Cover Image: It All Comes Down to This

It All Comes Down to This

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Therese Anne Fowler has become one of my must-read authors. I was so excited to get my hands on her newest novel as an ARC and it did not disappoint. Give me a nice, layered family drama any day. I had high expectations of this book after how much I loved Fowler's last novel and I was not disappointed at all. 

This story follows a family of 3 sisters after their mother's passing. The relationships between them is not what you would call close. They are as opposite as siblings can be, but they have to come together to deal with their mother's estate and final wishes. 

I enjoyed all three of the girls immensely and each one's storyline kept me hooked. It definitely did not end the way that I had expected, but I still loved the ending. Overall, one of my favorite reads of the year so far. 

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. The above opinions are all my own.
Was this review helpful?
I dropped totally and completely with joy into Therese Anne Fowler's IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THIS. When Marti Geller dies, she leaves behind three daughters and a clear directive to sell their family house on Mount Desert Island in Maine. What might be a straightforward request is complicated by old and new secrets held by Marti as well as her very different children. As longstanding assumptions, memories, emotional distance, and judgments are challenged and resolved, each woman struggles and ultimately resolves her own deep-seated issues and creates a new, more rewarding and honest path for herself. Somehow Fowler made each brilliantly drawn character relatable and imperfectly perfect so that I was cheering for everyone to succeed in facing their darkest, deepest demons and triumph. A young boy, an old lover, and memory add richness and depth to an exceptional novel. Her writing is sensual and so enjoyable, I stayed up way too late reading. I received an advance copy of this novel and these opinions are my own, unbiased thoughts.
Was this review helpful?
The Geller sisters' lives are in turmoil. They've just lost their mother to cancer and now have learned her will specifies that they must sell the family's beloved Maine cottage on Mount Desert Island. This all seems to be the catalyst which will reveal the cracks and secrets in each woman's life. 

Therese Anne Fowler has written what she calls 'a messy-family dramedy, with wry humor and joyful resolution.' As their father Leo Geller was fond of saying: 'I am confident that the universe will take care of it.' I found this to be a light and humorous read, perfect to to take along on summer vacation. Fowler does sibling relationships so well! 

I received an arc from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks for the opportunity to read another interesting tale from author Therese Anne Fowler. Kudos for the gorgeous cover art.
Was this review helpful?
When their mother dies, Beck, Claire and Sophie find themselves at a crossroad in their lives. Each of them seems to be feeling held back from living a full and happy life. When secrets come to light, it may just be the push they need to live a different life.
Was this review helpful?
"It All Comes Down to This" by Therese Anne Fowler is a "Sisters' Story".

After the death of their widowed mother, Marti, the Geller sisters, Beck, Claire, and Sophie come together in Manhattan to mourn their loss. Then the work begins of following Marti's last wish: selling the beloved family summer cottage on Mount Desert Island in Maine.

These three sisters have very complicated relationships with one another. Each sister has painted a slightly skewed picture of their life to the other two. There are hidden truths, deceptions, and secrets, but each one remains hopeful for change in their future.

Good news! There's an anxious buyer for the summer cottage. A southern gentleman with a past and secrets of his own. Could this be the catalyst for the change Beck, Claire, and Sophie are hoping for?

This book proves to be a deep character study about relationships, self esteem, how life plays out versus how you envisioned, and taking back control. The larger story is the Geller sisters' story and the secondary story is everything that takes place on Mount Desert Island in the past and present. How the author fits all the pieces together is what makes this story so satisfying.

This author knows how to create deeply complicated and complex characters and this story is absolutely loaded with them. I may have not liked all of them but each of them contributed meaning to the larger story.

Topics of change, fear of the unknown, and family support are central and common themes for all three sisters while handled in three completely different ways. I loved how each sister's life played out and I loved this well-written story!

Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin's Press, and Therese Anne Fowler for a free ARC of this book. It has been an honor to give my honest and voluntary review.
Was this review helpful?

The talented Therese Anne Fowler returns with an intimate perspective of messy modern families— A delicious summer beach escape of life lessons!

IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THIS is a fitting title exploring the power of family, struggles, mistakes, betrayals, failures, triumphs, and how they shape you.  Learning to be true to yourself and not always taking the safe route.

Fowler is at her shining finest with this drama of secrets, family, career, and home. Having read all her books, a longtime fan of the author, she possesses knockout storytelling power.

With a modern contemporary Jane Austen vibe infused with art and literary elements, IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THIS is a splendid novel —engaging, moving, and witty. Rich in character, a perfect book club choice for further discussions.

SETTING: Idyllic lakehouse Mount Desert Island, Maine.

CHARACTERS: I LOVED the mother, Matriarch Marti Geller, as well as C.J., Arlo, and his grandmother.

I resonated with Marti on many levels! Being in the last chapter of your life, single, and facing her terminal cancer, she wants to control things her way and die with dignity. Don't we all? She refused to do the deathbed confession thing. Her girls would find out later. She did not want to die surrounded by the girls and their families. I get it; same here.

Her husband Leo passed away years ago, and they have an apartment in New York with a beloved lake house in Maine. Marti has many secrets from her past.

Rather than confess on her death bed, she is hoping the three daughters and grandchildren will stay away and let her die in peace with Delia, her hospice nurse by her side who knows the drill, and then make a video to confess her past and let her will speak for her.

Being a daughter hadn't gone well for Marti, but being a mother had been much better than she expected. Meet the three daughters: Beck, Claire, and Sophie.

BECK, the oldest is a freelance writer, is stuck in a sexless marriage married to an editor for a large publishing house. She dreams of writing a novel one day. CLAIRE, a cardiologist, is recently divorced and pining for a man, but not just any man. SOPHIE, an art curator, is Instagram famous but drowning in debt but none of the sisters or mom know the real person, only what they pretend to be.

Marti worries most about Beck. She knows her life is not what she wanted for her daughter, and she needs a push. This is what wills were for. "To pull the strings you weren't able to, or willing to, in life."

After Marti's death and the big reveal, the terms are the lake house must be sold and split three ways. Everyone is on board with this plan except for Beck. Beck dreamed of moving in and writing a novel, and starting a new life. But how will she afford to buy her sisters out? She comes up with a plan, but that plan fails.

To make things more intriguing, meet the fabulous (LOVE) C.J. REYNOLDS. From South Carolina, originally from a well-to-do southern family with money and lots of control. He was sent to prison for a crime he did not commit due to his controlling father trying to teach him a lesson.

He is now out of prison and has money left from his grandmother and wants nothing more than to buy a secluded lake home in Mount Desert Island, Maine, to paint since he is an artist.

While searching for a home and working with his local realtor, his former roommate and friend, Joseph from college is traveling in Greece and allows him to stay as a guest at his lake home - the prestigious Callaghan's four-story Victorian while in the area.

However, when he arrives, he finds there are other house guests—Ms. Dierdre Callaghan (Joseph's aunt) and her eight-year-old grandson, Arlo. Not what he planned; however, soon they become friends, and he decides to extend his stay by helping her out.

In the meantime, Arlo looks up to C.J. as a father figure, who lost his parents in a plane crash, and Ms. Callaghan is worried about his future since she is getting up in age and bad health. Arlo and CJ develop a strong bond—love these two together with the grandmother. CJ also has a grown daughter who lives in Portland.

There is an intriguing back story that connects the two storylines from Marti's past and also CJ/Beck (think The Great Gatsby- the haves and the have-nots—class/privilege have consequences).

Things get explosive with sparks and tensions flying between CJ and Beck, and she realizes he wants to buy their lake house. Can she stop him?

The mother's decision to sell the home might be the best thing that can happen to all the girls to get them to come face to face with their current lives and finally give up the facade and find their true path and fate.

I LOVED loved this one! Get this on your summer TBR list.

A novel about breaking rules, secrets, duty, responsibility, and the lengths we will go to protect our children and ourselves. A page-turner about lost opportunities, decades-old secrets, and second chances. The characters' hopes and struggles are totally relatable. Well crafted, the novel is also about womanhood, sisters, motherhood, and female aging. Her fans will be delighted.

I hit the literary JACKPOT! A special thank you to #NetGalley and #StMartinsPress #SMPInfluencers for a digital ARC, #MacmillanAudio for an Audio ARC narrated by the talented Barrie Kreinik, and #Goodreads for a beautiful print paperback copy. The audiobook was award-winning and I highly recommend it. I LOVE THIS COVER, huge fan of the author, and this book!

FOR FANS OF: Elizabeth Strout, Ann Patchett, Dorothea Benton Frank, and Jennifer Weiner's That Summer.

Blog Review @
@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks
My Rating: 5/5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Pub Date: June 7, 2022
Was this review helpful?
The truth is I’ll read nearly anything with a Maine or Maine-adjacent setting. The last book I read by this author (A GOOD NEIGHBORHOOD) was utterly heartbreaking. Good, timely, relevant, but so sad. So I started this book with some trepidation.

Although it starts with Marti Geller’s acknowledgement that she’s going to die, and die soon, this book is not depressing. Marti is pragmatic and has planned for her demise, down to the video she recorded for her three daughters. The video contains some surprises, but not as many as does her will, which contains her final wish that her daughters sell their beloved camp in Maine. Claire and Sophie, who both could use the cash, are fine with this arrangement, but oldest sister Beck has plans to live there while she ends her marriage to Paul and writes her novel.

All three sisters have secrets, which they reveal piecemeal while finding their new peace. This is a wonderful novel about sisters and starting over. #ItAllComesDowntoThis #NetGalley
Was this review helpful?
This book follows three adult sisters in the aftermath of their mother’s death. If you like slow-paced family drama and prose, this book is for you. 

I prefer a family drama with more action and conversation, and the few parts of this book that had any conversation or action, I really enjoyed. There just happened to be a lot more prose than I care for. 

Thank you St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the advanced copy. This book is out now.
Was this review helpful?
2.5 stars

A story about lives remade, It All Comes Down to This is a warm, cozy, family drama — of sorts.

After the death of their mother, the three Geller sisters come together (rather loosely) and ... I'm not even sure ... execute some of the wishes from their mother's will. Each sister has her own personal issue going on and the decision on whether to follow through with their mother Marti's wish to sell their family vacation home seems to be the main forward thrust of the plot. The personal issues are laid out — seemingly everyone gets a turn at third-person narration, including one sister's husband — but the tensions really just float along the surface. Looking at the opening lines, referencing an ex-con named C. J. Reynolds who has his turn as narrator too, I imagined more drama and deeper characterizations and certainly more tension. 

Fowler handles the problems and conundrums in a breezy, light-hearted fashion. The promise of happiness is ripe and, by the halfway mark, ready to be picked. The sisters are ultimately a dear trio and one of the best relationships that develops in the book is of C. J. and a little boy named Arlo that he meets as he looks to relocate to this small town.

But many of the problems the three women face — including divorce, financial issues, and a revelation about their mom — ultimately don't rock the boat too much. The cards are shuffled, dealt, and handled in a swift fashion. And yet somehow the pacing was choppy and uneven, making skimming very appealing. 

The answers come far too easily, and the ending is wrapped up tight and overly sweet — and quickly. Actually, the ending felt very much like someone writing giant letters on a poster (think, of the For Sale or Yard Sale variety) only to suddenly run out of room at the end. So, the letters end up squished and slanted for a sudden turn down the edge of the poster. Not an unenjoyable story, but a rather middling offering that I thought had a bit more promise from the outset.
Was this review helpful?
Families are messy, complicated, and depending on your point of view the narrative can be a completely different story. Family sagas that span generations are some of my favorite books. It All Comes Down To This by Therese Anne Fowler is an immersive, atmospheric story.  Be warned reader friends block off some serious reading time for this one, you’re not going to want to put it down!  
At it’s core this is a story about family, saying goodbye to ideas you once held as canon, and rebirth. It’s a story of forgiveness, recalibration of memories when new information is gained, and allowing yourself and others to redefine and move forward with grace. The story centers around the Geller sisters, Beck, Claire, and Sophie, and their mother, Marti, who is dying. Marti’s last wish, binding in her will, is that the family summer home be sold. This has complicated and differing consequences for each sister. Marti also leaves behind a mystery.  An interested buyer, CJ Reynolds, has his own complex past.  How these stories converge, overlap, kept me guessing for quite a while.
Told through alternating points of view we shift back in time to see how each sister got where she is, what motivates and informs, how their family dynamics work…and don’t. We go back to Marti’s time as a young girl, and CJ’s story is told as well. I loved the relationship between the sisters, their time together at the cottage and would have liked to see more of that. I loved how the author used places as characters; New York City, Mount Desert Island, Paris.  I felt immersed in each location and loved every minute. SO well done!
I recommend for lovers of family sagas, women’s fiction, and book clubs as there’s so much to discuss. 
I received a gifted copy for review from St Martin’s Press via Netgalley.
Was this review helpful?
I like Therese Anne Fowler books.  She has family dysfunctions, love, drama, struggles and contemporary issues.  The Geller sisters are all that and then some.  They were never really close but after the death of their mother they tended to get together more often.  The sisters were very different from each other in their ambitions and love lives.  Each held a secret.  Some were more heartbreaking than the others.   Each struggled in their lives.  Each made a change in their life.  I loved the way the story was told.  A story about life, change and love.
Thanks to #netgalley, #Stmartinspress and @thereseannefowler for an ARC of this great read.
Was this review helpful?
This was a good family drama, but I felt like I needed more background on all three sisters.  I also found their mother's secret to be a little unbelievable - that her husband or daughters had never questioned her about her past just doesn't seem realistic.  Overall, I liked the story and the writing.  Thanks to NetGalley for the digital ARC.
Was this review helpful?
No one writes messy family dramas as well as Therese Anne Fowler. It All Comes Down to This revolves around the three Geller sisters and while there are many secrets and lies to keep you turning the pages, there is also a strong sense of love and family. This book reminded me of the movie The Family Stone. An easy read with lots of emotion - the perfect summer book. And the cover is to die for!

Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for this ARC.
Was this review helpful?
A story of three sisters who did not grow up particularly close to one another. Each has issues in their private lives. As secrets are revealed, none are who the others thought they were. The author writes the characters with many layers and has you turning the page to see what will be discovered next. This was an okay read for me. The writing is wonderful, I just didn’t connect with the characters though as the story continued, I did find myself more vested in their lives. 

Reviewed by Comfy Chair Books/Lisa Reigel (June 6, 2022)
eBook ARC provided by publisher via Netgalley
Print copy bought via Brenda Novak Monthly Book Club Box for August 2022
#ItAllComesDownToThis #ThereseAnnFowler @thereseannefowler #sisterfiction #familyfiction #stmartinspress #bookstagram @stmartinspress
Was this review helpful?
Having loved Fowler’s A Well-Behaved Woman: A Novel of The Vanderbilts,  I looked forward to reading It All Comes Down to This. Unfortunately, I really struggled with this story. I liked the beginning with CJ Reynolds, who was just released from prison, arriving on Mount Desert Island in Maine. He plans to start a new life.  He appears to be a part of a mystery that needs to be solved. The story then moves to New York City and we are introduced to Marti Geller who is dying after suffering with cancer for several years. She does not want her three daughters there. She has made arrangements in her will for Beck, a journalist; Claire, a pediatric cardiologist; and Sophie, an assistant galleria’s and social influencer; to get together after her death to settle her belongings which includes a camp that is located on Mount Desert Island. At this point in the book, the story was working for me. As each of the daughters are introduced to the reader  in very long chapters, I found that each one seems o be very unhappy and some of the plot lines just did not work for me. I think shorter chapters and more intermingling of CJ’s chapters with the three sisters would have helped. I also wanted the sisters to show some redeeming qualities.  For as long as the plot dragged on, the ending was abrupt. Maybe an epilogue ten years later would have saved this story for me.  My thanks toSt. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for an ARC of this book. The opinions in this review are my own.
Was this review helpful?
It All Comes Down to This is a family drama featuring the Geller sisters, Beck, Claire and Sophie. Eight years apart and leading very different lives, these strong women are brought together by their mother’s death. The will states that the family cottage in Maine must be sold and the proceeds must be split, but the sisters have different ideas about the matter and when potential buyer, CJ Reynolds comes into the picture, the future of the cottage and the Geller sisters, changes yet again. 

This book had some entertaining moments, but I often found myself very confused. New characters and plot points kept being introduced throughout the book and I couldn’t figure out their importance or how everything was connected. I was hoping it’d come together at the end, but I still felt like a lot of pieces were missing. I was excited about this book, but struggled following both the physical and audio copies.
Was this review helpful?
Beautifully written story of family love and loss. I literally couldn’t put this book down and felt like the characters were family by the time I finished the book. The Geller sisters have all taken different paths in life, but are still in touch and try to look after their mother. When their mom passes and has specific ideas about how her estate is divided the women must make hard choices.  Fast paced and heartfelt book.
Was this review helpful?
Three adult sisters grapple with the drama of their own lives while sorting out the estate of their recently deceased mother who has specified they sell their beloved vacation home in Maine.  

I was really looking forward to reading It All Comes Down to This because I've enjoyed author Therese Anne Fowler in the past.  I found this book to be quite a departure from her previous novels even though each one is unique in its own right.  Fowler suggested she just wanted to write something fun and entertaining and I think she's done that.  It All Comes Down to This is a serviceable family drama though I didn't find it to be a stand out among similar stories.
Was this review helpful?
IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THIS by Therese Anne Fowler is engaging and emotional story of family, home and second chances. It is the story of the Geller sisters, Beck, Claire and Sophie, who have just lost their mother, Marti to cancer. Marti knew she was dying and decided to do it on her own terms. She has planned everything down to the last detail so the sisters, who are not particularly close, can mourn their loss and move on with their busy and messy lives. In the will, Marti directs them to sell the family’s summer cottage in Maine and split the proceeds. But the cottage means different things to the women and they may not be able to agree to uphold their mother’s dying wish. They soon learn from a deathbed video message to them that their mother has been hiding shocking secrets that make them question everything that thought they knew of the past and even their own choices in life. Told from the perspectives of the three sisters, the story relays their individual struggles in a complex yet relatable way. It was intriguing to watch their journeys play out over the course of the book.  I enjoyed this multigenerational family drama and look forward to reading more this author. Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the chance to read and review an early copy.
Was this review helpful?
This book  was not for me. The writing was "cluttered" and it felt like it took forever for the point of the story to emerge. I did read the whole book, but it was not enjoyable.
Was this review helpful?