The Last Chance Matinee (Hudson Sisters #1) by Mariah Stewart
Rating: Loved it!
Description: From New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart comes the first novel in her all-new series, The Hudson Sisters, following a trio of reluctant sisters as they set out to fulfill their father’s dying wish. In the process, they find not only themselves, but the father they only thought they knew.
When celebrated and respected agent Fritz Hudson passes away, he leaves a trail of Hollywood glory in his wake—and two separate families who never knew the other existed. Allie and Des Hudson are products of Fritz’s first marriage to Honora, a beautiful but troubled starlet whose life ended in a tragic overdose. Meanwhile, Fritz was falling in love on the Delaware Bay with New Age hippie Susa Pratt—they had a daughter together, Cara, and while Fritz loved Susa with everything he had, he never quite managed to tell her or Cara about his West Coast family.
Now Fritz is gone, and the three sisters are brought together under strange circumstances: there’s a large inheritance to be had that could save Allie from her ever-deepening debt following a disastrous divorce, allow Des to open a rescue shelter for abused and wounded animals, and give Cara a fresh start after her husband left her for her best friend—but only if the sisters upend their lives and work together to restore an old, decrepit theater that was Fritz’s obsession growing up in his small hometown in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains. Guided by Fritz’s closest friend and longtime attorney, Pete Wheeler, the sisters come together—whether they like it or not—to turn their father’s dream into a reality, and might just come away with far more than they bargained for.
Genre: Fiction - Women's
Why I Picked This Book: I really love Stewart's romantic suspense and have enjoyed her more recent Chesapeake Diaries series. Also, the premise just really grabbed me.
My Impression: This is going to be a hard review to write because I'm really trying hard not to gush. You know those books that are just easy to read? The kind where you're immediately pulled into the world and can just visualize the characters? The kind where you want to know what happens next and want to sneak off to read just a few pages more? This was one of those books for me. Right from the start I was completely pulled into the story. I loved seeing the sisters' relationship with each other and themselves grow. Des and Cara are easy to like but Allie is super prickly and not so easy. However, my heart broke for her because she's trying so hard at things she can't win and holding grudges that just make her miserable. At the beginning of the book she's so incredibly unhappy and doesn't even fully realize it.
With the sisters building new relationships and trying to figure out how to get started with the renovation of the old theater the romance between Joe and Cara is kind of just a side plot but it is fully developed. We get to meet Joe and understand some of his motivations and see his relationship with his family and particularly his sister. He's a good guy who is straight forward about his interest in Cara and it was funny to see Cara, who is typically open and relaxed suddenly go prickly.
While this first book is about all the sisters there is a slight focus on Cara who I really enjoyed getting to know. She's a smidge on the granola-y side but very much a live and let live person. Watching her relationship with Des grow was really wonderful as was the development of her relationship with Joe.
I really loved this book. It has heart and warmth and humor and was just a delight to read. My only complaint is that I have to wait a year for the next book!
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Absolutely! I'll be counting days until the next book is published and I'm looking forward to going back and reading the rest of the Chesapeake Diaries series.
Would I Recommend this Book?: Absolutely! If you enjoy books about relationships with wonderful characters then this is a great read and a fantastic start to the series.