If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all. - Oscar Wilde
We shouldn't teach great books; we should teach a love of reading. - B. F. Skinner
No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting. - Mary Wortley Montagu

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Review: Secrets of the Tulip Sisters by Susan Mallery / @TLCBookTours @SusanMallery

Title: Secrets of the Tulip Sisters
Author: Susan Mallery
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | Newsletter
Publisher: HQN Books
Release Date: July 11, 2017
Genre: Contemporary, Women's Fiction
ARC Received From: 
Reviewed For: TLC Book Tours

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Daughters of the Bride comes the charming tale about the problem with secrets, the power of love and the unbreakable bond between sisters.

Kelly Murphy's life as a tulip farmer is pretty routine—up at dawn, off to work, lather, rinse, repeat. But everything changes one sun-washed summer with two dramatic homecomings: Griffith Burnett—Tulpen Crossing's prodigal son, who's set his sights on Kelly—and Olivia, her beautiful, wayward and, as far as Kelly is concerned, unwelcome sister. Tempted by Griffith, annoyed by Olivia, Kelly is overwhelmed by the secrets that were so easy to keep when she was alone.

But Olivia's return isn't as triumphant as she pretends. Her job has no future, and ever since her dad sent her away from the bad boy she loved, she has felt cut off from her past. She's determined to reclaim her man and her place in the family…whether her sister likes it or not. For ten years, she and Kelly have been strangers. Olivia will get by without her approval now.

While Kelly and Olivia butt heads, their secrets tumble out in a big hot mess, revealing some truths that will change everything they thought they knew. Can they forgive each other—and themselves—and redefine what it means to be sisters?

Told with Mallery's trademark heart and humor, the Tulip Sisters are in for the most colorful summer of their lives…

Family can be hard, you know? Everyone's different. And then life happens and everything just...changes. Time, distance, environment, and circumstances add to those changes, shaping and reshaping who we are. Given a chance though those differences can be reconciled. Wounds can be healed. Relationships mended.

Good? Bad? Depends, I think, on how willing one is to accept the new changes that come.

Kelly and Olivia's relationship is non-existent. Divorce tore their family apart. Actions kept one at home and the other sent away. They created lives that didn't include one another, and why should it? The sisters are as different as water and sand, bread and meat. But they find themselves in each other's lives once again after almost ten years apart. The differences couldn't be more apparent.

While the romance in this story is very much appreciated by this reader, the path to happiness for each sister, as individuals and as siblings, was appreciated even more. Relationships aren't easy, romantic or not. Trust isn't easily given but it is easily broken. Common ground can shift at any time, leaving one or both feel disconnected. Love--as friends, as sisters--is difficult to feel when a barren emotional wasteland lies between them. How do you make loveliness grow when you have no idea how to do it?

I loved the romantic aspect of this story but it was just a side note for me. The beauty of this was the homecoming, reuniting, and rebuilding of what Kelly and Olivia lost years ago. It wasn't easy. Kelly was warm and likeable from the beginning. Olivia...was not. It took some time but I came around. She's a character worth knowing.

There are secrets to be revealed. Truths to be told. It was a relief as each was brought to light. The invisible weight that seemed to settle on the story at the beginning gradually lifted until everything was laid on the table for all to see. Like getting to know Olivia, this was the worth the wait. It brought about so much for me: closure, completion, newness.

I stated in a previous review that women's fiction is a genre I really need to get into. The dynamics of relationships and self-knowledge are incredible. It's different from romance because the romance between a woman and her female counterparts is different. It's love but not romantic. It's love that pulls two people together and weaves their lives into an intricate design of friendship that is strong enough to withstand whatever comes their way. Their friendship and love for each other grows in ways they didn't think possible.

It's the kind of friendship many women have in real life, that many more wish they had.

Ms. Mallery isn't a new to me author. I've heard of her, read the synopsis for more than one book, but this is the first time I was compelled to actually read one of her books. I'm so glad I did. There's a real-ness to her story that spoke to my heart and made me smile when Happily Ever After finally came around.

Susan Mallery is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of books about the relationships that define women’s lives—romance, friendship, family. With compassion and humor, Susan keenly observes how people think and feel, in stories that take readers on an emotional journey. Sometimes heartbreaking, often funny, and always uplifting, Susan’s books have spent more than 200 weeks on the USA Today bestsellers list, thanks to her ever growing legions of fans.

Critics, too, have heaped praise on “the new queen of romantic fiction.” (Walmart) Booklist says, “Romance novels don’t get much better than Mallery’s expert blend of emotional nuance, humor, and superb storytelling,” and RT Book Reviews puts her “in a class by herself!”

Although Susan majored in Accounting, she never worked as an accountant because she was published straight out of college with two books the same month, January of 1992. Sixteen prolific years and seventy-four books later, she hit the New York Times bestsellers list for the first time with Accidentally Yours in 2008. She made many appearances in the Top 10 before (finally) hitting #1 in 2015 with Thrill Me, the twentieth book in her most popular series, the Fool’s Gold romances, and the fourth of five books released that year.

Susan lives in Seattle with her husband, two ragdoll cats, and a tattletale toy poodle. Her heart for animals has led Susan to become an active supporter of the Seattle Humane Society. Animals play a big role in her books, as well, as she believes they’re an integral component to a happy life.