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The Moonglow Sisters (edition 2021)
by Lori Wilde (Author)
The Moonglow Sisters: A Novel by Lori Wilde
No current Talk conversations about this book.
Gia calls her sisters to come home when she receives a letter from their grandmother who is dying. She wants them to finish a quilt and forgive each other. When the three sisters meet up again each resumes her role in the family and things get heated and truths come out.
I enjoyed this book. Each sister is a part of me and I could identify. Maddie feels responsible for everything and everyone as I do. The others call her a control freak. Shelley is a free spirit who does things impulsively and gets into trouble. The others believe she needs watching. I get the same thing from my family. Gia is the peacemaker according to the rest. I could identify with her keeping quiet to maintain the peace. When it all blows up, WOW! It shakes them all up and leads to many secrets being exposed.
This is a keeper. There is some romance but it is understated but it made me happy as I read it.
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.
As the book opens we learn of the three Moonglow sisters and how, at one time they were to tight that nothing could come between them. But then something did. That something was “the incident with Raoul” which is always presented in italics and I swear each and every time I saw it I pictured the characters doing a spit take with dramatic music playing.
This “incident” drove the sisters apart; Madison went off to New York to become a famous Martha Stewart like TV personality. Shelley went to Costa Rica to find herself and Gia stayed in Moonglow Cove with her grandmother who owns the Moonglow Inn. But now Grammy has a brain tumor and she wants the girls she raised as her own to come back and heal their rift. They used to quilt together and they left a quilt unfinished. In a letter to Gia she has instructed her to get them all to finish the quilt and forgive each other. Easy, right – because, “the incident with Raoul.”
The whole family is keeping secrets but as they worry about their grandmother the girls work towards rebuilding their trust and becoming close again. They need to work together for they find that Grammy too has been keeping secrets – the Inn is almost in forclosure. Will they be able to put all their ill will aside and pull together to save the Inn? Will Grammy survive her brain surgery to see them again?
There are several subplots going on in the book as each sister and Grammy have their own story to tell along with the overarching tale of why the girls’ relationship broke apart. The books hits a myriad of plot points from brain cancer, miscarriage, cults, same sex relationships, sex addiction, quilting, kite building, small town gossips and I am sure I have missed some. It is admittedly a lot to cover in one book and some topics are better dealt with than others.
It was a light and easy read that I finished in one afternoon. It’s the kind of book you take to the beach for an afternoon’s diversion or to sit under a blanket on a rainy day. You get to know the characters quickly, they are familiar and welcome. There are some surprises along the way but other supposed surprises are patently obvious from the start. It’s rather like a plain milk chocolate bar; delicious and sweet but in need of a little crunch.
I am a sucker for sister stories and other than being a bit too long this was a perfect Sunday read. Three sister who grew up picking Moonglow pears, blasting music from their boom box and singing “Who Let the Dogs Out”, giggling, laughing, enjoying their sisterliness (is that even a word?)
Madison, the eldest, “is the solid anchor on the ground”, Shelly, the middle daughter who has been MIA for the past five years, “is the high-flying kite” and Gia, the baby of the family “is the string that keeps the two connected.” A wedding parted the sisters and a tragedy pulls them back to their family home in Moonglow Cove, Texas. They are going to have to decide if they can put their pride, hurt, and raw emotions in a box with the lid screwed down so they can work together and help their grandmother who is gravely ill.
Lots of emotions running wild and turning rational women into screaming banshees. Lots of harsh words being flung and landing hard. So much forgiving is required but it is such a slippery slope. Two steps forward, three back, half truths, partial truths, mistakes, misjudgments, all the things that often define family dynamics. Did I mention the hunk living next door? A definite positive like it a lot element.
Thank you NetGalley and HarperCollins Publishers - William Morrow Paperbacks for a copy.
It's Jill Shalvis meets Susan Mallery in this gorgeous novel by New York Times bestselling author Lori Wilde about three sisters, one small town, a wedding, and the summer that changes everything. Welcome to Moonglow Cove, Texas, a place where your neighbors know your name and the gentle waves of the Gulf of Mexico lap lazily against the sands. It's a magical spot, especially in the summertime... Once the town was the home of the Clark sisters--brought up by their grandmother at the Moonglow Inn. Nicknamed "The Moonglow Sisters", as children they were inseparable. Then, a wedding-day betrayal tore them apart and they scattered across the globe and away from each other. But the sisters have at last come home... There's Maddie: smart, sensible, and stubborn. Shelley, who ran off to find her bliss. And Gia, a free-spirit determined to keep the peace. It's her impending wedding that keeps them together...but Gia has a secret, and when her sisters find out all heck is going to break loose! The Moonglow Sisters continues Lori Wilde's trademark storytelling to create an unforgettable novel of family, betrayal, love, and second chances.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)813.6 — Literature English (North America) American fiction 21st Century
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The Moonglow sisters are the three Clark girls, Madison, Shelley, and Gia, who grew up with their grandmother Helen Chapman at the Moonglow Inn in Moonglow Cove after their parents' deaths in a skiing accident. Madison's ruined wedding separated the girls for many years, but they come back together when their grandmother becomes deathly ill.
The girls have a lot of history and bad feelings to work through, and there are lots of other issues worked in the story - a miscarriage and a cult for starters - maybe too many issues. In a way, all these plot lines reminded me of romance tropes, as Wilde is quite skilled at weaving more than one of those in her romances. I think she needs more practice doing so in women's fiction.
Gia, the youngest, mostly stayed in Moonglow Cove after studying kitemaking in Japan, and convinces their long-time next door neighbor, hunky Mike, to pretend to be her fiancé in order to get her sisters to stay and finish the wedding quilt Helen wanted them to complete. Gia's and Mike's pretend romance becomes real (friends to lovers trope) and that is probably the strength of the book, given Wilde's extensive experience in that genre. Gia is also the most balanced sister and best developed character in the book.
Twilight is based on my current Texas residence of Granbury. In a letter from the author at the end of the book, Wilde says, "I vacationed in Galveston every summer for thirteen years, soaking up the fascinating history. I borrowed heavily from those experiences while creating Moonglow Cove, adding in dashes of other Texas coastal towns I visited - Port Aransas, Corpus Christi, and South Padre Island among them." The setting reminded me more of Port Aransas than Galveston, although the Moonglow pears that also inspired Wilde don't grow on the Texas coast.
Despite all this, the book served its purpose as a light read for the holiday season. Given the setting, a vacation/beach read is also a good classification. I'll probably read more books in this series, if only to see what landmarks from Texas coastal towns I can pick out in future Moonglow Cove settings. ( )