Estranged sisters try to work together to earn their inheritance in this novel from Chan (The Mill River Recluse, 2011).
When the death of their mother, Josie DiSanti, calls them back to quaint Mill River, Rose and Emily plan on avoiding each other as much as possible. Unfortunately, their mother’s last wish was that the sisters reconcile, and she created an elaborate plan that requires them to live next door to each other until they earn their inheritance. This proves difficult, as Rose and Emily would rather vandalize each other's cars than carry out their mother's wishes. Through flashback chapters, readers learn about Josie's move to Mill River, where the family lived with her aunt Ivy, who owned a bookstore in town, and the incident that inspired years of anger between Rose and Emily. As the sisters attempt to uncover the clues that will lead to their inheritance, Rose must face a serious alcohol problem, and Emily must confront a horrible loss from her past. Can the town help the girls reconcile, or are they doomed to be enemies forever? After learning so much about their difficult past, readers will definitely root for Rose and Emily. Mill River has a pleasant, small-town feel, and readers of Chan’s first novel will enjoy returning. There are perhaps too many characters crammed into the novel, and some of their stories feel superfluous. A twist near the end provides a shock, but it’s also borderline unbelievable. However, the endearing characters and the relationship between Josie and her daughters make it easy to overlook the flaws.
Readers looking for a feel-good book about small towns and family bonds won’t be disappointed by Chan’s latest.