Lost and Found Sisters is a journey of love, heartbreak, learning to live again, and finding home. Jill Shalvis’s women’s fiction debut has all the humor and heart I’ve come to expect from her work, and it’s all wrapped up in an engaging, emotional story of life after loss.
Quinn’s world was turned upside down after the loss of her sister two years ago, and she has never quite recovered. Though she seems to have the perfect life, Quinn is really just going through the motions. Then she receives some news in the form of an inheritance that will change everything she thought she knew about herself and sends her to the small town of Wildstone. Quinn is an endearing heroine; she’s funny, caring, and wonderfully flawed. I liked that she was in over her head and knew it, but she never backed down from any curveballs thrown her way. She also has a huge heart, and though she’s still grieving at the beginning of this story and is overwhelmed by everything coming at her, she doesn’t close herself off from the people she meets who need her.
It’s difficult to talk about the plot of Lost and Found Sisters without spoiling the story, which I’m loathe to do. Suffice it to say that Wildstone – a struggling town with character and heart – offers Quinn a chance at a new, vastly different life. Love – both romantic and familial – is central to Quinn’s journey of learning to live again, and it’s beautiful to watch multiple relationships develop. Mick, Quinn’s love interest, is incredibly appealing, as one would expect from a Jill Shalvis hero. He’s strong, patient, kind, and funny, but not perfect. He has his own journey to take over the course of the story, as he too is at a crossroads. It was easy to become invested in Quinn and Mick’s romance because they’re both incredibly likeable people with solid chemistry.
As I previously mentioned, Lost and Found Sisters is Ms. Shalvis’s first women’s fiction novel. I should disclose that this isn’t one of my go-to genres, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. But since Jill Shalvis is one of my favorite authors, there was no way I was going to skip this book. I’m so glad I didn’t. While it took me a while to get into the story (there’s just enough of a difference in pacing and focus compared to romance that I needed to adjust), I ended up adoring not just Quinn, but every single character in this story. The book is mostly centered around Quinn, but there are multiple characters and plotlines (which again, I can’t talk about without spoiling the story) that bring the world of Wildstone to life. Ms. Shalvis is a master at crafting small towns with quirky characters, and it was easy for me to fall in love with Wildstone and come to care about the fate of the struggling town. All in all, Lost and Found Sisters is a winsome tale with characters who will make you laugh one minute and tug on your heartstrings the next. I can’t wait to see what’s next for the Wildstone series.
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.
Disclosure -- I obtained the Kindle edition of this book when it was offered free on Amazon. I do not know the author, nor have I ever had any communication with her about this book or any other matter.
Trigger warnings, just in case:
Deaths of children, child abuse, suicide, abortion
The book started out fine. Akira Malone, physics professor, has jeopardized her academic standing with a paragraph in a research paper, in which she suggests ghosts may be a form of energy. She's now looking for another job, and lands one with a bizarre research facility, General Directions, in the small town of Tassamara, Florida.
Tassamara is a "quirky" little town, where most of the residents are "quirky," too.
Akira's quirk is that she can see ghosts. And there seem to be a lot of them in Tassamara. There's one in the rental car, for crying out loud!
I thought this was going to be a light, fun read. The writing was competent, if sometimes a little heavy on the telling and light on the showing, but it wasn't horrible. Akira was a likable character, and she didn't do stupid things just for the sake of the story.
Her boss at GD is Zane Latimer, the usual gorgeous hunk. He didn't seem quite as well developed at Akira, but I could live with that in a fluff book.
Unfortunately, A Gift of Ghosts didn't stay fluffy.
The ghost haunting Akira's rental car -- which she ends up leasing when she moves to Florida to take the job -- is of a 15-year-old boy. I had a bad feeling about that right away.
There are four more ghosts at the house she rents: an older man, a young woman who loves television and parties, and two little boys who play in the back yard. I had more bad feelings about the boys.
General Directions is owned by Zane and his siblings and his father, Max. Each of them has a "gift," too. Akira sees ghosts, but Zane can find things; his older brother Lucas reads minds; one of his sisters can see the future; and so on. Zane is frequently contacted by police and other investigative bodies to find missing things, like stolen property. Sometimes he's asked to find missing people.
The whole book took a very dark turn when Zane takes on a case of a missing toddler and his father.
Instead of his "gift" helping to resolve the mystery and return the boy to his grieving mother, Zane's inability to locate the boy suggests that the boy is dead, and points to the father as the killer. Akira steps in because she can see the boy's ghost. Well, at least it wasn't murder, but the father's death is suicide and the whole episode altered my whole attitude toward the book.
Of course the relationship between Akira and Zane becomes insta-lust, which didn't add anything to the story because there was no tension in the relationship. No complications, no nothing.
About the time they started having super-duper sex, I realized there wasn't a whole lot of emotional development in the book. There were plenty of opportunities for it, but the characters didn't seem to react appropriately to what seemed to be highly charged situations.
For example, the ghost in the car, Dillon, is Zane's nephew, who died of a drug overdose, apparently. But there doesn't seem to be much grieving or reaction, or even soul-searching about what went wrong.
So when another of the many ghosts in the book --
Zane's mother, Dillon's grandmother, who died of a stroke after Dillon's death
-- went into emotional overdrive and threatened Akira's life, I went into eye-roll overdrive.
I also found the ghostly debate over whether or not someone who had aborted -- or at least tried to abort -- an unwanted pregnancy could be forgiven by God and go to heaven rather than burn in hell to be a completely unnecessary distraction.
So it was a good start that kind of went in a lot of wrong directions, at least for me. I finished it, but I did skim quite a bit through about the last 20%.
BL-opoly Small town setting, 211 pages. $3.00
I think this is the last of my Memorial Day week-end extra rolls.
One of my (many) Kindle freebies, A Gift of Ghosts is set in Tassamara, Florida, described as "a quirky little town."
So far, I know the main character, Dr. Akira Malone is a physics professor who sees ghosts.
I need something light after The Tunnels.