Cover Image: Relative Strangers

Relative Strangers

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Member Reviews

The premise: Amelia’s life is falling apart. Unemployed, newly single, and broke, she finds herself hitchhiking across California to assist her family when her mother is evicted from the family estate. The two women + Amelia’s sister and niece move to Arcadia, the cancer retreat center where her sister volunteers, while Amelia figures out what to do in life and in love.

My thoughts: I loved A.H. Kim’s debut, A GOOD FAMILY, and while this book is very different in style and plot, the beautiful writing and themes on family, loyalty, and self-discovery remain. While there are many fun romantic entanglements (the question of who Amelia would end up with kept me turning pages!), my favorite relationship in the book is the one between Amelia and her sister Eleanor. As someone with two sisters, their bond felt genuine and I thought the slow-building familial tension (including a disputed inheritance!) was perfectly executed.

I recommend this story for fans of Jane Austen and Bridgerton. I can perfectly picture everyone reading this in the sunshine this spring and summer

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I enjoyed this fast-paced rom-com. There is enough love for everyone. There are plenty of secrets. There are lots of feel-good moments. The characters are all likable. The secrets are released with perfect pacing. What more can I say? I would buy this book for a friend--a high rating indeed. It was the perfect break amidst some heavier reading material. I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Relative Strangers. Such an apt title. I loved the revamping of Sense and Sensibility into a modern-day tale. I'm an avid Jane Austen fan, so that was a pleasure. I enjoyed all the relationships told in the story, but for a while it was hard to keep track of who was who. I figured it out. I do think, however, that a deeper look into the sisters' lives could have added a depth that I felt was missing. Overall, it was an enjoyable book.

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Relative Strangers is such a sweet, endearing family drama. Lots of family members - some relative strangers - combine together as they each find themselves, their passions and their loves in a gorgeous California setting. A quick, engaging read made all the more enjoyable by the movie references that A.H. Kim sprinkles throughout. Great book if you are looking for a feel-good, uplifting read.

Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Trade Publishing for the opportunity to read this ARC.

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Awww I just loved this charming story.
A.H. Kim is the author of A Good Family and in Relative Strangers has created a contemporary twist on Sense and Sensibility. Amelia Bae-Wood is struggling when she is called home by her sister to assist. Due to new family legal troubles the sisters and their mother need to live in a cottage on the grounds of a Cancer Retreat Center.

At the Center, Amelia begins to find her way. There is romance, love and secrets and lots and lots of pastries. Truly fun and satisfying.
#harlequintradepublishers #relativestrangers #ahkim

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First off, thank you NetGalley and Harlequin Trade Publishing, Graydon House for granting me access to this book in exchange for an honest review.

What a charming modern day retelling of Jane Austen's classic Sense and Sensibility! The story is told from Amelia's viewpoint (Marianne in the original) rather than Eleanor's (Elinor/original) and is filled with humor, drama, love, mystery, romance, sisterhood, family secrets, inheritance disagreements, society expectations and delicious fresh pastries! You have been warned ⚠️to have goodies close by to eat while reading this book‼️ I am happy to say that Relative Strangers adheres to the original plot and characters with a twenty-first century twist. I thoroughly enjoyed this book very much!!

Amelia's life is falling apart all around her including being newly single, unemployed and completely broke. She finds herself hitchhiking across California to deal the fallout of her mother's eviction from the family estate. Amelia needs somewhere to live and figure out her life so she decides to move with her mother and sister to the cancer retreat center where her sister, Eleanor, volunteers. There is a long lost brother who is trying to inherit their estate. At the center, love triangles develop among the sisters and people working at the center. I struggled with there not being much chemistry between these couples. I just need a little more in order for the relationships to feel authentic and believable.

Overall, it a a fun and lighthearted women's fiction read that I do recommend! If you love Jane Austen or Bridgerton then you will enjoy this book!!⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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This book was ok I thought it was one thing and it was ,Completely different but once I started to read more I found it just wasn’t what I thought it was. I believe this is about two sisters and their family issues.

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I'm a sucker for a Jane Austen retelling of any stripe; the tone of this particular riff was not to my taste but I hope and expect it will find its audience.

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An intriguing modern retelling of Sense and Sensibility that's set at a cancer retreat center in California. The story is told exclusively from Amelia's perspective, who is Marianne's modern-day counterpart, and while I found her complicated culinary past and doomed love affairs to add narrative meat, I thought it made it more difficult to connect with Eleanor as a character. As well as to buy into their sisterly bond. They were distant and disconnected throughout most of the novel. Kind of like two planets orbiting each other. And that's fine, just different than what I was expecting. I think I kept waiting for them to exude that undercurrent of warmth, affection, and want of closeness with one another that Marianne and Elinor had in Austen's original text, but they didn't.

I appreciated the emphasis on the sisters' relationships and personal conflicts, though. Just as I liked that they were older (30's/40's) rather than adults in their late teens, early 20's. I think their maturity added gravitas to some of the issues they were facing, what with Eleanor still grieving over Edward all these years later and Amelia trying to figure out how to jumpstart her life. I must admit the romances fell flat for me. They blurred together at times because it wasn't always clear whom was attracted to whom and why.

That said, this was still a light and engaging retelling.

Thank you to NetGalley and Graydon House for the ARC in exchange for my review!

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I could not finish enough of this book to be able to leave a comprehensive review, but I hope it finds its audience and I am grateful to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read an advance copy.

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I thought this book was very sweet and cute but what confused me was the lack of chemistry between the couples who get together at the end. I especially didn't feel the chemistry between Brandon and Amelia mainly just because the wedding picture situation confused me in the earlier parts of the book so I spent a majority of my time reading believing that Brandon was married to Leo who transitioned after the wedding. I enjoyed the plot and the storyline as well as the female relationships in this ARC but I do think the connections within the book could be explained in a little more depth.

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A pleasant read! It was an easy one to get through. I forgot about the premise by the time I cracked this one open, so it took me a little while to be like... wait... Sense and Sensibility? I thought it was an interesting twist on this. I think that this tale in particular had a more one-sided perspective (VERY focused on Amelia), which made it difficult to relate to other characters. The main issue I had with it (if I had to name one) was that the plot was kind of soapy and predictable, and the story felt fluffy without much substance. The relationship of Amelia and Eleanor was covered by more superficial romantic drama.

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Reading this book was a pleasure, the characters were intriguing, the family and relationships were well developed and so very unique. I did find the initial contact of Amelia and Brandon via a phone booth a bit unusual but after that I was involved in the story, the complicated family, the potential love relationships, the maternal/child contrasts and oh so very intrigued by the baking. You know if you’re tempted to bake from reading a novel, that it’s captivated your heart and tastebuds! And if you have a sister or a brother, you will feel connected to the complicated relationships in this story. I now am lusting after a bracelet with a jade turtle on a red string! It’s mentioned very often and symbolizes parental love to me!

Thanks to NetGalley and Graydon House for the Advanced Review copy.

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A fun take on Sense and Sensibility set at a cancer retreat in California. A few of the characters had amazing culinary skills and it was fun to read about their dishes. I enjoyed the story though I didn’t detect much chemistry among the various couples and because of this some of the pairings seemed a bit forced and/or abrupt. Still, an enjoyable read for anyone looking for another take of a classic Austen novel. 3.5 stars.

Thank you very much to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read a copy.

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Amelia is on our way cross country to be with her mother after a long-lost half brother has surfaced after the death of Amelia's father. Adrfit with no where to go and no money, Amelia hitchikes to the cancer center retreat cottage that has been offered to the family, which includes Amelia, her mother, her sister Elinor, and her niece. The book covers alot of personal issues and relationships, old and new. There are some twists, and overall is pretty enjoyable. I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for sharing my honest opinion.

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Thank you so much to NetGalley and Harlequin Trade Publishing.

Amelia's life is falling apart. She's in CA dealing with the fallout of her mom's eviction. Her sister, Eleanor, has her own issues to deal with, so when Amelia and mom show up at Eleanor's, it all feels like too much.

This is supposed to be a modern take on Sense and Sensibility. I wish the drama would have been more believable and that I could've connected more with the characters, but I appreciated that it was a good read about two sisters figuring things out. It is an entertaining and light hearted read.

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Note: I haven’t read Sense and Sensibility, and as this book is a modern-day retelling of that, that may have affected my thoughts!

This was a light-hearted and quick read. The character dialogue seemed a bit off to me, though. It read less as a real conversation between two people and more as pieces of a novel which took away a bit of the immersion for me. The book is full of family drama (think a long lost brother, family lawyers, and secrets between sisters), but nothing so serious that it leaves you feeling drained by the end and craving something lighter. There were tough topics sprinkled throughout but weren’t the focus of the story (cancer, death, etc) and easy to swallow. There were just way too many descriptions of food that I found unnecessary (and this coming from a former pastry chef!) and I ended up just skipping those lines.

Overall a solid, fun read I would recommend even to those that have never read Sense and Sensibility! Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Trade Publishing for the digital ARC and chance to review this book. Review also posted on Goodreads in October 2023.

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This book could have been more enjoyable if it wasn't so unbelievable. Every character have a ridiculous secret? 2 people coming to California from another country sit and talk for a few minutes and leave without accomplishing anything whatsoever? Anyone accepting a freeloader for months and months on end with minimal help from said person? Everything was just too neat with characters that were also not believable. Was this supposed to be an old school romance? Not sure what it was supposed to be but I am glad I got through it.

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I will admit right off the bat that I have not read "Sense and Sensibility", so many of my quibbles might be with that work rather than this one.

***SPOILERS****

Based on the book jacket, I was expecting this to be the story of Amelia and Eleanor, but it's actually just the story of Amelia. Amelia is the narrator and it is through her eyes that we experience the story. Eleanor exists in relation to Amelia but we never know her perspective (or even her personality, really, beyond a few character traits). She disappears for chunks of the book when Amelia is focused on the men in her orbit, and she's definitely not given equal narrative weight (contrary to what the book blurb implies).

The blurb mentions "one explosive secret that could ruin everything". While there were many surprises along the way, I can't think of any that were "explosive". Certainly none that threatened to "ruin everything".

But I think the thing that bothered me the most was that this book was described as having "a modern, feminist twist". I know that the author was limited by the source material she was updating, but I was highly disappointed to discover that the grand finale was still about everybody finding a man to marry. At points in the story Amelia grapples with her public identity, and seems particularly troubled by the fact that she is constantly defined in relation to whatever man she's dating, but the entire book builds itself around the story of which man Amelia will end up with. In the epilogue, she casually references a variety of impressive things she's accomplished in the time jump, but we don't get to see her do any of these things or experience her accomplishments with her. Her FOCUS is on telling us about weddings and pregnancies, so her actual ACCOMPLISHMENTS are mentioned in passing during the extended "happy ending everybody gets married and gets babies" scene. This is not a modern feminist twist.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for access to a digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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This story shares with us all the dynamics of a family. A mothered relation ship with her daughters and granddaughter after the death of her husband. The judge relationship of sisters, that’s anything but smooth. All these relationships are tested when the father/husband passes and an illegitimate child shows up to claim all the property of his father. How lives can change when you are thrown out of your home and living in a cottage with everyone. A sweet story of coming together while on a journey to discover the truth and make a community that took you in a family. I really enjoyed this book and all the characters we got to know.

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