Reviewed for Wit and Sin
Love – romantic and familial – is the heart of The Lemon Sisters. Jill Shalvis returns to Wildstone with a book that shows love is messy, complicated, and rarely easy, but oh, so worth it.
Brooke Lemon was an adventurer who sprinted out of Wildstone at a breakneck pace before an accident grounded her and made her feel like she lost herself. It’s been seven years since she returned home and her relationship with her sister, Mindy, is strained. But when Mindy needs her, Brooke steps up. To give Mindy a break, Brooke takes her niece and nephews home to Wildstone, where she’ll have to face old ghosts. I adored Brooke from the start. She carries invisible wounds she’s told no one about and she’s a bit isolated from those she loves at the start of the story. But she doesn’t hesitate to give her sister a break and carry her load. Caring for three spirited children is a bit overwhelming, but it’s Mindy’s sexy neighbor who really throws Brooke off her stride. Garrett was Brooke’s first and only love, but the way their relationship ended means he wants to stay clear of her. Only the two of them can’t resist the pull and it’s not hard for a romance to rekindle when the sparks never died. Like Brooke, Garrett was easy to like. He’s a good man with a huge heart and he rolls with both Lemon sisters’ zaniness pretty easily. Brooke and Garrett are clearly meant to be, but they’re both guarded, wounded, and it’s not easy for either of them to take a risk again. I was rooting for them every step of the way and they broke my heart and put it back together more than once.
Mindy and her husband Linc are the book’s secondary romance and theirs was engaging as well. The two of them are still clearly in love, but love isn’t enough when one person is clearly drowning and the other is working too much to see it. I had a harder time connecting to Mindy, possibly because, like Brooke, I’m the younger sister and have had to handle some of the kinds of things Mindy threw at Brooke. But I could see why Mindy was so tightly-wound and desperately trying to control the chaos in her house. Linc is a good man, but he’s a bit clueless about how hard it is for Mindy to raise their energetic children, run a business, and keep their home perfectly organized while he works long hours. It was nice seeing Linc put in the effort to take his share of the load and to watch he and Mindy reconnect.
The bonds of sisterhood are as central to The Lemon Sisters as the romance. Brooke and Mindy have a strained relationship and Mindy definitely (unintentionally) hurts Brooke multiple times in a way that is realistic. I was as invested in watching them repair their relationship as I was in the romances because it’s clear the two Lemons do love one another, even if that love is sometimes messy and complicated.
The Lemon Sisters is energetic, fast-paced, and filled with all kinds of fun chaos. There are cute kids, cats with attitude, and good – if flawed – characters who will make you smile. Ms. Shalvis creates the best small towns and I cannot wait to see what happens next in Wildstone.
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.