike, undertaken as the way to keep the sisters together to work on the quilt, is the romance thread of the plot and it can't decide if this is a romance or a women's fiction novel. Whatever it is, it has one of the strangest sex scenes I've ever read (unnecessary as well). The deus ex machina moment with Raoul returning, forcing the sisters to finally have it out over "The Incident with Raoul" comes completely out of the blue and the epilogue is awkward and too much, too tidy. The novel tries to tackle a lot of issues: perfectionism, family, cheating, miscarriage, cults, sex addiction, cancer, homosexuality, intolerance, being orphaned, healing, and communication with varying degrees of success. The biggest reveal of the novel was completely obvious from the beginning, so it just petered out. The novel felt muddled to me and I'm still not sure whether I want to be team quilts or team kites.  A quick, uncomplicated read, it needed tightening and focus.  Others really like this a lot though so if you're looking for a light, easy beach read, maybe this one will be for you.

For more information about Lori Wilde and the book, check our her author site, follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, look at the book's Goodreads page, follow the rest of the blog tour, or look at the reviews for others' thoughts and opinions on the book.

Thanks to Trish from TLC Book Tours and publisher William Morrow for sending me a copy of this book to review.

1 comment:

  1. I always appreciate when an author tackles bigger issues not often put into stories, so I'll have to give this one a try. Thank you for being on this tour! Sara @ TLC Book Tours


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