Title: Sisters by Choice by Susan Mallery
Blackberry Island Series Book Four
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 448 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
From the New York Times bestselling author of California Girls comes an all new original Blackberry Island novel told with Susan Mallery’s trademark humor and charm. Sisters by Choice is a heartfelt tale of love, family and the friendships that see us through.
Cousins by chance, sisters by choice…
After her cat toy empire goes up in flames, Sophie Lane returns to Blackberry Island, determined to rebuild. Until small-town life reveals a big problem: she can’t grow unless she learns to let go. If Sophie relaxes her grip even a little, she might lose everything. Or she might finally be free to reach for the happiness and love that have eluded her for so long.
Kristine has become defined by her relationship to others. She’s a wife, a mom. As much as she adores her husband and sons, she wants something for herself—a sweet little bakery just off the waterfront. She knew changing the rules wouldn’t be easy, but she never imagined she might have to choose between her marriage and her dreams.
Like the mainland on the horizon, Heather’s goals seem beyond her grasp. Every time she manages to save for college, her mother has another crisis. Can she break free, or will she be trapped in this tiny life forever?
Sisters by Choice by Susan Mallery is an emotionally compelling novel of new beginnings. This newest release is the forth installment in the Blackberry Island series but can be read as a standalone.
Thirty four year old Sophie Lane returns to Blackberry Island after a fire destroys her business. She is grateful to have the support of her cousin Kristine Fielding but Sophie is struggling with rebuilding her business. Overwhelmed by starting over, she impulsively hires her twenty year cousin Heather Sitterly along with Heather’s manipulative mother Amber. Not long after, Kristine unexpectedly faces a crisis in her marriage when husband Jaxsen vehemently objects to her plans to open a bakery. Sophie, Kristine and Heather are incredibly supportive as each of them confronts the issues that are standing in their way as they attempt to make needed changes in their lives.
Sophie is a strong-willed, controlling woman who micromanages everyone who works for her. She has no personal life since she spends the majority of her days at work. Kristine convinces her cousin to join a Tai Chi class where gorgeous instructor Dugan catches Sophie’s eye. As she resists giving up control at work, Dugan offers thought-provoking advice that often infuriates her. Sophie has serious trust issues that threaten to derail both her business plans and her budding romance with Dugan. With her goal of expanding her lucrative business into new markets, will Sophie understand she is not the expert she believes herself to be?
Kristine is a stay at home mom to three sons. She also runs a successful baked goods business on the side. Kristine has long dreamed of opening her own bakery and when the perfect store becomes available, she is finally ready to put her plans into action. However, she is completely stunned by Jaxsen’s reaction when she finally reveals her business plan. Forced to take a hard look at her marriage and her own behavior, Kristine must decide if she will put aside her own aspirations in the face of Jaxsen’s obstinate refusal to support her desire to be more than a wife and mother.
Heather is working several jobs to support herself and her lazy, entitled mother. Caught in a vicious cycle of wanting to leave Blackberry Island and always giving in to Amber’s demands, Heather is absolutely miserable. Grateful for the opportunity for valuable work experience, she throws herself into her new job at Sophie’s business. Out of her depth yet determined to succeed, Heather must soon decide whether she will do what is best for her instead of always acquiescing to Amber. Will Heather find the courage and strength to extricate herself from her toxic relationship with her mother?
Sisters by Choice is a thought-provoking novel with realistic characters and true to life issues to overcome. Sophie is a little overbearing but her rougher edges begin to smooth as she becomes more self-aware of how unreasonable she can sometimes be. Kristine must break her pattern of always giving in during disagreements with her husband. Jaxsen loves his wife, but his intransigence over the bakery endangers their marriage. Heather is a sympathetic young woman who is facing a tough choice that could have long lasting repercussions for her future. Amber is a thoroughly unlikable woman who makes no effort to take responsibility for her increasingly despicable actions. With believable character growth and surprising solutions to the characters’ various situations, Susan Mallery brings this charming novel to an uplifting conclusion. Old and new fans will enjoy this latest addition the Blackberry Island series.