The Mill River Redemption: A Novel by Darcie Chan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In the early 1980s, Josie DiSanti flees to Mill River with her two young daughters after they lose everything in a house fire, including Josie's husband. The trio takes refuge with Josie's aunt, a lovely, generous woman Josie barely knows, and they begin to rebuild their lives. Twenty or so years later, a tragic accident breaks the bonds of sisterhood. A decade goes by in icy silence, until their mother's will forces Rose and Emily to live side by side one summer and work together to solve the clues to unlock their inheritance.
It's easy to get hooked into this story and the lives of these characters. The nonlinear storytelling keeps readers in suspense for much of the novel, wondering what exactly happened the night of the fire and how is it possible that two sisters went from being devoted confidants to mortal enemies? Eventually I did get a little impatient and wished Chan would hurry it up and tell the backstory faster, as she alternated between the early '80s and present day for most of the book.
The road to Rose's alcoholism was paved with Josie's good intentions, and my heart broke for them even as I inwardly groaned and chided her for focusing too much time on her career--a completely understandable series of mistakes that predictably snowballed into a giant mess.
I haven't yet read the first of the Mill River books--Mill River Recluse--so I'm not sure how much the characters overlap, but I got the feeling with this novel that the secondary storylines must have picked up where they left off in the first book. I'm hoping the same is true in the next book, since it seemed like there was still more story to tell.
For readers' advisors: character and story doorways, primarily. No on-screen sex, but a little bit of bad language. Many thanks to NetGalley for the free ebook copy I received in exchange for my honest review.
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