on July 11th 2017
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A wonderful story full of romance, forgiveness and the unavoidable ties that bind, SECRETS OF THE TULIP SISTERS is Susan Mallery at her very best.
The relationship of sisters Kelly and Olivia Van Gilder has been, well… complicated ever since their mother left them as teens, though it's the secrets they have been keeping from each other as adults that have unwittingly widened the chasm. But one thing they do share is the not-so-secret torch they carry for the Martin brothers.
In the small enclave of New Holland, Washington, Griffith and Ryan Martin were demigods. While Griffith was the object of Kelly's high school crush and witness to her mortal teenage humiliation, Ryan was for Olivia the boy who got away-something she's never forgiven Kelly for-and the only person since her mother who appreciated her wild streak.
Now, ten years later, both brothers are newly returned to town. Believing they're destined to be together, Olivia's determined to get Ryan back, until she discovers that she's not the only one keeping secrets…and that perhaps he's not the handsome prince she remembered. And even though Griffith has grown up to be more irresistible than ever, Kelly's impulse is to avoid him and the painful memory he represents, despite his resolve to right the wrong he caused her long ago-and her desire to let him.
~~Reviewed by Evelyn~~
What a great title for this book! The Tulip sisters did indeed have secrets! And so did everyone else around them. Life-changing secrets. And the amazing thing is that everyone is very good at keeping their secrets until, that is, very carefully timed spots in the plot, and then one by one, all of the secrets come tumbling out! What fun it is for the reader to try to guess whose secret will be coming out next and then to watch the fall-out afterwards.
Kelly Murphy runs a very successful tulip farm but her life is like “Groundhog Day” over and over. She has a crush on Griffith Burnett, a tiny house builder, but when he finally shows interest in Kelly, it isn’t exactly the kind of relationship she’s been hoping for. Kelly is still living with her father, but she hasn’t seen her mother or sister Olivia since a family blow-up many years ago. To make matters worse, Kelly has always felt responsible for that blow-up. She is in complete shock when her sister Olivia shows up out of the blue, looking very successful and sophisticated. And the fun begins!
The large cast of characters is fascinating but somewhat inconsistent. Kelly is a very likeable character. She’s steady, responsible and believable. Her sister Olivia, on the other hand, comes across as totally unbelievable in my opinion. No one really knows her, but when there is an important job to be done and she says, “I can do it,” everybody says, “OK, you do it” without checking her qualifications or even her background. This inexplicably happens over and over. Griffith, Kelly’s best friend Helen and Kelly’s dad Jeff all play major roles and are written realistically. I especially liked Helen and her insecurities over her extra 30 pounds. The most surprisingly despicable character, however, was almost too over the top to be believable at all.
The pace of the story seemed a bit slow at the beginning, but I actually think, looking back over it, that this was a good thing. There were so many characters, relationships and secrets to get to know that I probably would have been lost if the pace were any quicker. I also enjoyed the explanation of the tulip industry and the tiny house market that could have bogged down the story if it hadn’t been so interesting. The pace picked up as the story went on, and was rolling along at a good clip by the time the conclusion was reached.
Susan Mallery has woven an intricate web of characters, relationships, and secrets that reminded me of dominoes: all perfectly lined up, just waiting for the first one to fall! I’m giving it four stars.
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.