Cover Image: It All Comes Down to This

It All Comes Down to This

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Member Reviews

In her newest book, Therese Anne Fowler shares the story of a trio of sisters who must reunite in order to sell the family’s summer cottage in Mount Desert Island, Maine as required by their mother’s will. While working through their grief, Beck, Claire, and Sophie each realize that they are unhappy with their lives and are seeking solace and change. When ex-con C.J. Reynolds arrives with his own set of secrets, he creates waves between the Gellar sisters and their mission. 

From the first sentence, It All Comes Down to This starts off with bang that instantly piqued my interest. After the Gellar sisters receive their instructions to sell the family’s summer cottage, the story shifts between each, unleashing a bevy of misgivings about the lives they’ve chosen. The secretive C.J. Reynolds seems to hover in between chapters. As as reader who throughly enjoys emotional family dramas, this one just missed the the mark for me. And it all comes down to this—miscommunication as a plot device. 

Thank you to the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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It All Comes Down to This by Therese Anne Fowler is about secrets and family.  This is my first book by Ms. Fowler and I can truthfully say that she creates strong, caring, insightful characters, male and female both. However, this novel does center around three sisters with strong differences between all three.  The chapters alternate between each sister in order to create a well rounded view of each one.  

I believe what intrigued me the most about the story was why the main characters were behaving they way they were.  Each is living with a secret about themselves reminding us that just below the surface each family has their own issues.  The evolution of the sisters relationship depends on them finally acknowledging their own past and being honest with themselves.  It is then that is possible to reconnect with not only themselves but others that play an important role in their life. As you read the story you find the reoccurring theme of finding your own passion, being authentic to ones self and ultimately how that changes one for the better. 

The setting is also a major character.  It takes place on Mount Desert Island in Maine.  Ms. Fowler does a great job of making the reader see the cottage, the town and most importantly the sea.  Each sister’s future revolves around the family summer home located here.  

Thank you to Therese Anne Fowler, St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.  I look forward to reading more from Ms. Fowler.
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As a fan of family sagas and Therese Anne Fowler's writing, I was excited to hear about IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THIS! After matriarch Marti dies, sisters Beck, Claire, and Sophie must sell their family's summer cottage in Maine. 

Their messiness is quickly put on display: Beck is unhappily in a sexless marriage and can't seem to make headway on her long-dreamed-of novel, Claire wants a man she can't have and is diagnosed with high blood pressure, and Sophie's in steep credit card debt. 

I think this book may be a hit for those looking for a light yet dramatic read, but it doesn't seem to be for me. The first quarter hasn't been enough to reel me in, and a weird passage made me want to put the book down. (After saying he supports a colleague exploring their "nonbinary identity and ungendered pronouns," the character flubs the difference between female and woman, and makes some gross comments regarding their server's body.) I so wanted to root for these characters but it feels like they keep giving me reasons not to (I'd already continued past a comment about there being a first for everything, including "unwanted sex"). I don't necessarily need likable characters to find a book worth reading, but in the absence of those, I need a more engaging plot. 

Credit goes to narrator Barrie Kreinik for bringing me this far. Her narration is well done and really carries the book along. 

DNF at 27%
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I’ve read one of the author’s previous books. I though that one was three stars so I was very interested to see how I’d like this one! 

Each sister had their own big issue that steered them through the book. Sophie’s needed more energy to it, I think the could have made work way more dramatic especially with her all or nothing personality. 

I liked Beck, thought she was relatable in the way that most men and women have a middle life crisis and shake up their life. I wish they would have talked about Martie’s secrets more. We get an overview that Martie had some huge secret, they touch on it one time like it was a big deal only to never to return to it. I feel like they revealed it so slowly and weirdly that I barely understood it. 

This book gives me similar feeling to the other one I read. I feel like it had good bones and was decently fleshed out but there were a few parts that could have been emphasized more that would have made it a more dramatic and better story. Thank you Netgalley & the publisher for a copy in exchange for an honest review!
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Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an early read of this book!

It All Comes Down To This by Therese Anne Fowler is the tale of three sisters trying to navigate their way through life and relationships in the wake of their mother's death.  Beck is the oldest, a freelance journalist afraid to write the novel she knows she has inside herself.  Claire is the middle child, a doctor and achiever, newly divorced, in love with a man she cannot have.. Sophie is the youngest, trying to make her way as an art influencer, perpetually house sitting because she has no home of her own.  With their mother Marti gone, they all find themselves at a crossroads.  Marti has left instructions in her will that the family's summer home in Maine should be sold and the proceeds split between them all. This final instruction will cause ripples - both major and minor - through the lives of all three sisters and nothing will be the same again.  I did like this book, though was not wowed by it.  All three sisters are well-drawn and sympathetic,  I can't give examples without giving away a few plot points, but I did think that the ending was a little too feel good to be realistic.  That said, it didn't stop me from being glad that each sister got a happy ending that suited them!  This title would be good for fans of titles that feature the complex relationships between women, be they sisters or friends or both.
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This story started out strong. You could feel the devastation when mom, Marti Geller passes away leaving her 3 daughters to grieve . For me the theee daughters went flat .I didn’t like their characters and it made the story difficult to flow organically at times.  Filled with lots of sex the story got lost among the pages  Sadly, I was unable to connect with any part of the story and it dragged for me.I have enjoyed other books by Fowler and will confide to support her writing! 

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s press for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for an advanced readers copy of this novel for my honest opinion. It is published now so go get yourself a copy of this great book.

"It All Comes Down to This" is a slow burn of a family drama that centers around three sisters who are trying to follow their mother's final wishes. As in real life, their own lives sometimes get in the way of honoring their mother.

Not super fast paced, but that is OK. That is real life. I enjoyed this novel and recommend it for your summer reading.
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Thank you for the opportunity to read this novel. It was not for me so I won't be leaving a full review.
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Dramatic, sentimental, and sweet!

It All Comes Down to This is an intricate, engaging tale that takes you into the lives of the Geller sisters, Beck, Claire, and Sophie, as after the death of their mother, they must confront the past, accept the things they cannot change, take chances, repair fractured relationships, and embrace the future.

The prose is smooth and fluid. The characters are stubborn, troubled, and independent. And the plot is a tender tale about life, loss, forgiveness, secrets, responsibilities, familial drama, friendship, hope, second-chance romance, and sisterhood.

Overall, I found It All Comes Down to This to be an optimistic, nostalgic saga by Fowler that drags slightly in parts but overall does a lovely job of reminding us that life is messy and complicated, especially when it comes to family.
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“It All Comes Down to This” is a perfectly fine book, but not one that I think will be particularly memorable.  It started off well, but I think it got bogged down in the middle of the story and became rather boring.  This was a decent read, but not one that left me excited or likely to recommend, Accordingly, this is a 3 star ⭐️ rating for me.  Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher.
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The characters on this family drama, kept my attention. I liked the sisters' dynamic and the storyline.  I would recommend.
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This was my first time reading Therese Fowler's work. I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it. I think I did like her writing style and will try her previous book Good Neighbors. In this book, I thought the plot and basic storyline were good, but I just didn't connect with any of the characters - they all fell flat to me. With a little more character development, or maybe just more likeable characters?, I think this would have been much better. There are some great bones here though.
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If you were to look up the word dysfunctional in the dictionary you would probably find the names of the three sisters featured in Therese Anne Fowler’s IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THIS. First there’s Beck, 44, eldest daughter and freelance journalist whose all-consuming ambition is to write the great American novel.  Next we have Claire the pediatric cardiologist, successful in her profession but not in her love life. Third is Sophie the beautiful blogger who survives in her lavish lifestyle by utilizing her charm and wits, not to mention her over-used credit cards and the hand-outs and support of friends…..when they can afford to be generous. All of the sisters have secrets they’re not going to share with the others since none of them has ever been particularly close………. much to the chagrin of their mother Marti.

When Marti, a widow, succumbs to her stage 4 cancer she leaves the family beach cottage in Maine to the girls instructing them to sell the property and split the money between them. Of course, one sister is anxious to get her hands on the cash since she views it as the solution to all her financial problems while another insists on keeping the property but does not have the cash to buy out the other two.

Needless to say, there are the predictable sibling dynamics and love interests in the lives of all three women and the resolution of the tale can also be categorized as predictable. 

An okay read, but nothing to lose sleep over.
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This book was well-written, but I found a lot of it seemed a bit too coincidental, particularly in the romance storylines. Still it was an enjoyable read.
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This multigenerational family drama is about three grown sisters that are coming to terms with the death of their mother and the sale of their family summer house on an island in Maine. 

My only criticisms are, that the story did take a while to get moving, and that I felt disconnected not only to the characters, but to the plot. Nothing overly interesting happens, it just meanders. I can see why Fowler's writing is compared to Ann Patchett's, but it lacks the intrigue.
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Therese Anne Fowler is a “new to me” author whose books I’ve heard good things about but never got a chance to read.  When I heard she had a new book out and I happened to get approved for an ARC, I figured now would be as good a time as any to acquaint myself with Fowler’s works. Now having finished this book, I’m thinking I probably should’ve started with a different book of hers, as this one turned out to be a huge disappointment.

While the premise had sounded interesting, I quickly discovered, a few chapters in, that this book would be different from what I originally expected.  To me, the basic gist of this book could be summed up this way:  a bunch of privileged, self-centered people endlessly try to justify the foolish (and at times downright stupid) life choices / decisions / actions that they may (or may not) regret making.   None of the characters were likable (and that’s putting it mildly) — nearly every character was whiny to the point of grating on my nerves and the more they complained about their messy lives (and even messier relationships), the less sympathy I had for any of them.  The only character I was able to tolerate (and probably the only character I didn’t find annoying) was 10-year-old Arlo— unfortunately, his scenes were too few and far between.

In terms of the writing — well, let’s just say that it left much to be desired.  There were way too many instances where scenes and dialogue were drawn out unnecessarily in what I would call “stating the obvious” type of writing (“he picked up the newspaper, opened it, read it, folded it back up, put it back down” — not a direct quote, but it conveys the general idea) — which, of course, is the type of writing I absolutely cannot stand.  

Basically, I could not get into this one at all — many of the scenes (in fact, the plot in general) felt contrived, the characters were frustratingly whiny, the writing felt stilted and rudimentary — so much so that each time I put the book down, I dreaded picking it back up again.  I did end up finishing this one (I’m the type of reader who finds it extremely hard to DNF a book once I start it), but not without A LOT of skimming through nearly 50% of the book.  While I don’t intend to write Fowler off based on this one experience, I’m not necessarily in a rush to read another book of hers yet either, as I need some time to get the bad taste from this one out of my system.  

Received ARC from St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley.
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This is a engrossing family drama that starts off with a mother finding out her cancer treatments are at an end and going home to tell her 3 daughters, Beck, Claire & Sophie, and then putting her affairs in order.  One of those long put off things she did was record a video explaining some family history previously fictionalized for her family as well as a directive to sell the vacation cottage on Mount Desert Island in Maine.  The daughters all have their own lives and issues and have never been especially super close but going through this together brings them closer.  Beck the oldest doesn't want to sell, she wants to live there full time, and divorce her husband as well.  Claire is already divorced but she is a busy pediatric cardiologist with a child and part time custody.  Sophie is more of a fly by the seat of her pants type...no home or significant other.  She works with an art gallery and over 3 million followers on Instagram but her world is crashing as well.  

Then there's CJ Reynolds.  He came to MDI, after serving 3 years for "attempting" to kill his father, to buy a home and live full time and do what he always wanted, which is paint.  He is staying at a friend's house while he house shops and his friend's elderly aunt shows up with 8 year old Arlo in tow.  Arlo's parent's recently died in a plane crash and his grandmother (the elderly aunt) is now his guardian.  

The story just flowed so smoothly for me which made this so easy to read and enjoy.  If you like family dramas I can HIGHLY recommend this one!

Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin's Press, and Therese Anne Fowler for a free eARC of this book. It was amazing.
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The Short of It:

My expectations for this one were high but it fell short for me.

The Rest of It:

Meet the Geller sisters: Beck, Claire, and Sophie, a trio of strong-minded women whose pragmatic, widowed mother, Marti, will be dying soon and taking her secrets with her. Marti has ensured that her modest estate is easy for her family to deal with once she’s gone––including a provision that the family’s summer cottage on Mount Desert Island, Maine, must be sold, the proceeds split equally between the three girls.

You’ve probably read a story like this one before. A family home, filled with memories suddenly goes up for sale and there is the last “hurrah” of all the family members getting together to say goodbye to it. I was eagerly looking forward to this one because I loved Fowler’s A Good Neighborhood. But this one left a lot to be desired.

For one, I didn’t care for any of the characters. I found it hard to relate to any of them. As sisters, they didn’t seem to be all that close and honestly, there was little to be sentimental about in regards to the house. However, I liked it enough to give it a chance and although the three sisters didn’t work for me, some of their individual stories were interesting enough to keep me reading. I expected it to be quite compelling given my love for her previous book but it just landed too softly for me. Plus, I finished the book and then a week later couldn’t remember if I had read the ending so read it again. It left my brain that quickly.

Have you read it? What did you think?
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Just what I enjoy - a family drama with a twist!  When the Geller matriarch dies, her secrets are finally exposed and her three daughters are left to pick up the pieces.  Loved the different storylines and characters in this book.
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I was a fan of "A Good Neighborhood" and it quickly became a book club favorite so I was anxious to read this - and I think the same will be true of this book.  The loss of their mother brings 3 sisters back together in a way they hadn't been in years to fulfill her final wishes.  Along the way each discovers more about herself and her sisters.  This is about relationships, family secrets, love and loss - things we can all relate to.
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