Monday, July 27, 2015

Review: Secret Sister

About the Book:
Did she once have a sister? Has her mother lied all these years? Why? 

After a painful divorce, Maisey Lazarow returns to Fairham, the small island off the North Carolina coast where she grew up. She goes there to heal—and to help her brother, Keith, a deeply troubled man who's asked her to come home. But she refuses to stay in the family house. The last person she wants to see is the wealthy, controlling mother she escaped years ago. 

Instead, she finds herself living next door to someone else she'd prefer to avoid—Rafe Romero, the wild, reckless boy to whom she lost her virginity at sixteen. He's back on the island, and to her surprise, he's raising a young daughter alone. Maisey's still attracted to him, but her heart's too broken to risk… 

Then something even more disturbing happens. She discovers a box of photographs that evoke distant memories of a little girl, a child Keith remembers, too. Maisey believes the girl must've been their sister, but their mother claims there was no sister. 

Maisey's convinced that child existed. So where is she now? 

My Comments:
Maisey lost her baby to SIDS, and not long thereafter, her husband to another woman.  Now, she can't even write and her agent wants the next book.  She decides to leave New York for the hometown she fled years ago, despite the fact that her relationship with her critical mother is no better now that it was when she was a teen.  When she gets to her hometown, an island, she decides that rather than living at her mother's mansion, she will live at a beach resort owned by her mother.  There she meets her old flame,   The old flame is renovating the resort after a hurricane and he comes across a locked box full of pictures of a girl Maisey becomes convinced is her sister.  Where did she go?  What happened?  Maisey's brother, who suffers from drug addiction and bi-polar disorder thinks he remembers her as well, but he doesn't want Maisey to explore further.  Nevertheless, Maisey does.  

As you may have guessed, this is a two-threaded story.  One thread is the romance between Maisey and Rafe.  Both have suffered loss in their lives, but while Rafe is pushing forward, Maisey is wallowing in her loss and is afraid to move forward.  I liked him more than I liked her, and found him to be more realistic.  While Maisey seems to set limits on her mother, I question her choice to move home at such a vulnerable time in her life.  The only thing I didn't like about their relationship was the fact that they jumped into bed as their first joint activity.  

The second thread deals with the missing sister.  Did she exist?  What happened to her?  How has she affected their lives, even though they can't remember her?  I enjoyed watching Maisey put the pieces together and solve the mystery, though I can't say it was a very realistic story.  

If you are looking for a light romantic mystery to read on the beach, this should fit the bill.  Grade:  B.  

Thanks to the publisher for providing a complimentary review copy via NetGalley.

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