The description of Marie Bostwick's new book, The Second Sister mentioned that it involved quilt-making, so of course the quilter in me snapped it up. While the quilting portions of the book were a little disappointing for me, the rest of this book was great and I'm really glad I read it. While it didn't start out as one of those books that I just couldn't put down, it did end that way. Even though the story is a little predictable, it was told in such a way that it was enjoyable.
Lucy Toomey left her hometown in Wisconsin as soon as she graduated high school and hasn't looked back since. She's since made a name for herself working on big political campaigns, including a presidential one for the election that's being held in just a few days. Her older sister, Alice, has begged her for years to come home for Christmas, but Lucy always refuses, telling her that she has too many bad memories of the town. Alice always tells her that she's remembering wrong. But Lucy just can't forgive herself for the feeling that she caused Alice's life-altering accident so many years before. She feels like everyone in the town blames her. Even though Alice doesn't have the mental capabilities that she once had, she's lived alone and taken care of herself since her parents' death. Another Christmas is approaching and once again Alice wants Lucy to come home. Lucy refuses once more, and is looking for alternative plans for the holidays when Election Day rolls around. Early that morning Lucy receives a call that her sister has been found nearly dead and rushed to the hospital. Her boss (the presidential candidate) insists that she leave and return home. Before Lucy arrives, Alice dies. She has left stipulations in her will that Lucy must stay and live in her house for eight weeks before she can inherit it. The president-elect tells Lucy that she must take some vacation time before moving to her new office in Washington, so she decides to stay.
Lucy finds that Alice has turned her old room into a sewing room full of beautiful and complicated quilts. She decides to try to fill up her days by learning to quilt herself. With the help of Alice's quilting friends she starts her own quilt. She begins to become reacquainted with her old friends, and even an old crush. The holidays roll around and for the first time in a long time, she's not going to spend them alone or on a beach somewhere with Alice. The people of her hometown will help her realize that maybe Alice was right all along and she's just been remembering it all wrong.
This book is truly a "feel-good" story. While I think it's pretty obvious how it will end, the author takes interesting paths to get there, so it's not the same-old, same-old story. I thought as I read that I was going to be disappointed in the end, but I wasn't! Ms. Bostwick's characters are great, although I thought it was weird that Clint talked with a Wisconsin accent, and no one else did. I did like the FOA (Friends of Alice) and how they were so different, but all loved fiercely. Daphne was my favorite. Ms. Bostwick also paints beautiful word pictures. I have never had a desire to visit Wisconsin, but after reading her descriptions of the beautiful scenery, I'd love to visit there someday! Road trip, anyone? I loved the descriptions of Alice's quilts. I was nearly able to see them in my mind while I was reading. I only felt like she over-simplified the art of quilting. I don't know of anyone who would encourage a first-time quilter to make a complicated pattern, but not only did Lucy do a complicated pattern, it apparently turned out very well, Maybe that does happen for some people, but it didn't for this girl! (Maybe I'm just bitter.)
This was the first of Marie Bostwick's books that I have read, and I really liked it a lot. I will definitely read more of her stuff in the future. I really like the fact that you can sign up on her website and receive free patterns for the quilts in her books! You can never have too many! While this book is great for people who love to quilt, it's a great story for anyone.
I was given an advanced copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own and a favorable review was not required. Look for The Second Sister on or around March 31, 2015.