Cover Image: It All Comes Down to This

It All Comes Down to This

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

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 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
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.

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?

It took me a bit to get into this family drama. After the matriarch of the Geller family dies, her three daughters must sell the family's Maine cottage.

Was this review helpful?

This was an entertaining, quick read, and was well written, but kind of left me wanting more. The beginning of the book made it sound like major secrets were being kept, and when they came out, they just didn't feel that dramatic to me. Marti's secret(s) in particular seemed so unimportant they made me wonder why she was keeping them all along. And some missing plot points - was Marti actually Jewish? Was that part of the secret? And the storyline between Claire and Paul was wrapped up too neatly. I thought it was building up to some major confrontation between CJ and the sisters which never happened. And Sophie's story may have been personally wrapped up, but I wanted to find out more what happened with her boss and the gallery. There was also way too much of a reliance on coincidences, which I can see happening with a small town in Maine, but definitely not what happens at the end of the book. So while I think the book was a nice read, I couldn't get these things out of my head.

Was this review helpful?

I really enjoyed this book after I got into it. It took me a while in the beginning because there were so many characters and I felt like I couldn't keep everyone straight. After I got more involved in the story, I enjoyed the characters, the different storylines, and the setting. I feel like planning a trip to Maine after reading it!
Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for an arc of this book.

Was this review helpful?

More than deserving of my 5-star rating, this delightful confection of a book concerns itself with Fate. Whether you call it Kismet (from the Islamic) or Bashert (from the Yiddish), this book is about fate and how strangely and unexpectedly it can find you.

Marti, mother t0 three daughters, dies of lung cancer early in the book and leaves, with her will, a video that tells the three Geller sisters that her whole life was a lie. Rather than being from Kentucky and an orphan, Marti confesses that she was a child of a poor farm family in Mt. Desert Island, Maine. The cottage there is to be sold with the proceeds divided among the three sisters.

Beck, a journalist and the eldest, is married to Paul, an editor in a dull, unsatisfying long marriage. Claire, middle sister is a successful pediatric cardiac surgeon, newly divorced from Chad. In a tipsy confession, Claire had told Chad she had always loved her brother-in-law, Paul.

The youngest, prettiest sister, Sophie, is a gallerist and Instagram media influencer. She travels in posh circles, rubbing shoulders with celebrities like George and Amal Clooney, Liev Schreiber, and famous models, rock stars and celebrities. He life is a page six story, except that she is almost broke.

C.J., an ex-con who has just been released from prison for attempted murder of his rich but verbally abusive father, comes to. Mt. Desert Island to find a scenic place in which to paint. Arlo, whom he meets there, is an orphaned 8-year-old being cared for by his elderly grandmother.

How their lives combine, recombine and change is what makes this book so charming and engrossing. Unlike most Women's Fiction (a term I dislike) this novel is filled with humor, great characters and purely wonderful writing.

With winter rapidly approaching, this is the perfect book with which to curl up. while, covered with a cashmere throw and drinking hot chocolate. Every character and page comes to life in full color. The fun of reading it makes it worth every star.

Thanks to the publisher and author for an early copy to read in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

As the book opens, Marti Geller is dying and is finalizing her will with very specific instructions for the division of her property. While her three adult daughters are not estranged, they are very different individuals and each very much into her own life. They are required to come together in agreement to carry out their mother’s final wishes. I did not find many redeeming qualities in the characters in the first half of the book, yet by the end I found their actions endearing. A newly released ex con working in the area and his very loving relationship with an orphaned adolescent boy provides a nice sub plot, and the Maine coast makes for a pleasant setting. I enjoy novels that have strong sibling relationships, and as the novel ends, there is no question that these sisters have each other’s backs. It ties up a little too neatly, but then why should I complain about a happy ending? While I didn’t find this as enjoyable as the author’s earlier novels, it did make for an interesting read.
#ItAllComesDownToThis. #NetGalley

Was this review helpful?

I’m a sucker for appropriate endings! I say it that way to keep from spoiling it for other readers. This book is about three sisters whose Mother has just died. At times I thought the book was a little boring and focused on things that were not pertinent to the story. Then there would be a few chapters that were well written and interesting. The sisters are Beck, Claire and Sophie. They are very different and live very different lives. But then, they are sisters that were raised by both of their parents and so they really are somewhat alike. It’s an interesting story and I would probably read another from this author. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read an advance copy for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

I want to thank St Martin’s Press and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review It All Comes Down to This by Therese Anne Fowler.
Marti has three very different adult daughters. Marti, who is terminally ill, has carefully crafted what happens when she dies.
A lot of this story revolves around “camp”, the family summer home in Mount Desert Inn, Maine. Secrets abound, even from the grave, and beyond.
Does Beck confront Paul? Is he gay?
Will Claire and Paul ever confess their feelings for one another?
How does Sophie extricate herself?
This novel , is a woman’s book. There are good character studies and descriptions.
It All Comes Down to This is scheduled for publication June 7, 2022.

Was this review helpful?