Review: The Space Between Sisters by Mary McNear

Title: The Space Between Sisters by Mary McNear
The Butternut Lake Series Book Four
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Women’s Fiction
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


Return to Butternut Lake with New York Times bestselling author Mary McNear in a story where the complicated bonds of sisterhood are tested, long-kept secrets are revealed, and love is discovered…all during one unforgettable summer at the lake.

They are two sisters who couldn’t be more different. Win organized and responsible, plans her life with care. Poppy impulsive and undependable, leaves others to pick up the pieces. But despite their differences, they share memories of the idyllic childhood summers they spent together on the shores of Butternut Lake. Now, thirteen years later, Win, recovering from a personal tragedy, has taken refuge on Butternut Lake, settling into a predictable and quiet life.

Then, one night, Poppy unexpectedly shows up on her sister’s doorstep with her suitcases, an aging cat named Sasquatch, and a mysterious man in tow. Although Win loves her beautiful sister, she wasn’t expecting her to move in for the summer. At first, they relive the joys of Butternut Lake. But their blissful nostalgia soon gives way to conflict, and painful memories and buried secrets threaten to tear the sisters apart.

As the waning days of summer get shorter, past secrets are revealed, new love is found, and the ties between the sisters are tested like never before…all on the serene shores of Butternut Lake.


The Space Between Sisters by Mary McNear is a wonderful novel of family, healing and love.  This fourth installment in The Butternut Lake series can be read as a standalone, but I highly recommend the entire series.

After quitting yet another job, Poppy Robbins shows up unannounced at her sister Win’s cabin on Butternut Lake. Although they were quite close growing up, they have drifted apart during the past few years.  Win is impatient with her sister’s impulsiveness while Poppy is exasperated with her sister’s almost compulsive need for order. Despite their differences and minor annoyances, their relationship easily withstands the friction between them but will their summer together strengthen their bond? Or will the inevitable conflict tear the sisters’ apart?

Poppy floats through life without taking anything or anyone too seriously. She quits jobs, moves and ends relationships at the drop of hat. She is incredibly beautiful yet she is extremely uncomfortable with the attention she receives as a result.  Poppy is kind-hearted but she quickly falls short of her promises to find a job and clean up after herself. After falling in love for the first time in her life, she knows it is time to face the traumatic events from her past but her relationship ends before it has really begun.  Heartbroken, Poppy is unable to discuss her problems with Win and her sister becomes frustrated by her despair.

After their chaotic childhood, Win wanted nothing more than a stable life with someone she could always count on to be there for her.  She met and married the man of her dreams but sadly, she lost her beloved husband to cancer.  Although she still mourns her loss, Win has created a new life for herself in Butternut Lake.  She has a job she loves and she has formed new friendships, but she has no interest in falling in love again.  Although delighted to see Poppy, she soon feels like she is once again living her beautiful sister’s shadow and Win’s self-doubts cause her to lash out at the man is beginning to care for.

The relationship between Win and Poppy is realistically depicted and even though there is not serious conflict between them, these minor irritations and annoyances are definitely easy to relate to.  Although they always try to be supportive of each other, they are also honest with one another, even when the truth is not exactly what the other person wants to hear.  Poppy is harboring a deep secret that she has tried to ignore for years, and when the truth is revealed, Win finally understands much of her sister’s behavior.  While Win’s issues are not as serious as Poppy’s, they are nonetheless something she needs to make peace with in order to find happiness.  Both Win and Poppy find love but their romances are secondary to their personal growth as they work through the underlying problems that have been keeping them moving from moving forward.

The Space Between Sisters is a heartwarming journey of healing for both Win and Poppy.  The characters are well-developed and immensely appealing. The storyline is heartfelt and engaging and readers will need to keep a few tissues handy as the novel moves toward its emotional yet uplifting conclusion. This latest addition to The Butternut Lake series is sure to be a hit with old and new fans of Mary McNear.

1 Comment

Filed under Contemporary, Mary McNear, Rated B+, Review, Romance, The Butternut Lake Series, The Space Between Sisters, William Morrow Paperbacks, Women's Fiction

One Response to Review: The Space Between Sisters by Mary McNear

  1. Timitra

    Thanks for the review Kathy