My Sisters and Me by Lisa Dickenson
Publishing Date: 23rd August 2018
Source: Received from the publisher, thank you!
Number of pages: 400
Genre: General Fiction (Adult)
Three women are making over their childhood home. It’s going to get messy.
When Willow Lake asks her three daughters to help renovate the family home each has a reason to hesitate. The sisters always looked out for each other, but growing up in the Devon town of Maplewood wasn’t easy.
Noelle, the youngest, is perfectly comfortable with who she is – now. Once, though, she wanted to fit in so badly that she walked away from her first love. A first love who still lives in Maplewood . . .
Emmy, the middle sister, has always been quiet and bookish, and the idea of returning to the town that ridiculed her teenage-self fills Emmy with dread.
Outspoken Rae, the eldest, is painfully aware of how much the townspeople hurt her sisters growing up. She couldn’t protect them then, but there’s no way she’ll let history repeat itself.
As the sisters settle back into Maplewood they rekindle old relationships (some more welcome than others) and begin to make peace with the past. After all if they’ve changed over the years, it’s possible the townspeople have too . . . isn’t it?
Rae, Emmy and Noelle are the three Lake sisters, as they are known in their childhood village Maplewood in Devon. They all visit their home rather reluctantly, as the place is full of sad and traumatic memories from their childhood and school years. They, in fact, couldn’t wait to leave Maplewood. Now Rae is married and is an opera singer, Emmy is a robotic engineer and Noelle is an environmental lawyer. However, at the request of their mother Willow, who, after death of the girls’ father started to travel the world, the girls are supposed to take sabbatical from work, come back home and renovate it for rental while Willow is again on the road. To say they’re all a bit wary would be an understatement, considering all the things that had happened in the past, and they are scared to face the village but there is no other option for them. How is it all going to play out?
I have warmed to the three sisters immediately. They were so easy to like and they had the best jobs ever. Noelle was environmental lawyer and I loved her interactions with Big Daddy, Rae was an opera singer (how many opera singers do you know?) and Emmy’s job was one in a million – she had something to do with building robots that she was sending then into space. They were all so passionate about their jobs and you could really see that they’re doing things they love to do. And oh yes, they were kick – ass sisters! It was brilliant they were all so different but no matter what they just stick together. I loved them all. But most of all I think I loved Jared *sigh*, and most importantly, I loved Emmy around Jared – she was then always so relaxed and funny.
Now, guys. I do love a Lisa Dickenson’s book. I’ve been reading and adoring her novels from the very beginning and this is why I went into “My Sisters and Me” with great expectations and actually certainty that this book is – again – going to blow my socks off with its brilliancy, humour and general greatness. And this is why, because of this feeling of certainty, I found myself reading and reading and starting to PANIC. Literally, panic and wondering, what’s happening? For a long time it was a solid 3 stars read for me, while I was sure it’s going to be a 10 out of 5 stars read. I’ve missed more humour, pace and action that I so well know from Lisa’s previous books. Those were actually Jared and Finn that saved the reading for me – they were brilliant characters, full of this Lisa’s hallmark banter and one – liners that the female characters maybe lacked a little this time. Don’t get me wrong, the three sisters were great, strong heroines, they were funny and their bond was genuine and out of this world fantastic, and I simply adored them all and kept everything crossed for them, but still the story felt too flat and too slow for my liking, and there were some things that bothered me all the time, like why the hell the residents of Maplewood hated the girls so much, even though they never did anything wrong and why their parents did nothing in that matter? Yes, Lisa did try to explain those things but somehow it just didn’t sit with me and didn’t convince me – probably because, as I have already mentioned, I ADORED the sisters and couldn’t understand those that didn’t like them as much as I did. so there.
But oh my, does the book make you think and reminisce! Even though I’m a little older than the sisters, their journey back in time was a fantastic trip down memory lane for me as well. I am very 90’s chicka and all the mentions of clothes, music, posters on the wall were like opening a photo album for me. And Bonnie, how could “Mr. Vain” make you confused??? But this novel also brought back some memories that I’d rather, just like the sisters, leave unearthed somewhere deep, deep down, where it’s very dark, and I could really identify with the characters on this level. As always, the dear Lisa Dickenson chooses the best setting ever. This time we’re not travelling abroad but still, Maplewood and the house in the woods where the girls lived were fabulously described. Lisa has brilliantly captured the essence of a small town and its residents, close – knit community, with their prejudices and beliefs. And Lisa’s writing stays the same, it’s light and easy and so captivating, almost addictive, and it had me glued to the pages. You feel together with the characters, their fears, exasperation and happiness, their confusion and desperation. You laugh and cry with them and you just so want for everything to go smooth for them in the end. The descriptions are full of laughter and Lisa knows how to use her words to break the ice.
“My Sisters and Me” was full of sunshine, this overwhelming feel – good factor. It featured strong women who were developing all the time, finding their courage to feel good in their own skin, women who loved and were not afraid to say when they were not happy. It was about friendship and family dynamics, about revisiting your childhood and fighting the demons, facing the troubles and staying strong to your beliefs, and I absolutely loved this message. It brilliantly captured this mixture of happy childhood memories and those worse ones, and addressed all the old traumas showing that it’s really not so difficult to face the opponents and old memories. Would I recommend this novel? Hell, yes – just go and treat yourself to this book when it’s out!