Three estranged sisters. Six months to come back together.
When Georgie, Iris and Nola’s mother died and their father disappeared into his grief, the sisters made a pact: they would always be there for one another, no matter what.
Now, decades later, they haven’t spoken for years and can barely stand to be in the same room. As his health declines, their father comes up with a plan to bring them back to one another. In his will, he states that before they can claim their inheritance, they must spend six months living together in their childhood home in the village of Ballycove, Ireland, and try to repair their broken relationships.
As the months progress, old resentments boil over, new secrets threaten to come out and each sister must decide what matters more: their pride, or their family. Can they overcome their past and find a way to love each other once more?
This is another comforting instalment of what Faith Hogan does best – the charm and quirks of an Irish village, picturesque settings, a pinch of humour, and complicated female relationships. The latter being three sisters with so many differences it might take a lifetime to sort them out, never mind six months. Each has enough endearing qualities that it’s possible to see through the more difficult parts of their personalities. Iris is the oldest sister and, to borrow a phrase from Helen Fielding, the other two see her as ‘the smug married one’. Neither can stand Iris’s husband Miles, who is controlling, unfaithful and created a rift in the family when he was caught stealing from the family distillery. Georgie loathes him for that and the creepy hold he seems to have over their elder sister, a resentment that possibly dates back to Iris’s role as mum to the younger girls when their mother died. I felt for Iris the most. Having stuck her neck out for Miles in their teenage years, he repaid her by stealing when he should have been learning the distillery’s secrets in order to take over from their father. Over the years Iris has become lost, acquiescing to Miles’s wishes even when it came down to something very important to her. She wanted children. He didn’t. Now he has a mistress, a baby on the way and would like to talk Iris into giving him everything they own. Georgie has the balls in the family and was determined to leave Ballycove and make a success of her life. Now in her thirties she’s expecting promotion and a partnership at the marketing firm where she works, but the board have decided against it. It turns out that Georgie is universally disliked by all her co-workers. Her work is exceptional, but her manner is rude and condescending. Unable to take being passed over, Georgie’s summons home comes at just the right time. However, underneath her bullish exterior she is devastated at the loss of her father who she was very close to. The youngest sister, Nola, is the beauty of the family and the baby. She spent her teens desperate for a life beyond Ballycove and moved to London as soon as she could to study acting. Having had a burst of success playing a favourite new addition in a British soap opera, she turned an original two week part into years, but was recently shocked to be told she was being killed off. Unable to admit to failure, after a long time attending auditions which came to nothing, Nola is returning home broke and without an agent.
I loved the way these sister’s personalities rub against each other, often in complete ignorance or misunderstanding of how the other is feeling. They neglect to realise that they need to meet as they are now. They’re making assumptions about each other based on old information, they base it on the way they acted as teenagers because that’s when they were last this close. To place them back in the family home, while grieving and with all these old resentments flying around, is a massive gamble and I enjoyed finding out whether it would pay off. The way that each sister veered towards their own niche within the estate was fun, because it balanced out the arguing and negativity. Here each woman was in their element: Iris loves creating homes and cozy spaces for people to enjoy; Georgie loves a challenge and when that’s matched with a tribute to their mother she’s all fired up; Nola starts to realise that here in Ballycove she’s been successful and can now use that experience to help others follow their dreams. There’s a wisdom that comes with age and the sisters are surprised to meet others who stayed or returned home. It’s Iris who seems to make that connection in her mind, that she can have what she wants and be fulfilled as she is. She doesn’t need a man to help her reach her dreams and she is surprisingly capable. I was desperate for her to send Miles on his way and realise her own worth, to fight her corner, but I had to wait to the very end to find out whether she would. The main focus though is the three sisters and whether they can come together, to use their complimentary skills to keep their childhood home and their parent’s memories alive. This is a cozy but emotionally intelligent read, all set within beautiful countryside and written by an author whose love for rural Ireland is evident throughout.
Meet The Author
Faith Hogan is an award-winning and bestselling author of seven contemporary fiction novels. Her books have featured as Book Club Favorites, Net Galley Hot Reads and Summer Must Reads. She writes grown up women’s fiction which is unashamedly uplifting, feel good and inspiring.
Faith’s Kindle Number 1 bestselling book, The Ladies Midnight Swimming Club is published in May 2021. Your 2022 Faith Hogan fix – The Gin Sisters’ Promise is out now!
She writes twisty contemporary crime fiction as Geraldine Hogan.
She lives in the west of Ireland with her family and a very busy Labrador named Penny. She’s a writer, reader, enthusiastic dog walker and reluctant jogger – except of course when it is raining!