Published by Harlequin on September 25th 2018
Genres: Women's Fiction
Source: Harlequin, Netgalley
Buy on Amazon
In the snowy Highlands of Scotland, Suzanne McBride is dreaming of the perfect cozy Christmas. Her three adopted daughters are coming home for the holidays and she can’t wait to see them. But tensions are running high…
Workaholic Hannah knows she can’t avoid spending the holidays with her family two years in a row. But it’s not the weight of their expectations that’s panicking her—it’s the life-changing secret she’s hiding. Stay-at-home mom Beth is having a personal crisis. All she wants for Christmas is time to decide if she’s ready to return to work—seeing everyone was supposed to help her stress levels, not increase them! Posy isn’t sure she’s living her best life, but with her parents depending on her, making a change seems risky. But not as risky as falling for gorgeous new neighbor Luke…
As Suzanne’s dreams of the perfect McBride Christmas unravel, she must rely on the magic of the season to bring her daughters together. But will this new togetherness teach the sisters that their close-knit bond is strong enough to withstand anything—including a family Christmas?
THE CHRISTMAS SISTER
by Sarah Morgan
I know Sarah Morgan comes highly recommended. I read one other book by her which was more women’s fiction than romance which didn’t completely work for me because of the four different point of views, alternating telling the story of them. I was bummed when I realized that this one is women’s fiction as well, again with four point of views. It’s such a shame because, dammit, I want to read a Sarah Morgan romance!
All four women are connected through one event that took their loved ones away. The woman who lost her best friend, Suzanne, adopted Cheryl’s daughters, Posy, Beth and Hannah and moved from the Pacific North West all the way to Scotland so that the children could grow up without having to experience the very public handling of their parents’ death which made a huge impact of all of them. Christmas is approaching fast and Hannah and Beth, now back in the US, prepare to go back home to visit their parents.
THE FOUR WOMEN
Beth, a stay-at-home mom, loves her children, is a little over-protective of her children but yearns for a grown-up conversation. She is restless, exhausted raising her kids pretty much alone since her husband is the successful business man. Beth wants more and when she gets a chance to interview for her dream job she wants to jump at the chance. Except he wants another child.
I loved that Beth stood up for herself and showed Jason what it means to be a parent who is solely responsible for the children for the majority of the time. He learns a new appreciation for mothers, so mission accomplished. But Beth was also the person who got on my nerves the most. She was overly neurotic and a hypocrite when it came to her sisters. Fortunately they didn’t have an issue to show her that.
“I’m saying that being a good mom isn’t just about protecting your kids from hurt, it’s about showing them how to cope with hurt. It’s about teaching them resilience and giving them the tools to handle whatever comes their way.”
Although Posy is supposed to take over the small family business her secret wish is to follow in her parents’ footsteps and be a mountain guide. When she meets Luke the longing is only amplified.
Posy was the easygoing, laid-back baby sister. I connected with her the most because she was accepting and tolerant and let people have their space. But she also knew how to make a point. I love her no-nonsense characters.
Hannah is focused on her career, driven, and seems like nothing can chafe her. She comes across at standoff-ish until you get inside her head.
She has a whole bunch of insecurities, every psychologist would have a field day with her. Her dad played favorites when the sisters were children and she wasn’t #1 – but she never wanted to be. She just wanted to be loved like her little sister was. Hannah had all my sympathy, she was so hurt and so withdrawn I wanted to hug her. And then she started to climb over the walls she built I felt truly proud of her.
Protecting yourself locked out hurt some of the time, but it locked out the good stuff, too.
Suzanne loves her family. She would do anything for them. At first I didn’t understand what the fuss was about that Hannah came home for Christmas. Everything was Hannah wants, Hannah needs, Hannah loves…in the end I realized that Suzanne, being a very smart and intuitive woman, knew how much Hannah was hurt by her father’s favoritism of Posy. She wanted to show her how loved and special Hannah was. Suzanne is the glue that holds families together. She was wonderful.
For some reason I didn’t feel the disconnect I felt in How to Keep a Secret, brought on by the rotating POVs, as much this time around. While I would have loved to get deeper into the stories of the three women The Christmas Sisters was definitely satisfying. I learned enough about these characters to understand them. While the sisters had issues to solve with one another, no matter how much they argued they stood by each other with all the love they had. I also adored the men at their sides. Especially Stewart, Suzanne’s husband captured my heart with his endless wisdom and his eye-twinkling humor.
They closed the door and Stewart looked at the glitter on the floor.
“I like it. I think it should stay.”
“You mean you have no idea how to remove glitter from a carpet.”
“That, too. You have to admit, it’s festive.”
One thing that I need to mention because it didn’t make sense: The accident was 25 years ago – in a flashback Cheryl talks about photos of her kids on her phone. Granted, the story hints nowhere in what time period the story is set in but in that case I assume it’s in the present. 25 years ago there were no photos on phones. We were lucky to own mobile phones which were big and chunky.
The Christmas Sisters is a heartwarming, delightful story that will get you in the mood for Christmas. It has a dose of humor and a very low angst factor. The characters are genuine, real and lovable. This story is poignant, holding truths we can identify with about loss, family and how love can heal wounds. It’s the perfect winter read when you want to snuggle up in your book nook with a blanket and hot chocolate!
“You can’t live your life too afraid to do things in case you get hurt. If you get hurt, you heal. And while you’re lying there healing you can think about how much fun you had.”