Now Fritz is gone, and the three sisters are brought together under strange circumstances: there’s a large inheritance to be had that could save Allie from her ever-deepening debt following a disastrous divorce, allow Des to open a rescue shelter for abused and wounded animals, and give Cara a fresh start after her husband left her for her best friend—but only if the sisters upend their lives and work together to restore an old, decrepit theater that was Fritz’s obsession growing up in his small hometown in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains. Guided by Fritz’s closest friend and longtime attorney, Pete Wheeler, the sisters come together—whether they like it or not—to turn their father’s dream into a reality, and might just come away with far more than they bargained for.
The Last Chance Matinee
Hudson Sisters #1
Pub Date: 3/21/17
Genre: Romance, Women's Fiction
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Mariah Stewart has blown me away with her new series featuring the Hudson sisters. The Last Chance Matinee is a multifaceted story of family and what happens you put three sisters together to bring their father's dream to reality.
When Allie and Des come together to hear the reading of their father's will they learn of their half-sister Cara. The three girls are stunned to learn about their father's double life. Add to that revelation, his will indicates that they must head to his hometown to restore their family legacy: the Sugarhouse Theater. The only way to ensure their inheritance is to complete the restoration without bailing on the project. So the girls head to Hidden Falls, Pennsylvania to fulfill Fritz's dying dream: for the girls to know each other and their heritage.
The Last Chance Matinee lays the foundation for the series while simultaneously highlighting each of the sisters' personal situations and revealing the secrets of their father's past. To further engage readers there's romantic tension, of course, and the drama of three blindsided sisters getting to know each other. This complex storyline will suck you in immediately, because Mariah Stewart is just that good! On top of all the details she must have amassed to write a vivid, emotional story Allie, Des, and Cara are distinct characters that each have their own stories. Though The Last Chance Matinee places Cara at the forefront of this novel, the voices of all three sisters are heard throughout the story. When I realized how the story was set up in the outset of the novel I knew that I was going to breeze through. Even as Stewart juggles these three storylines the story is well-planned and easy to follow.
There's something about plots set in small towns that make for the most memorable and entertaining stories. Mariah Stewart's creation of Hidden Falls is no exception. Between the 'everyone knows everyone' connections and its quaint appeal I was really hoping that Hidden Falls was a real place I could go visit, especially since it's still firmly stuck in my head! Just as readers are able to paint a vivid mental picture of Hidden Falls, the Hudson sisters find bits and pieces of their father's childhood to paint a picture of the man he was before death. Not only are they beginning to solve the mystery of his actions, they learn the history of their descendants. Stewart knows how to keep you reading while providing a full, rich plot. Every scene leads somewhere interesting and by the end of the novel you'll know there's more to come.
I've only read a couple of Mariah Stewart's previous novels. The Last Chance Matinee seems to be written in a similar vein to the Chesapeake Diaries while also offering something different for long time fans. It would even appeal to readers of Kristan Higgans or Sophie Kinsella. I highly recommend this story to Chesapeake Diaries fans and even readers who haven't yet given Mariah Stewart a chance!
*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review*
From the Preface, The Last Chance Matinee:
Everyone is familiar with the adage “write what you know”; it’s a saying that has dictated much of my decades-long career in publishing. But this time, it was what I (or rather, my mother) didn’t know that formed the basis for this first book in my new Hudson Sisters series.
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