I liked this domestic drama book, but I didn’t love it. The book is character-driven and I did not connect well with any of the characters, so my rating is really a 3.5, but I rounded it up because I was able to sympathize with their dilemmas. At the beginning of the book, Marti Geller, the matriarch of the family, dies and one of her last wishes was that the cottage in Maine be sold with the profits distributed equally between her three daughters, Beck, Claire and Sophie. These three characters tell the story, going between the past and the current times. Beck wants to keep the cottage but the other two want to sell it as soon as possible. When a southerner shows up and makes an offer on the house, the conflict is really stirred up between the siblings. C.J. Reynolds is charming and disarmingly attractive, bringing secrets with him for why he actually wants the cottage. I would add a fourth important character to the story and that is the cottage itself which plays a vital role in the drama and is almost personified within the confines of the story. The plot was woven around the characters, developed but not the central focus. The relationship between the siblings is complex as they all have different talents and personalities. I did like Claire the best because even though she has accomplished a great deal as a physician, she lacks confidence and independence. Sophie is a free spirit, roaming social media at all hours, and Beck wants to be a writer. The reason Beck wants to keep the cottage is that she wants to use it as her writing retreat. Each woman’s past and future choices revolve around the setting of the cottage. The themes seemed to be a fear of change and the family ties that keep one grounded. This was a satisfactory read, not mesmerizing by any means, but easy to read and not controversial or nerve-inducing. I recommend it to anyone who just wants to escape into a book that entertains without a big circus act. Just drama, plodding along to the end. The conclusion was well written and wrapped up the story in a way that made me happy that I had read the book.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guidelines Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”
The Geller sisters, Beck, Claire, and Sophie, return to their family cottage home in Maine to put it up for sale after the death of their mother.
Each sister going through one life crisis or another, and each of them with big secrets.
I don't think I'll ever tire of messy, character driven family dramas. I love being dropped in the middle of a family whose members are grappling with something individually and together, and the ways familys tend to be either a landing or taking off point. I love being along for the ride.
It All Comes Down to This is a character study about sisterhood, loss, home, and how life can turn out differently than you once envisioned.
The characters and setting were so well written; I really enjoy Fowler's writing. Not much plot-wise to unpack but fantastic characterization.
Read this if you like Ann Patchett and Emma Straub.
Thanks St Martins Press and Netgalley for the advance e-copy!
Marti Geller is a widow with three adult daughters. She doesn’t have much time left, so she is getting her affairs in order — explicitly stating that the family cottage in Maine must be sold and split equally between the three daughters. Beck, Claire, and Sophie, who are all in very different stages of their lives, must now come together.
This one started with a lot of potential and I really wanted to love it — but it fell a little short for me. My interest was lost along the way at various times, but then the story would pull me back in. I enjoyed the growth that each of the sisters went through as they were facing different challenges. However, I personally didn’t connect to any of them.
What I really liked were the family dynamics, secrets, and different relationships between all of the characters. [Three stars means that I liked the book, but I was left wanting a little more.]
I love a family drama but something was missing in this one for me. I didn't feel as connected to the characters as I would have liked to.
DNF. Unfortunately, this was a book I started multiple times but could just not get into. I appreciate having the opportunity to read this book, it was just not a good fit for me as a reader. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for my gifted review copy.
I was excited to dig into a family drama, especially one that dug into sisterhood and their relationships, but It All Comes Down to This fell so flat for me. Tropes and a totally predictable plotline that was wrapped up far too neatly at the end was all disappointing. I think there was so much more that Fowler could've done with this but I never felt attached to the characters or sympathetic to their plight. It all read....'white people problems' to me.
I enjoyed the sisters aspect of this story, but ultimately, I did not love the ending. It felt very resolved (all the conflicts were tied up in a neat bow) and that's just not to my personal taste. If you like books with a clear resolution at the end, you'd probably enjoy this!
The author does such a great job in portraying the main characters of her story in a way that makes me feel like I truly know them. They are real and raw, which makes the story all the more engaging.
Therese Ann Fowler has a way of writing that evokes emotion and It All Comes Down to This is no exception. This is a story of sisterhood and family
Sisters Beck, Claire, and Sophie, have a complicated relationship. Beck, who is the oldest, is a freelance journalist and is married to her high school sweetheart, although their marriage hasn’t been intimate for many years. Claire, the middle sister, is a pediatric cardiologist and is secretly in love with Beck’s husband, Paul (although he doesn’t know it). The youngest sister, Sophie, seems to be living a glamorous life, but she’s really struggling to survive. She’s maxed out all her credit cards in trying to keep up with her lifestyle of celebrities, travel, fashion and art and now finds herself in a financial bind.
All three sisters come together after their mother, Marti, passes away. They need to agree on how to handle the sale of their family’s summer cottage on Mount Desert Island in Maine. Many things come to light as they work through this process and not everyone agrees on the sale of the property. To complicate matters, an ex-con named CJ Reynolds shows up in town and offers to buy the cottage, but a past relationship with one of the sisters complicates things.. Nothing is as it seems and many unexpected truths are about to come out.
This was the first book I’ve read by Therese Anne Fowler. The story didn’t keep my interest as much as I’d hoped it would, but there were some parts I enjoyed. Many thanks to #netgalley and #macmillanaudio for the opportunity to read and review an advanced copy of this book.
As Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor are among my favorite places, I was excited to read this book. I liked the premise of the plot, I liked all three of the Geller sisters and I adored CJ and Arlo. I liked how all the characters were intertwined with one another and of course I liked the ending of the book. However, my one complaint is that the book was a little long--I really didn't care about the art world enough to want a treatise on how people buy art and I kind of wish that the author had left off the "coda", but I would still recommend it--you don't even have to have visited MDI to enjoy it.
Oh, deep sigh. I'm really sorry to say that I was so disappointed by It All Comes Down to This. A Good Neighborhood is one of my favorite books, so I had such high hopes for this one, but it was a letdown. I just couldn't get invested in these characters and I didn't find their stories compelling. I'll keep reading Fowler's work because I do enjoy some parts of it, but ultimately this was a miss for me.
Beck, Claire, and Sophie find out that their mother is dying and will be going into hospice, or even palliative care. Before the girls can get to the mother's bedside, she passes away. In fact, their mother held back from telling them how seriously ill she was until it was too late. She didn't want the girls hovering about while she was dying. Her plan was for them to focus on their futures.
Each of the sisters grieve in their own way, all while navigating their own personal drama. Once they get together, there seems to be an unspoken bond between them - and that is to keep up appearances. Beck won't mention how unhappily married she is, Recently divorced Claire is a bit jaded when it comes to love and to men. Lastly, Sophie's life seems to be the most stable, and uses her social media presence to fund a rather glamorous life.
Whether seen or unseen, the sisters must push away their issues to deal with the loss of their mother, especially as they were unable to say goodbye to her. Between the three of them, they must decide what to do with the family cottage in Maine that was left to all of them. This is made especially hard as the sisters all have a strained relationship with each other. Can they get past secrets, lies and more in order to make a decision that will work for all of them?
In dramatic fashion, this story deals with emotions, both good and bad, decision making, with a smidge of romance thrown in. For further thoughts, please enjoy my YouTube video -
Many thanks to St. Martin's Press and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.
I received both an advance digital reading copy and advance listening copy of It All Comes Down To This by Therese Anne Fowler from @stmartinspress and @macmillianaudio. This book came out on June 7, 2022 - available now!
Beck, Claire and Sophie are left to deal with their mother Marti's estate after her passing. Marti has left instructions that will force her daughters back together in a way they haven't been in a long time.
To start off, I was immediately surprised with the huge amount of Jewish rep in this book. I haven't seen it talked about anywhere and had I known I definitely would have picked this book up sooner. All four women (plus other secondary characters) are Jewish, and there are constant references to pieces of Jewish customs. A lot of these are not specifically pointed out, but just occur naturally, which connected me to the book and the characters. (eg there is a time where a character us covering up the mirrors in a mourners home following a death).
Unfortunately, other than that I didn't love this one. There is minimal plot throughout the novel, we get to see lots about the characters lives and learn about them. But for someone like me who thrives on thrillers and mysteries, this one left me looking for more. It almost felt like the whole book was just the introduction to a book, a long introduction.
I listened to the audiobook version, and am glad I did. I think I would have has a bit of trouble getting through parts of it were I reading traditionally and highly recommend the audio book of this one if you're going to pick it up.
I recommend this book to people who thrive on character based books, and like peering into the regular events of characters lives in their stories.
2.5 rounded to 3.
3 sisters get together after their mother dies. They are coming to terms with loss and moving forward. There are secrets and upheaval and anger and forgiveness. But in the end the important things get sorted out. I love the significance of the title.
It is hard to review a book when you are neutral - nor really liking it nor having strong feelings one way or the other. I couldn’t relate to the characters but their situations rang close to true. There was just so much running off the rails and so much that could have been solved with a little bit of honesty and by the way when did that go out of vogue? The Geller sisters each have their pluses and minuses and they deal with each other marginally until needs require they try to pull together. Sounds like most families - it’s the pulling together that is so confusing - it spins and spins and spins. The matriarch, Marti, was the most interesting and developed character (at least in my head) and I would have loved to hear her voice overlapping all the “stuff” going on.
If you are looking for a book that is part sisterly love (and I emphasize partly), a lot of messy familial relationships that lap around and intertwine and become entangled and are “wow, really”?! - this may be for you.
Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for a copy.
This was an enjoyable novel but a little too predictable; none of the characters surprised me, nor did the plot. I did enjoy the "beach feel."
Sigh. I love TAF. Reading her work is like eating the most delicious dessert; It is so satisfying. I get a similar feeling with Ann Patchett’s writing so it was no surprise seeing many reviews mentioning that this has some similarities to a Patchett novel. I don’t know exactly what it is that appeals to me the most, but I know that I always enjoy the experience of reading one of her novels.
This is a quiet, introspective novel about life. The messiness of it. The joy, the love, the sadness, and the regret. It is a family story narrated by a dying woman and her three daughters. When the mother dies, each of the women are forced to come to terms with their life decisions and have to decide how much involvement, if any,they will continue to have with each other. The will states that they must sell the family vacation home on Mount Desert Island but each of the women has a different idea of what should be done with it. There are memories going back to their childhood at that place and they must come together to make a decision. We, the reader, get a look into the things that are most important to each of them. The ending is truly brilliant, as “It All Comes Down to This” message is revealed.
Don’t go in thinking it is going to be a fast-paced novel, because it is NOT. But it will make you reflect on your own choices and your hopes for the future. It’s probably not for everybody but I loved it.
It All Comes Down to This is one of those great messy family stories full of complicated characters in the kind of situations we all get ourselves into. It's set just following the death of the Geller sister's mother. In her will, she stipulates that the vacation home in Maine be sold. Each of the three sisters has an a back story and a reason to sell or not to sell. The book is about loss and life and getting what ;you need most. An added bonus, it's set in some of my favorite places NYC, coast of Maine, and Paris. It's a delightful read.
I am a fourth generation Mainer so I was delighted to find a summer cottage on Mt. Desert Island central to the story. I was taken back to my own summers on a different stretch of coastline, the sounds and smells of the rocky beaches, the miles of rustic trails just begging to be traveled.
It All Comes Down To This is a light, enjoyable family drama where no one's life is as it seems. The lies are not malicious, more of a "what you don't know won't hurt me" variety. The three Geller sisters are distinctly different, likeable but flawed characters who are consistently portrayed throughout this evenly paced story. Fowler is particularly adept at conveying both what is thought and what is said. When their mother dies leaving behind the family vacation home, the sisters face a common family conundrum, how do you decide what to do when everyone's needs are different. Add to the mix a little romance and a loveable young orphan boy and you have a story that provides a pleasant way to spend a couple of evenings.
Thank you to St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for providing a complimentary drc for my enjoyment and review.