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It All Comes Down to This

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I’ve had a very mixed relationship with Fowler’s books.  I’ve loved some and disliked some.   This one, unfortunately, fell in the latter category.  I just could not get invested in the lives of any of the characters.  Marti Geller, 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.  They each struggle with the loss of their mother and the need to unload the family’s Maine cottage. But I just could not relate to their problems, especially their romantic entanglements.  The book deals with playing it safe and being pushed out of your comfort zone.  
I also found the story very uneven.   It’s not a good sign when you keep checking how many more pages there are to read.  The ending was a cliche that did little to make me feel like I hadn’t wasted my time.  
My thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advance copy of this book.
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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️-  { IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THIS- Therese Anne Fowler}

Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read the ARC of Therese Anne Fowlers newest novel in exchange for an honest review! 

This is a story of three sisters - 36 year old Sophie is a professional “do-er “ for the rich and famous. Working in a art gallery and hustling for famous people on the side has done wonders for her instagram game, but shes starting to feel too old for the upscale club environment she frequently finds herself in. 40 year old Claire is a mother and pediatric cardiologist stuck in Minnesota and working through a messy divorce after drunkenly admitting to her husband she has feelings for another man. And last is 44 year old Beck, an unsuccessful writer who’s sexless marriage has led her to secretly suspect her husband is having a gay affair with his business partner, but has kept quiet to keep her children and grandchild happy and close. Their lives have taken them in totally different directions but they all are at a pivotal life altering stage, and the death of their mother forces them together and forces them to deal with some hard truths about where they are in life and where they ultimately want to be.

I loved A Good Neighborhood so I was eager to jump into another one of her novels. And folks…I was not disappointed! Each chapter focuses on a different character (either one of the sisters or the supporting men in their lives), but the chapters are long enough and in depth enough that you don’t feel cheated out of developing strong feelings for each one individually. And I actually liked every single character which is a rare find! 🤣 There was certainly romance, and different levels of loss (jobs, loved ones, identity) but there was a happy ending for everyone in some way or another and it just rounded out in a really enjoyable way! And since so much was going on there was really never a dull moment so the pages flew!
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Sometimes it's just best to quit while you're ahead.  And it's certainly the case with It All Comes Down to This.

I'm sure that other readers will disagree with my assessment.  But I found It All Comes Down to This, just uninteresting.  The characters are dry as dust.  And the family drama really isn't drama at all.  The Geller sisters just seemed to be self-centered -- each touting their own agenda, not caring about the other.  The only character that I did like was their mother, Marti.  Too bad she had to die, rather than cementing the family relationship.

Basically, I read the first 25%, then skimmed the last few chapters to see if I missed anything.  Nope.  Nothing missed and I dodged another bullet.  One star.

I received a digital ARC from St. Martin's Press through NetGalley.  The review herein is completely my own and contains my honest thoughts and opinions.
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Good family drama with strong characters, the matriarch is preparing to die but wants to shield her three daughters from the news.. Recommended for women who enjoy family dramas with well fleshed-out characters. Fans of Ann Patchett and/or Emma Straub will appreciate. Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC.
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It All Comes Down to This
By Therese Anne Fowler

If you are looking for a heartwarming read about family dynamics and the things that really matter over a lifetime, then this is the book for you.  It is the story of three sisters: Beck, the oldest, a homemaker and part time writer; Claire, a pediatric cardiologist, recently divorced; and Sophie, the baby, the free spirit, and the most irresponsible.

The story begins with the death of their mother, Marti.  She leaves the girls two legacies: a house on Mount Desert Island and a tell-all confessional dvd in which she divulges secrets she has kept from her family throughout her lifetime.

As the sisters each grapple with their loss and each one's shifting family situations, the story reveals that the sisters, while having had erroneous ideas about their roles in the family, learn that nothing and no one is ever all that she seems.  The barriers to closeness begin to fall as understanding grows and the sisters finally see that it all comes down to love.

I loved this book.  The characters, while imperfect, are likeable – and relatable.  I especially liked the relationship between C.J. and Arlo.  The author displays a good grasp of what it means to be family.
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This is a character study book. If that sounds like your cup of tea, then It All Comes Down To This by Therese Ann Fowler is going to be your jam. It's poetically written. I know it wasn't, but the author made it seem effortlessly written. The writing just flows throughout the narrative with such ease, it's not a hard read, but a thoughtful read. It's super lovely. I would've never picked it on my own.

 Thank you to St Martins Press for the advanced reader copy. 

I recommend it to fans of Jodi Picoult.
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I LOVED Fowler's "A Good Neighborhood," but this novel fell very very flat. I don't remember the last time I read a novel with so much conflict, but such a tidy ending. The characters were not well developed and most of them had few redeeming qualities. I wanted to love this, but only liked it instead. Fowler's writing style, as ever, is crisp and engaging, and one of the book's best qualities.
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I started out really liking this book. It is character-driven and I started to become invested in the characters. And then…nothing happens. I read to 50% and the author is still developing the characters, delaying any climax or any kind of rising action, really. Characters can only get you so far. Perhaps the second half is amazing, but if so, it is taking too long to get there. Thank you for this advanced copy, NetGalley!
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Wow! I was not prepared to fall in love with tis book, but fall in love I did. Folwer weaves together the life stories of three sisters, Beck, Claire, and Sophie, adding in story threads from their mom, Mari, an old flame with a plot twist of a past, CJ, and Beck's husband, Paul.

To manage a story with so many characters, so many subplots, and so many details takes an expert level of writing not often seen in literary fiction, but is done to perfection in "It All Comes Down to This." The characters are flawed, yet in a relatable way, making the reader love them dearly, whether they deserve it or not. This complexity, coupled with the moving storyline from multiple perspectives made this book both engaging and endearing.

The themes of this novel could be redemption, forgiveness, and coming into one's own. If you enjoyed "We Are The Brennans" by Tracey Lange, you will assuredly love this lighter hearted but equally complex story.
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This is an entertaining story with drama, relationship issues, baggage, responsibilities, and the bonds of sisterhood and family. It was an enjoyable read.
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The story of Beck, Claire, and Sophie told from mainly Beck's view. It is a story of sisterly binds, relationships, and memories. It was good but didn't wow me. Slow going at times and parts of it, didn't fit in with the rest of the story. Read it if you stumble across it but not one I'd probably be in a hurry to read.
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3.75 out of 5. This one is a hard one to pin point. I really enjoyed the ending, and how it all ties up, but the first 50% of the book dragged. It could have been shorter and more to the point as it just made me not understand what we were doing or where we are going to. I think I found with this book the opposite of with the Paper Palace. I really enjoyed the destination and not the journey, where as in that one I loved the journey and fell flat of the destination. I also think there were too many characters and not enough happening, and it really did not make sense to have so much of CJ, let alone involve him even in the description. I think the story was about the sisters, why give him so much protagonism?. It is an interesting family saga, a good character exploration but really there are better books.
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Beck, Claire, and Sophie Geller have recently lost their mother, Marti, to cancer. Born and raised in New York City, the siblings spent many summers, growing up, at their summer house in Maine. Marti’s will stipulates that that home must be sold, and the profits divided equally among her daughters, but they do not immediately agree on that course of action. Before the final decision is made, each of them must contend with upended personal lives, and what shape their futures will take from that point on.

After trying her hand at historical fiction twice, Therese Anne Fowler debuted a contemporary racial drama tinged with tragedy in A Good Neighborhood, one of my favorite reads of 2020. In It All Comes Down to This, she continues her incursion into the contemporary fiction genre, albeit less successfully than with its predecessor. This novel has the feel of a summer read and unfolds, partly, in a beachy setting, so it’s perhaps appropriate that it’s released towards the start of the summer season.

Aside from its readability, the drama doesn’t score points for originality; most of  Elin Hilderbrand’s Nantucket novels are like this— three siblings cast adrift by their life choices face a reckoning… and, possibly, their own versions of a happy ending. Just because it’s not original doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining; it is, though it feels denser at times than a drama like this should feel. It’s not Fowler’s best work by any means, but it comes down as smoothly as a good tonic.

Disclaimer: The publisher provided me with a digital ARC, via Netgalley, in exchange for my honest opinion.
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'Three things cannot long stay hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth.' –Buddha


Near the end of 2019 I read Therese Anne Fowler’s A Good Neighborhood, which I loved, but it’s the only other book of hers I’ve read. I’d hoped to enjoy this one as much, or nearly as much, but… alas, it was apparently not meant to be.

Three sisters, a mother who dies early on in this story, and the grief that follows. Grief for the loss of their mother, but also finding out that their mother had determined that the summer cottage that has fond memories, along with everything else, is to be sold, with each receiving one third of all proceeds.

The loss of their mother wasn’t exactly a surprise, they knew there was a strong potential for it on the horizon, but hoped for more time with her.

Sophie, the youngest, seems to be living a carefree lifestyle, living well beyond her means, hob-nobbing with the rich and famous, with clothes and accessories to impress.

Claire, now divorced, is the middle child and a pediatric cardiologist, and while she treats the hearts of others, her heart belongs to one who is unaware.

Beck’s marriage isn’t exactly rocky, but it isn’t exactly what she’d hoped for in a marriage. There’s no passion, at least none coming from her husband Paul. She suspects another reason for the lack of passion. Beck is a freelancer, currently as a journalist, but she has long wanted more. To write a novel, and to rewrite her life.

Struggling over the terms their mother set over the sale of the cottage, Beck tries to convince her siblings to keep the cottage. It is where she plans to write, and she can’t bear to lose this place. So she goes there in order to clear out the things that need to go, save the things that have memories attached, and hope, somehow, that all will turn out in the end.


Pub Date: 07 Jun 2022

Many thanks for the ARC provided by St. Martin’s Press
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One of the top ten ARC's I've read this year! My first time reading this author, it will most certainly not be my last! No spoilers from me; This is a family drama, a beloved mother and three daughters and all the twists and turns one would expect. The things said, and not said until it was too late to ask the questions. What a beautifully written novel! Well worth the time and I would highly recommend it.   

As aways, many thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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What an interesting take on a family novel! Meet the Geller sisters: Beck, Claire, and Sophie - all clearly related but terribly different and all facing large problems in their personal lives. Their beloved Matriarch, Mari is dying of cancer and has left an interesting caveat in her will.  The caveat upends many of the plans the sisters have made and this causes much of the drama.

I greatly enjoyed this novel. I liked getting to know the characters and hearing about their problems. I will say that some of the situations did not seem plausible, and there were just too many plots to pull together. The writing, however, was fantastic and I continue to read on to see what would happen next. If you love a contemporary family drama, fight with your own siblings at get togethers, or just are interested in situation where the Will surprises all -then #ItCallComesDownToThis is for you! #STMartinsPress #Netgalley #NetGallyereads
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There's no doubt that Therese Anne Fowler is an incredibly talented writer, as evidenced by "A Good Neighborhood", but many things about this book missed the mark a bit for me. The plot felt a little piecemeal & meandering, and I felt that there were too many plot points to focus on & this detracted from the ultimate impact of the book. Fowler is best when she's writing about conflict between characters, making even the most irrational of responses feel relatable, and I wish that she had focused on Beck as the main character, with C.J. as a secondary, leaving Claire and Sophie as recurring characters and not including as much of their day-to-day lives. It wasn't relevant to the arc of the story & made the book longer than it needed be. Despite all of this, I would still recommend this book as an entertaining, thought-provoking summer read.
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This book about family secrets, sisterhood, and missed chances really struck a chord with me.  While I most identified with Beck, I did find the other two sisters (Claire and Sophie) interesting in their own ways as well.  In particular, I hadn't ever seen an examination of what it's like to be a "influencer-adjacent" like Sophie, who survives through her friendships and connections with famous friends, but has accomplished little on her own and wound up seriously in debt.  When their mother dies and leaves the old famous home in Maine to the girls to sell off, it causes ripples throughout all three lives they didn't see coming.  If you're a fan of intricately-woven family dynamics, you should enjoy this one.  The writing is well-done, as we've come to expect from Fowler who has established her bonafides with best sellers in the past.  While the plot did get lost a bit in the middle and began to meander, it ultimately came together in the end in a satisfying way.
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This is a contemporary family drama about three estranged sisters coming together after their mother's sudden death to sell their mother's vacation home in Maine.  Each of the sisters has issues she is dealing with.  This book was well-written, but not all that engaging.  Everyone has a messy life, and I wasn't all that enthralled to find out what was going on with each sister.
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Marti is dying but she does not want her three daughters to know until  she actually passes. It was interesting watching the relationship between the sisters, the differences and the similarities and their relationship with each other and the family.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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