Author: Mariah Stewart
Publisher: Gallery Books
Part of a Series: Hudson Sisters Series
Type of book: Pennsylvania Hidden Falls, renovation, roles, sisterhood, healing, secrets, abuse, appearances, art, plans, relationships between women, slow romance, dogs, mayor, popularity, small town summer celebrations
Year it was published: 2018
Mariah Stewart's second novel in the Hudson Sisters series...
Allie, Des, and Cara, each having her own reasons for wanting a share of their father's estate, meet in the grand Victorian home in which he grew up, only to be greeted by another secret he purposely hid from them: his sister Bonnie. The women reluctantly band together to take on Fritz's challenge, working with a local contractor to begin the renovations financed by an account Fritz had set up for the task. While the restoration appears to go smoothly at first, it soon becomes apparent that the work will be more extensive than originally thought, and Des, elected to handle the money, needs to find ways to stretch out the remaining savings while searching for new sources of funding.
As strangers linked only by their DNA try to become a family, the Hudson sisters also try to come to terms with the father they only thought they knew. In the process, each woman discovers her own capacity for understanding, forgiveness, love, and the true meaning of family.
The main characters include Desdemona "Des" Hudson, who happens to be passionate about rescuing doggies (even establishing a rescue shelter for dogs back in her state of Montana) and who also is determined to do what she can towards the theater's renovation. She and Allie and have a very distant relationship, and very often Des is hesistant and doesn't really trust Allie's ideas. Des also tends to keep things to herself and hasn't really shared a positive sisterhood with Allie when growing up. Des is in charge of finances for the theater. Unfortunately the reader learns very little about Cara in this book, although she is frequently seen. For me Allie is probably the more fascinating sister. Allie continues to be prickly and seems to take enjoyment in tormenting a local "sheriff". Allie also suffers from uncertainty and low self esteem and is a mother to a daughter named Nikki. There is of course Bonnie "Aunt Barney," the sisters' aunt who is passionate about her car and is also slowly making changes in her house and life. Male main characters include Seth Macleod who is extremely popular and isn't someone Des would like to be with due to him being bald, a mayor, and tattooed as well as having a motorbike. Despite his appearance, Seth is extremely dedicated to the town and to his friends and family. There is also Ben, the local law enforcement that Allie seems to enjoy tormenting. He is not very creative with pet names and is very dedicated to his job. Cara's beau, Joe, is there but he didn't take up the limelight that Des and Seth have shared.
It's possible to heal and find a place to belong
The story is in third person narrative from Des's point of view, although from time to time Allie also jumps in. While reading THE LAST CHANCE MATINEE will make THE SUGARHOUSE BLUES richer, it's not required, and the book stands wonderfully on its own. The characters are multifaceted and become very easy to fall in love with, especially the doggies that dare to steal mine heart. The romance is built slowly through actions and time and isn't forced; the chemistry is believable, and I found myself rooting for the hero. There is also human aspect to the characters in that they are more than just women and their multiple roles and personalities are deftly explored throughout the pages be it motherhood or sisterhood. There is also a lot of focus on the relationships the sisters have one with one another, especially the focus is on Allie and Des, which is what I liked, and how each sister has to make peace with herself and one another.
(From the back of the book)
Mariah Stewart is an award-winning New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of numerous novels and several novellas and short stories. A native of Hightstown, New Jersey, she lives with her husband and two rambunctious rescue dogs amid the rolling hills of Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she savors country life and tends her gardens while she works on her next novel. Visit her website at MariahStewart.com, like her on Facebook at Facebook.com/AuthorMariahStewart, and follow her on Instagram @Mariah_Stewart_Books.
This is my 7th Mariah Stewart novel, and I still have trouble figuring out how she writes one winner after another! Ever since my reading of her previous Hudson Sisters Novel, THE LAST CHANCE MATINEE, which introduces the reader to the three sisters, I have been counting down the days to dive once more into the beautiful and complex world of Hidden Falls, Pennsylvania. THE SUGARHOUSE BLUES focuses on Desdemona "Des" Hudson, a loner who is more passionate about rescuing dogs and who has trouble opening herself up to other people. In a true Mariah Stewart style, the focus is far more on activities and relationships between the sisters and their aunt, and the romance builds slowly and is focused more on dating and getting to know one another rather than anything sexual. (There aren't any sexual scenes in the book by the way.) Unfortunately some of the mysteries from the previous books aren't really resolved in my opinion, but that's okay. The beauty of Mariah Stewart's books is that each mystery and interaction is like finding a decadent and perfect dessert where its safe to indulge without worrying about the bathroom scales.
This was given for a review
5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)