Title: The Maxwell Sisters
Author: Loretta Hill
Opening line: Most recipients of the gold-gilded invitation were pleased and excited to receive it.
Blurb: All families have their problems and none more so than the Maxwells of Tawny Brooks Winery. Situated in the heart of the Margaret River wine region, this world-renowned winery was the childhood home to three sisters, Natasha, Eve and Phoebe. Today all three women are caught up in their city lives and eager to forget their past and try and ignore their broken sibling relationships. That is until Phoebe decides to get married at home, so now each of the sisters along with their emotional baggage must all return to face a host of family obligations, a vintage in full swing and interfering in-laws who just can’t take a hint. Somehow, the Maxwell sisters must find a way back to one another – or risk losing each other forever.
My Thoughts: On her web page, author Loretta Hill writes “…I write stories favouring strong, capable women and the men who love them in rich Australian settings. I love a good laugh so also be prepared to find plenty of Aussie humour in my novels…” and that would sum up all her books precisely.
In THE MAXWELL SISTERS everyone seems to have secrets, the trouble is, keeping those secrets is causing heartache and misinterpretations amongst the other family members. On the bright side though readers’ gets to know enough of the secrets to be able to follow the different plot lines – but not all, so there can be some misunderstandings of our own. Each sister has her own story. Phoebe (Phee) is marrying Spider, a celebrity TV chef and her sister Eve’s former restaurant partner; the restaurant, located at the winery, burned down and was abandoned. Phee, the peacemaking sister, has decided that her wedding will be just the event to pull her family back together again and she requests family members to gather a month before the wedding to repair the burnt restaurant so it can be the venue for her reception. Eve, the shy and non-confrontational sister, is suffering from the loss of her business, unrequited love, and a current work place that is sapping her happiness. Finally there is Tasha, the perfect sister, who has been hiding from her family just how imperfect she actually is. One of her secrets is that she and her husband Heath have been living in separate States for a few months after a devastating event (also a secret), so imagine her surprise when she arrives and finds Heath there ready to lend a hand to prepare for the wedding. Tasha and Heath have to act like everything is wonderful as she is not ready to share with her family. Tasha also has issues with Eve as they had a huge fight just after the restaurant burned down and have not spoken to each other since. Everyone arrives, including Spider’s mum and dad, and the scene is set. My favourite thread was that of the mother of the bride and mother of the groom being locked in a battle to try and outdo each other from the very start. Beginning with whose name appears first on the invitation, through the flowers, finger food and onto the actual celebrant – these two ladies don’t let up for a minute. I loved them. I have found that Loretta Hill is very good at relationships – especially angst ridden ones – and there is a lot of angst and hurt within the family. Before we get to the wedding there is a mystery to solve (which I cottoned on to about 3/4s of the way through); growing current, past and new loves to be sorted; false acquisitions honestly discussed and lessons learned. THE MAXWELL SISTERS was a wonderful read and I quickly found myself wishing I could be a friend and join in their world. Even their leading men were great and I am sure my husband would fit in nicely – especially at a Margaret River Winery!
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5 Stars – Excellent Stuff – a real page turner and hard to put down. I carved out extra reading time just so I could finish it. This book got carted into the bathroom with me, read over meals, read at work, and/or kept me up late at night. If this author has more work, I will certainly read it.
With thanks to Random House and the author via Netgalley for my copy to read and review.