Cover Image: It All Comes Down to This

It All Comes Down to This

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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!
Was this review helpful?
Loved the characters, loved the storyline, loved absolutely everything about this book!  It is interesting and thought provoking-don't miss it!
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
I absolutely loved this novel that explores three sisters'(Beck, Claire, and Sophie) and their relationships with each other and their family as they deal with their mother's sudden death from cancer. Each of the sisters has issues--either with husbands, or money, or relationships in general. But when their beloved mother dies and her request is for them to sell the "cottage" on an island, they believe it is the right thing to do. But of course what we believe and what happens is very often not the same thing. So as they grapple individually with their consciences and the ones closest to them in their lives, they realize that fate sometimes has a way of delivering just what is really needed in life. I love the way Fowler writes and will continue to read whatever she writes!
Was this review helpful?
Although I really liked A Good Neighborhood, the author’s latest book, It All Comes Down to This, did not get off the ground for me.  I thought the plot was too all over the place and not particular interesting or unique, there are so many books about messy lives and family drama.  I also didn’t feel invested in the characters.  I liked the overall message of the book, but think the route to the end did not reach it’s potential.  

Thank you very much to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the advanced reader’s copy of this book.
Was this review helpful?
Would give 3.5 stars.

I enjoyed the first 85% of this book. The last 15%, however, kept the rating at a 3.5 stars instead of 4.

It All Comes Down to This by Therese Anne Fowler follows the three Geller sisters, Beck, Claire and Sophie. Born and raised in NYC, the girls now live in an NYC suburb (Beck), Duluth, MN (Claire) and all over (Sophie). We first meet their mother, Marti, as she prepares for her own death. The Geller family owns a cottage in Maine and as part of her Will, Marti wants the girls to sell the house. As the girls gather for their mother's funeral, they start to reconnect. Each girl struggles with her own domestic and personal issues, which unravel throughout the novel.

The end, however, seems to have only a narrative connection to the rest of the novel. The majority of the novel is told in third person, transferring from girl to girl. The ending, though, switches to first person and takes place 18 months after the initial ending. The stories, while predictable, were engaging and the ending did nothing to wrap them up. We only see things from Beck's perspective and have no understanding how she got to where she is or how her sisters got to where they are. It seems to me that the author ran out of space, like when you write a paper for school that can't be any longer than ten pages. I feel like Fowler hit page nine and realized that she needed to finish the story quickly.

I did find the story engaging from the beginning. It's an easy read with some fun parts, but I felt that overall the reader was left hanging with lots of dangling plot points that were not addressed. Why introduce some of the characters if they didn't play a role down the road?

Thanks to #StMartinsPress and #NetGalley for an ARC. #ItAllComesDowntoThis #ThereseAnneFowler
Was this review helpful?
Writing: 4/5 Characters: 5/5 Plot: 4/5

Three grief-stricken sisters (Beck, Claire, and Sophie) wondering how to go forward without their mother, one recently released felon trying to move forward after the drastic side-swipe of events leading to his conviction, and one old house (which said dead mother insisted posthumously be sold) on a gorgeous and remote island off the coast of Maine.  These are the components of Fowler’s “messy-families dramedy.” Beck — a freelance journalist with a quietly crumbling marriage; Claire — a pediatric cardiologist whose marriage crashed when her secret unrequited love was inadvertently revealed; Sophie — living an instagram life hobnobbing with wealthy art investors while housesitting because she can’t afford rent; and CJ — poster child of the poor little rich boy who wants nothing more than a peaceful place to paint after a harrowing three years in the pen.

Very good writing full of tart observations on life from a variety of perspectives.    Good character insight.  I found it interesting that I actually liked CJ more than I liked any of the sisters — probably because he was a little less self centered than the others having already gone through his lesson learning phase (prison will do that to you I hear) while they spend much of the book going through theirs.   Some great background stories featuring Manhattan, LA, Dubai, and the wealthy world of art collectors.  Also, an adorable little boy who kind of stole the show from my perspective.

Very enjoyable read.

Some good quotes:

“I needed to be humbled — I see that now.  It’s the antidote for self-pity, which I admit to indulging more than a few times during the Great Undoing, when I allowed myself to think about how well everything was going for everyone else.”

“I never meant to get so caught up in all the artifice.  I never thought the lifestyle would come to own me.  It was a kind of addiction, I can totally see that now.  … No more fueling myself with the facade of adulation from strangers who think I’m more than I am.”

“What unreasonable, illogical bastards feelings were.”

“Besides, a wealthy, liberal man with high intelligence and a sense of ethics like Sophie wanted was probably not going to look at her and see spouse material.  Leaving aside her fine-tuned physical appearance, what did she have to offer?  Being nimble, being wily, being conniving when that’s what was necessary to do the task at hand — this was not a compelling attribute list for a future Mrs. Liberal Billionaire.”

“Maybe because Mom was the glue.  You know?  Dad was … he made us like dandelion seeds, scattering us all over the city so that we could see and do everything.  But then Mom held us all together, and now we’re adrift because neither of them are here.”

“CJ could not speak for every man, but in his view softer parts were just fine! Softer parts were natural! If God had meant for women to look like praying mantises, he’d have made their ability to bite men’s heads off literal.”
Was this review helpful?
Thank you Netgalley and St. Martins Press for providing this me this arc. 

This is a wonderful story and female relationships, mothers and daughters, and sisterhood. I really enjoyed it and flew through the pages quickly.
Was this review helpful?
I usually look for character development when I read, and I found it in all four major characters in this book. Each starts from a place of uncertainty and unhappiness and  is skillfully led by the author through their often-thwarted attempts to find fulfillment. 

Three are adult sisters whose mother, who recently passed away from cancer, wants them to come together to prepare the family home in Maine for sale and share the proceeds. One of the sisters, a journalist,  desperately wants a career as a novelist and has a marriage that has lost all sexual intimacy. The second sister, a pediatric oncologist, has recently ended her marriage and longs secretly for an inappropriate man. The third leads a life of travel and celebrities but can't seem to lock down a career that keeps her from financial dire straits and satisfies her appreciation of art. And a man who was imprisoned for attempted murder and has a history with one of the sisters is trying to buy their mother's house. 

I particularly enjoyed the illuminating final chapters of the book, including an epilogue that lets the reader know what each character is doing toward achieving their life goals. 

My thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for giving me the opportunity to read and honestly review this book.
Was this review helpful?