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It All Comes Down to This

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It All Comes Down to This 
by Therese Anne Fowler 
Pub Date: June 7, 2022
St. Martin's Press
Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the ARC of this book. 
* Fiction  * Family   * Comtemporary 
This book was not a hit with me.  I have mixed experiences with Fowler's books. Unfortunately, this is one I cannot recommend. I  could not get invested in the lives of any of the characters. Marti Geller, the mother of three adult daughters, dies at the start of the story. Her daughters are very different from each other and not particularly close. Fowler does a good job of making each character distinct, with their own issues. 
It's not a good sign when you keep checking how long the book is. 
3 stars
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Thank you for the opportunity to read this book in advance!

It All Comes Down to This tells the story of three adult sisters, whose lives are in turmoil for various reasons. Their mother dies after a battle with cancer, forcing them to come together.

I really enjoyed this story and how it focused on more adult situations than the average novel. Descriptions of Maine were also enjoyable to read, and really set the stage for me.
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Messy family drama is the perfect way to describe this novel. I appreciated the ages of the sisters in this book--they were in their late 30s and 40s which I feel is rare to find in fiction. The family secrets kept me turning the pages, although it was difficult at times to keep up with all of the story lines. According to the cover and the blurbs, I thought most of the story would take place in Maine but it actually took place mostly in New York, which was fine but I wonder if some readers would be misled by the blurb being about a house in Maine. It was carefully plotted and yet I would definitely categorize it as a character driven book. For the most part I enjoyed it! I definitely liked some characters better than other, but likable characters is not important to me as a reader. It took me several chapters to really get into the novel, and I wish it had been 50 pages shorter. I thought it dragged on at the end. The only story that fell a little flat for me was CJ's. I felt that his time in jail just didn't fit into the story and when I learned why he was put in jail I thought it was a little unbelievable. I think this will make a great beach book. It's family drama with depth.
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This was an engaging read about family drama, grief, unrequited love, emotional turmoil in general, and unfulfilled expectations. Matriarch Marti Geller is dying of cancer and will leave behind three daughters. She has a secret but doesn’t want to burden her daughters with it until she is gone. The novel alternates between the perspectives of the three sisters, Beck, Claire, and Sophie, Beck’s husband, Paul, and the new man in town looking to settle down in Mount Desert Island, Maine. Each character is dealing with their own secrets and the character-driven plot unfolds slowly and in a largely satisfying way. I found myself switching allegiances between the characters throughout the novel.  

It All Comes Down to This reminded me a bit of Anne Tyler’s French Braid, which also focuses on complicated family dynamics. I recommend this to fans of Therese Anne Fowler’s other works, fans of Anne Tyler and Ann Patchett, and literary fiction and (women’s) fiction readers looking for a compelling family drama with characters who aren’t entirely likable.

Thank you very much to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this ARC.
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I adored read a “Good Neighborhood” by Therese Anne Fowler, so I was excited with the opportunity to review “It All Comes Down to This.”

When matriarch Marti Geller discovers her cancer is terminal, she not only wants to die with dignity but without her three daughters present. But one of the stipulations of her will is that the three daughters come together to prepare the Maine cottage for sale. Beck, Claire, and Sophia not only wrestle with their grief but also how to prevent their secrets from spilling out. The oldest, Beck, doesn’t want the cottage to be sold as she views it as a place to write. When the women come together, not only are they forced to address their own angst, but react to what their mother managed to hide from them during her lifetime. There is also a side plot of recently released from prison, C.J. who intersects with the Geller women in a few different ways. 

Fowler is a beautiful writer who pulls her readers right into the tension of their characters. She handles the dynamics of the Geller family with plenty of aplomb. The sisters do not necessarily have likable traits but that does not mean they aren’t relatable. My favorite scenes were those when the three women were together, demonstrating that without Mom, all you have are your sisters. Additionally, the setting of Maine was spectacular. 

Thank you Therese Anne Fowler, Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to give this an early read.
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This one was just ok for me. It All Comes Down to This is a bit all over the place. I never connected to the characters as the transitions were choppy. Entertaining enough to finish but not much more than that. If you enjoy family dramas it may be a bigger hit for you. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for an advance copy in exchange for my honest opinion. It All Comes Down to This will be available on 6/7/2022.
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I would describe this best as a lazy afternoon read, maybe when you’re on an obligation visit to an elderly relative and don’t have much else to do. It wasn’t especially interesting or well-written; the story was uneven and all over the place. 

The Geller sisters are left with the family camp in Maine, after their mother, Marti, dies. Marti left instructions to sell it - but she also left a video explaining she wasn’t exactly who her daughters thought she was. Carrying new knowledge of their mother, the sisters grapple with their own secrets and shame, all coming to a head during the final sisters’ weekend their mother asked them to have. 

Again, it wasn’t that interesting. The characters were pretty flat and underdeveloped. I was hoping for a more dramatic family saga, and it had the ingredients, but never got there.
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IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THIS: A Novel: Therese Anne Fowler 

Therese Anne Fowler’s latest work is a novel about three sisters. The plot is basic: how will the sisters’ lives change after the death of their mother, Marti. Well, death always brings about change and surprise, but before Marti leaves us, there are things she might have guessed, but probably didn’t know: one daughter would like to have the husband of another; one daughter would rather live life through Instagram than plan for her future; and one daughter is totally against a specific order in Marti’s will: that her summer cottage in Maine be sold, the monies split three ways to provide for her daughters, Beck, Claire and Sophie.     

Sister novels are not a new thing: Little Women, The Vanishing Half, The Lilac Girls, Sisterland…to name a view. And each of these novels took a different approach to sister emotions, the love and misunderstandings, the occasional fiery hate, the normal jealousies and physical differences that are part of being sisters. And finally, this being crucial, the need for each sister to find and make her own way, never ever falling for the same male another sister has fallen for. A literary trope. It happened in Little Women, Sisterland and it happens in this novel, though in a more well I’m done with him so you can have him way. 
  
But when a novel presents characters who are surface in their needs, their stereo types, and when the plot rolls out in a predictable fashion, and as one critic says Fowler has written a novel that is “light in structure, and light in message” then maybe the use of tropes doesn’t matter. After all this is Therese Anne Fowler, author of: Z A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, published in 2013. Fowler did her homework then, engaging the reader, bringing us into the blossom filled South with its heat and gorgeous homes, it’s peculiar social system. I read it, enjoyed Fowler’s ability to carry us into that time period as we watch Zelda meet and fall in love with Scott. 

There is nothing like that in this lighter story—though as one reviewer pointed out, it is interesting that as Fowler conceived this story, the most interesting character is not one of the sisters, but a male character, C. J Reynolds, an enigmatic southerner ex-con with his own hidden past, who complicates the situation. Maybe the heat of the south should fuel more of Fowler’s work. And readers who get through the mistakes of the sisters might hang in there and thus enjoy the arrival of C.J. As for me, I’d rather reread “Z”.
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I really wanted to like this book. I wish it had focused on just one sisters story and given us more details about that. I was unable to finish because of the language and bizarre sexual parts. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my ARC.
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Beck, Claire, and Sophie, three sisters, are the stars of this crazy new novel by Therese Anne Fowler. Beck is the oldest, a free-lance journalist married to Paul who is in the publishing business. Claire is a pediatric surgeon, divorced from her husband, and continuing to live with unrequited love since she was a teenager. Sophie, the youngest, works for an art gallery in NYC and is an Instagram influencer, of sorts. 

The woman who planned the narrative of this story is the women's mother, Marti Geller. The reading of her will surprise the sisters with a demand that they sell their beloved summer cottage in Maine and have one final meeting together in that cottage before it is sold.

I loved the twists and turns of the novel. TAF caught me off guard with some great, love-to-see-that-in-real-life, twists and turns. People come and go into their lives and revelations about who their mother was made for a revelatory ride. I've always loved Maine and this book gave me more of that feeling. Each daughter needed Marti's guidance, even in her passing, to help them carve out a life they were truly meant to live.

Thank you, Net Galley and St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to read this e-ARC.
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I've previously enjoyed Therese Anne Fowler's books and was interested in the premise of this book, but I found the plot to be slow with too many storylines. Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advanced copy.
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I really appreciated that the story didn’t sugar coat the sisters’ relationship. Each character’s voice was very distinct, which I believe is hard to accomplish as a writer. The characters were all very human, another thing that I enjoy in books. Flawed, messy, realistic. The book is character-driven, but it works because these particular characters are so nuanced. 

The story didn’t totally grab me like I thought it would, but it was a good, easy read. 3/5 stars.
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I wanted to badly to love this one as family dramas / women's fiction are my favorite. I made it almost halfway and couldn't take it anymore. I really hate to not finish an advanced copy of any book, but this was not for me.

I had to read the word erection more times than I ever wanted to,  read about a wife talking about how it's totally no big deal that her husband was cheating on her, etc. The characters definitely had potential but nothing was happening even at the halfway point.

Sadly I won't be able to recommend this one but hope other people enjoy it. Thanks so much to St Martin's Press for the chance to read prior to release.
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A somewhat typical story of sisters who each face challenges but must come together to work things out.

Beck, Claire and Sophie must sell off the family cottage in Maine after the death of the mother.  Each sister is struggling.  Beck and her husband have a loveless marriage, Claire is divorced and Sophie's life is a lie. Beck retreats to Maine to fix the cottage for sale where she runs into a former acquaintance who is also trying to get his life back on track.  The characters are interesting, the setting well done.  More information on the background of the mother might have been useful and the ending felt as though it had been wrapped up too quickly..  Overall,. a good read and should be a popular one.
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Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press!

The Geller sisters (Beck, Claire, and Sophie) are dealing with their mother Marti's death. Marti dies of lung cancer, but doesn't tell the kids that she is down to her last few days. The sisters then are dealing with the fallout of her death, as well as their own issues with their families and careers. 

Overall, this was an enjoyable story with good character development. I was a bit disappointed in the ending, as I felt that it was quite rushed and didn't really tie things up totally.
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The Geller sisters, Beck, Claire and Sophie welcome us into their lives, brought together by the death of their beloved mother, Marti.  Can they agree to sell their Mount Desert Island, ME vacation home as their mother’s will decrees, or will the differing opinions pull them apart?  
Over the course of their deliberations, we discover that none of their lives are as they seem. Each is hiding aspects of who they are and where their emotions will lead them. 
I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and came to like all of the characters.
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I really liked this book! Beck, Claire, and Sophie are sisters who are going to lose their mother, Marti, to illness very soon. Even though they know it is coming, it has thrown all of their lives in turmoil and made each of them question just how happy they are within their own lives. Once their mother passes away, they are supposed to fix up and sell their family's summer home. But Beck--the oldest--does not want to see it leave the family and sets out to figure out a way she can keep it. Marriages are upended, issues with children arise, and long-lost romances are rekindled in this lovely book. It made me laugh out loud, shed a few tears, and it even made me reminiscent of my teenage years. Such a good book!
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I loved “A Good Neighborhood”, but I liked “It All Comes Down to This”.  A good rainy day read, but the story never reached full speed.  It was slow and warm, a feel good story, if predictable.  It doesn’t repeat the power of “A Good Neighborhood”, but maybe it’s unfair to compare the two.  If you like a story that simmers with family drama, secrets, and unrequited love, give it a try.
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Marti Geller has always stated that, after she dies, the family summer cottage will be sold and divided between her three daughters. Beck, a freelance journalist in a loveless marriage, is counting on the inheritance to give her time to write a novel and change her marriage. Recently divorced cardiologist Clare is struggling to fix her complicated love life and Sophie is an Instagram influencer whose empire is sitting on a house of cards. With the death of their mother and the debate over the cottage, the three sisters must come to terms with their own lives.

I love a good family drama, but It All Comes Down to This just didn't connect with me. I wasn't interested in any of the sisters' storylines and the drama felt stale. Even worse, the romantic relationships were a mess, yet then everything tied into too neat of a bow. The whole book felt pointless, and I would suggest passing on this one.
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I have a love/hate relationship with Fowler.  I either devour her books in a sitting or quit entirely 100 pages in. This one fell in the middle. Though I liked the story line,  I had a hard time connecting to the sisters.  They were all self-centered. Fowler tried too hard to make them "individuals " and it made them cardboard and more like stock characters. The ending just too "cute".
I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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