Crane (Frenemies, 2007, etc.) explores a woman’s discoveries about sisterly love, first love and true love.
The story is more serious than the book’s frivolous cover would suggest. It concerns Courtney Cassel, a professional cellist whose accomplishments are praised by everyone, including fiery best friend Verena and adoring fiancé Lucas. Unfortunately, Courtney’s achievements are largely ignored by those who matter most to her—her family. After Courtney’s father abandoned the clan, Courtney became lost amidst the commanding personalities of sisters Raine and Norah. Raine turned into a rebellious hippie, her Birkenstocks and creative impulses the opposite of Norah’s intellectualism and Type A personality. The chasm between the two grew exponentially, and things only got worse at Norah’s wedding, where Raine caused a scene, then took off for California with Matt Cheney, Raine’s best friend and Courtney’s first love. Six years later, Courtney is convinced that her engagement party will be the perfect opportunity to reunite her family, and she accompanies Lucas to San Francisco. She finds Raine tending bar and exploring her artistic side by taking anatomical self-portraits, and comes face-to-face with Matt Cheney. Gorgeous and alluring as ever, the rush of attraction she has always felt toward him comes flooding back. Instead of setting a wedding date, Courtney becomes consumed by her desire to both win Raine’s affection (while maintaining Norah’s approval) and understand her feelings for Lucas and Matt. Lucas and Matt and Norah and Raine, though somewhat two-dimensional, are artfully pitted against one another. In this world of catty sibling rivalry, where the protagonist serves as doormat, Lucas remains the most admirable, solid character, and Verena, despite her penchant for shopping and promiscuity, acts as the surprising moral compass. While it takes Courtney some time to learn that self-worth comes from within, her innocence, sincerity and sense of humor will keep readers entertained.
An inviting take on universal themes.