This series is a departure from the usual lighthearted romances from Susan Mallery. Here in Mischief Bay, California she takes a deep look into the strengths and frailties of human relationships. This book is about the complicated nature of women’s relationships – mothers, daughters, sisters and wives and the everyday challenges women face.
Harper has always been a homebody, encouraged by her mother to be that perfect homemaker. Forced by divorce to fend for herself, she creates a virtual assistant business that she can run from home while still attempting to be a perfect daughter and mother. For a woman like me who rarely cooks, I chuckle as she guiltily orders pizza or confesses to her daughter they need to get takeout because she hasn’t had a chance to cook.
Her sister Stacey is a far cry from a homemaker. With a double PHD, she’s researching a cure to human disease. In her third trimester she panics at the thought of becoming a mother. In fact, she still hasn’t told her mother about her happy event for fear of her mother’s acerbic comments about her ability to raise children. Her husband Kit is a treasure. Ladies, if any of you come across a man like him, snatch him up and make him yours immediately.
Their mother Bunny is like a drama queen. She expects perfection from Harper and nothing from Stacey. Living in the mother-in-law apartment with Harper, she’s in and out of Harper’s home, commenting on her daughter’s choices. Of course, the other young woman is Harper’s teenage daughter. Even as Harper tries to make her world revolve around her daughter, her increasing focus on her business is creating a distance for a young girl on the cusp of womanhood who wants to be liked and fit in.
As these women’s stories weave in and out of the various other relationships and choices they make in their day-to-day living, we get to meet Lucas, Harper’s top client who not only gives Harper advice but also becomes the surrogate dad her daughter needs. I absolutely love the empowering cameos as these women face down various circumstances and more than hold their own.
This is a great read for women seeking inspiration and empowerment. The romance, however, is a bit of an afterthought and the happy ending is very rushed. It feels as though Ms. Mallery suddenly realized she didn’t have enough words left to write an effective happy ending.
This is definitely not one of my favorite books from an author who I have on auto-buy.
The grass is always greener on your sister’s side of the fence…
Divorce left Harper Szymanski with a name no one can spell, a house she can’t afford and a teenage daughter who’s pulling away. With her fledgling virtual-assistant business, she’s scrambling to maintain her overbearing mother’s ridiculous Susie Homemaker standards and still pay the bills, thanks to clients like Lucas, the annoying playboy cop who claims he hangs around for Harper’s fresh-baked cookies.
Spending half her life in school hasn’t prepared Dr. Stacey Bloom for her most daunting challenge—motherhood. She didn’t inherit the nurturing gene like Harper and is in deep denial that a baby is coming. Worse, her mother will be horrified to learn that Stacey’s husband plans to be a stay-at-home dad…assuming Stacey can first find the courage to tell Mom she’s already six months pregnant.
Separately they may be a mess, but together Harper and Stacey can survive anything—their indomitable mother, overwhelming maternity stores and ex’s weddings. Sisters Like Us is a delightful look at sisters, mothers and daughters in today’s fast-paced world, told with Susan Mallery’s trademark warmth and humor.