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It All Comes Down to This

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Review posted to blog: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend.com/

It All Comes Down to This:  Unfortunately, this Book Was a Let Down for me.  And I had VERY High Hopes.

I SIMPLY adored Therese Anne Fowler’s prior book A Good Neighborhood. It was in fact one of my favorite reads of 2019. I, therefore, couldn’t wait to get my hands on her next release..and then I did.

This is the story of three sisters, Beck, Claire, and Sophia, who are more or less estranged when their mother passes away after an illness and what happens thereafter.  

Perhaps if I had liked one of the characters, I would have felt that “pull” - but sadly I did not.  Perhaps if something happened to capture my attention, I would have liked it, but it did not.

Perhaps.

The writing here is good.  I would be lying if I said it wasn’t.  The characterizations are fantastic - real, honest, and frankly, ugly at times, but that wasn’t enough to draw me in.  

Enough said.

Though this novel wasn’t my favorite by this author, I will still be eagerly awaiting her next book, hoping that it’s more in line with A Good Neighborhood.

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the arc.  

Published on Goodreads and Twitter.
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My thanks to NetGalley for a free prepub ebook in exchange for an unbiased review.

I have always loved multigeneration family dramas where secrets may be hidden for decades but ultimately come to life. Dramas where love and best intentions frequently come across as jealousy and disappointment. Dramas where each sibling believe the others were favored by parents who never-ever could possibly understand the angst experienced by their children. Fowler's It All Comes Down to This has all these elements and more.

Widowed mother Marti is dying of lung cancer. Her marriage to Leo produced three daughters - Beck, Claire, and Sophie. Beck is a married freelance writer whose marriage is outside perfect and inside dull; Claire is a divorced doctor who hides her true feelings for a married man; Sophie is an Internet influencer living on the edge financially and emotionally. Their mother's death, will and personal confession force them to confront what they really want and need in life.

The only offsetting point for me is the incredible coincidental meeting at the end of the book. Yes, the two characters had unfinished business but the meeting is implausible at best.

Still, I recommend this book highly.
#ItAllComesDowntoThis #NetGalley
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This was quite an interwoven story of the Geller sisters.  Your birth order and how you are raised definitely has something to do with how you live your life.  The family history they find out about their mother is another part of who they are that they didn't even realize.  I enjoyed this real life look at how families interact with each other.
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This author is fast becoming a favorite. She has wonderful character studies like Patchett and the ability to capture family drama evocatively. It is also set in Maine . Wonderful book !
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This is an engaging family story about the bonds between sisters and their mother, and how they evolve in a variety of ways as children leave the nest and return. I look forward to recommending this to readers who enjoy books by Elin Hilderbrand, Emma Staub, and Lian Dolan.
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Revelation is risky; suppose it leads to a fall?
Ah, but suppose it leads to flight?
from It All Comes Down to This by Therese Anne Fowler

Having read Therese Anne Fowler’s last novel A Good Neighborhood, I was eager to read her new novel It All Comes Down To This. It added to my interest to learn it was set in Maine, and when I opened up the book was thrilled to read it’s set on Mount Desert Island. Our first visit there, staying at Acadia National Park, we fell in love and returned year after year.

In her Acknowledgements, Fowler notes that she has written in many genres, but “never this kind of bighearted, upbeat tale,” a story that arose from the “darkness of the world around me” during the pandemic. For readers weary in body and soul, here is a book to raise your spirits.

The story of three sisters coping with the death of their mother may not sound like the premise for a happy ending, and yes, they all are struggling not only with her death but with her videotaped deathbed revelation, a confession that shocks them. Their mother also requests that they sell the family Maine vacation cabin.

Eldest daughter Beck is a mother and homemaker with a comfortable life and grown children. She writes on the side. She loves her husband, but they have never really ‘connected’ in a deep way, or sexually. They are polite and caring, but the distance is growing and their marriage on shaky ground. Her heart was broken as a teen with a summer romance in Maine.

The middle daughter Claire is a doctor who is recently divorced after her husband discovered she ‘settled’ for him. Claire juggles her career and child and dog, adding up to tension and high blood pressure.

Sophie has a glamourous lifestyle and a multimillion following for SimplySophie! on social media. She wines and dines artists and prospective art buyers, but has a massive credit card debt and no permanent home. She is hovering on the edge of disaster.

Meanwhile, a man has returned to the island seeing a home, staying at the home of an old friend. He wants to buy the sister’s family cabin. But he shares a history with one of them, and it won’t be working in his favor.

When the sisters met up at the cabin, they finally have a reckoning, and faced with their truths, must decide where they go from there.

Fowler offers wonderful characters, and adeptly reveals backstories and inner lives in a suspenseful way. Readers will be hooked by the story and gratified by the ending. And the message of what’s important in life–“it all comes down to this”–is essential.

I received a free ARC and egalley from the publisher. My review is fair and unbiased.
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3.5 stars for It All Comes Down to This
I appreciated this family drama and the examination of how each sister fit into the family but also how each of the sisters had to figure out their own lives and identities.  I appreciate a book that examines real feelings of competition, comparison, rivalry within sibling relationships as sibling relationships are so fraught with layers of memories, struggles to be separate, and yet an enduring lifelong feeling that no one will know you like a sibling does (oy).    I appreciate the chance to read and comment on this, thank you NetGalley and St. Martin's Press

For me this book, despite a lot of strengths with themes on sisters and relationships which I love, becomes less engaging when someone with a possible threat to their lives/family enters. I suppose I wanted it to be more about the sisters coming to terms with their lives and relationships without any other stressors beyond the loss of their mother.  But on the other hand the outsider (CJ) was likable and did aide in moving the story forward in terms of character development and change.  The plot slowed at times and felt a bit predictable but I can also say that formulaic can mean a book is relatable and engaging, not always a bad part of a book!


I appreciate a good family drama and overall this book hit the mark in terms of drama, complicated but realistic feeling characters, and sibling conflict.  I think it will be a good read for fans of family drama and particularly fans of sibling relationship themes.
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A family drama that weaves together the stories of three sisters (and an outsider) after the death of their mother.  The novel was entertaining, but felt formulaic in places and, at one point, took a turn that didn't seem to fit the story to that point.
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Ah, what's more enticing than a novel of family secrets?  In a novel very different from her heartbreaking previous work, Theresa Anne Fowler delivers a tale of three sisters at a crossroad in their lives, sparked by the death of their mother, who had some secrets of her own to protect. Although the family drama seems a little forced at times, it's hard to resist this story of three women who are forced to take a look at where they've been and where they want to be.
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A tale of 3 very different sisters who each find themself at a crossroad after the death of their mother. Although each  of their stories  /lives are very different , they intersect because they are if nothing else, family. They come together to support each other when it is most needed . Thus causing a return to the closeness that they once shared before the hectic pace of their lives had left no room for each other.  There is also a secondary, intersecting story surrounding a neighbor C.J who has also reached a crossroad in his life and is ready for change. The interactions between the sisters was perceptive and quite believable in its telling. The story of CJ was heartwarming but seemed a bit forced  at times . In one way ,I see how it is a counterpoint to Beck and the different ways in which people face the past and face the future but I also  felt it was slightly contrived to make the point. The writer almost made him too "perfect"  and thus not quite real. His interactions with Arlo were beautiful to read but again, although you could predict  the outcome , not quite believable in reality. I guess the whole story is a bit of fairy tale   with a  fairy tale ending . I think after the  author's last book which was wonderful but heartbreaking, she wished for this to be a feel good story and happily ever after. If this is the worst that these sisters ever have to handle, their lives were/ are  pretty easy. None of their problems were earth shattering or heartbreaking in my opinion . As my mother used to say, if money can solve your problem, it's not much of a problem. This is especially true when you are handed an inheritance to solve them. 
I rate it a 3.5. Although I have enjoyed her previous works more, it is worth the read since Ms Fowler is a talented writer and sometimes you just want a feel good tale where everything just magically works out for nice people
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An interesting story about three sisters and the effects of their mother’s death on the remainder of their lives. Each sister lives independently of the other, when they do get together it is awkward and infrequent. Neither has much consideration for the others so it is difficult to have any feelings about the characters. It was mildly entertaining, in a soap operatic way. The ending is touching, making it worth the read. Thank you NetGalley for the ARC.
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This was better than her last book.Family drama, but a bit boring at times— some forced drama that wasn’t needed. Overall, I am rooting for another book so we can hang out with Beck and CJ again!

Glad I gave this author another chance! Thanks NetGalley!
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Loved the characters, loved the storyline, loved absolutely everything about this book!  It is interesting and thought provoking-don't miss it!
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Have you ever asked yourself how your life would be different if you made a big change? Sold a house, left a spouse, changed jobs, moved, or told those truths you'd been keeping safe inside your heart? This book has all of that and more...family drama, death of a parent, relationship woes, and people starting over or making a sharp turn in their lives where they had been headed down a completely different path. I loved the way that the sisters in this story felt very real to me...they were not perfect best friends, and they had their share of disagreements and issues, but at the end of the day, they loved each other through the tough times. Some of these characters took brave leaps of faith in spite of life throwing them curveballs, and they kept pressing forward in search of happiness and fulfillment. I would recommend this book to anyone who's ever felt stuck at a crossroads, stagnant, or just bored with the status quo, because it shows you how a simple decision can totally change the trajectory of your path.
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Every character in this book could use a therapist. Life can be messy at times. Yet, what makes this book so appealing is that we can all relate to pieces of their lives.

The story is about a family with deep secrets. The mother, Marti, has lung cancer and doesn't reveal the seriousness of it with her three daughters. A realtor calls her with a buyer for her waterfront home in Maine worth nearly a million dollars. She said to call back in two weeks - at which time she has died. She leaves her three daughters with the equally divided property along with her last few things in her NYC apartment. It was ten years ago when the sisters got together at their father's funeral. Marti raised them to be competitive. She was a mother that talked to one about how wonderful the other two were. They all had hidden issues with each other.

It was easy to keep track of the characters which were all well defined. The sisters, Beck, Claire and Sophie felt real as though I could google each one. Beck was married for 25 years to Paul and they were good friends; not good lovers. She never had a strong career like her sister Claire who was a pediatric cardiologist. Beck told Claire, "I don't have to be a doctor to be a valuable person in the society." She was a freelance journalist, with the goal of writing a novel at the Maine house. "Having a Claire-approved career is not high on my list of priorities." Yet, it was.

The other two sisters wanted to sell their mother's property quickly as they needed the cash. Claire had $200,000 in med school debt. Sophie dropped out of college and became an art influencer with her many Visa cards maxed out. "Art was how people throughout human history had made sense of their worlds...she wanted to be part of that." She spent $600 on shoes and thousands on a designer purse to keep up.

Their relationships were also complicated. Was Beck's husband, Paul, gay? Maybe, said Beck. Claire didn't think so. Was CJ Reynolds sent to prison three years for wanting to murder his abusive father? He said, "Life's like a coin isn't it? Bad fortune on one side, good on the other." He had inherited a large amount from his grandmother -- enough to buy the Maine property. And why didn't the beauty, Sophie, have anyone special? At times the story seemed unreal with a person that just happened to show up. It was slow in parts but it made me think about some people I know in life.

My thanks to Therese Anne Fowler, St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for allowing me to read this advanced copy with an expected release date of June 7, 2022.
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Reader Review: It All Comes Down to This by Therese Anne Fowler
Pub. date: June 7, 2022
3.5⭐️
I really liked the format for It All Comes Down to This. The reader is introduced to three sisters dealing with the aftermath of their mother’s death and her secret revelation. Each of the girls has her own story told within the bigger narrative of their family situation. The author explored each of the sisters’ lives and their relationship with each other. This is the kind of story I love to read. Being one of four children, I find the family dynamics of siblings a fascinating topic. There’s always more going on than meets the eye because you have to realize there is family history that exists for them. 
In addition to the sisters’ stories, we meet a man who brings his own secrets and history into their midst. 
I will definitely read more books by Therese  Anne Fowler. She crafts a great story for her characters that makes them come to life. Plus, I love a novel that comes full circle to completion. It doesn’t even have to be a good outcome but you can finish the book knowing what happened to the characters after everything was said and done. 
Without any spoilers, I will say that there was an unrealistic turn of events at one point. This really took away from the book overall for me. I’d still rate it as a 3.5 ⭐️ read because I really enjoyed the progression and entanglements of each sister’s story. 
Thanks to @NetGalley and @StMartinsPress for the  eARC in exchange for my honest review.
#NetGalley
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A delicious and poetic family tale of a mother, Marti, who knows she is about to pass but doesn't want her three daughters Beck, Sophie and Claire, finding out until she is gone. When the news breaks, the story really starts and takes us on this pleasant family journey. 

As a mother of three daughters myself, I have always been in awe observing my three ladies and questioning myself and nature's mysteries: how can one raise 3 children similarly and how can they turn out so different from one another. It was so fun to navigate through the lives of Marti's daughters --Claire being my favorite-- and seeing people from the outside is often, if not always, deceiving.

I recommend this book to anyone enjoying contemporary family dramas and strong endings as well as strong female characters.

Thank you St  Martins Press and Net Galley for this e-ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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Three sisters come together after the death of their mother. A somewhat average family drama, though I think it could make a great movie with the right casting. A novel that tells, but doesn't show.
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I really liked It All Comes Down to This. I enjoyed meeting The Geller sisters and enjoyed each of their stories. All three sisters have unique backgrounds and lead very interesting lives. When their mom dies the sisters have to come together and work out their differences. This novel has some surprises that make up a very charming read. I'm looking forward to reading more of this Authors work.
#ItAllComesDowntoThis #NetGalley

I give It All Comes Down to This 4 stars for its captivating read.
I would recommend this book to fans of Fiction.
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Therese Anne Fowler has written yet another engaging book. It All Comes Down to This is a story about the Geller family and their relationships. Three sisters, Beck, Claire, and Sophie seem to be successful in their lives. But like in many families, all is not what it appears to be. The sisters are propelled into assessing their relationships and goals after their Mother’s will is read.  The will requires them to sell the “cottage” on an island. Therese Anne Fowler develops the characters so well that you really get to know them. This is a heart-warming book that is perfect to read given the challenges of the past year. I highly recommend it.
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