16 May The Sunrise Sisterhood by Cathy Bramley
A fabulous feel-good read for summer
Though it’s always exciting to discover new books by new authors, I love it when I’m invited on to a blogtour by the publishers of one of my favourite authors. I know I’m in for a treat!
And that couldn’t be more true of any book by Cathy Bramley, best-selling author of feel-good women’s fiction. She’s a fantastic story-teller who brings light and shade to her always-strong female characters.
In The Sunrise Sisterhood, three very different women take the starring roles.
First there is Liz. At 61, divorced with no family, she has lost her mojo since her best friend and business partner Jen died suddenly over a year ago. Liz no longer wants to cater dinner and tea parties for residents and visitors to Salcombe – she has scaled her work right back.
But then Jen’s ex-husband Mike asks a favour. Will she employ Skye, his daughter (and her goddaughter) from his second marriage, for the summer? Liz will do anything for Mike – she has been in love with him for forty years.
When the girls arrive, sparks fly
Skye arrives, fresh from the charity she’s been working at in Kampala, Uganda for over five years. She has decisions to make about her future, and a summer in Devon working with her godmother will surely help her make up her mind.
Mike’s first daughter Clare, from his marriage to Jen, is also planning to spend the summer with Liz. A headteacher and single mum to baby Ivy, she is looking forward to the break.
But when she arrives to discover Skye is there, sparks fly. The half-sisters have always resented each other.
Can Liz keep the peace amidst the challenges all three face? She needs to get over Mike and find a fresh path in life, Skye has to decide where her heart lies, and Clare has to find out the hard way that she can’t do everything by herself.
By the end of summer relationships will change – some will grow, some will wither. But what a lot of adventures the women have to go through first.
And that’s great news for the reader, who is kept thoroughly entertained by the captivating storytelling. From Liz’s drunken antics on her first day back on the job – who hasn’t been there and worn the stained T-shirt of shame? – to Skye’s growing feelings for a new friend and Clare’s secret dread that her lies about her baby’s father might be found out, it’s all page-turning stuff.
The three women grow in strength
Every human emotion is here. Unrequited love, loneliness, jealousy, grief, anxiety, guilt and fear for the future underpin the narrative but are balanced beautifully by unconditional love, laughter, loyalty and friendship as the three women grow in wisdom and awareness.
And it’s not all about the women! The inclusion of Sisterhood in the title suggests a common enemy they must band together against, and it’s here in the form of Mike.
What a great character he is. Selfish, self-absorbed, a negligent father and careless friend, yet there is something deeply endearing about him that makes it quite plausible Liz should continue to believe herself in love with him. But he doesn’t deserve her, nor his daughters’ forgivenesss. Or does he?
Like him, each of the women has flaws. Liz drinks too much, Skye is secretive and Claire deliberately carries on a massive lie about her daughter’s origins, keeping the baby’s father a secret even from the man himself. I did judge her a little harshly at first, but as her upbringing as “second-best” daughter of an absent father came to light, along with her unresolved guilt over her mother’s death, it was easier to see why she acts as she does, and why she is so resentful of Skye.
I finished this feeling happy and inspired
The opening chapter of book introduces us to The Spirit of Hope Foundation where Skye once worked.
The ending complements this perfectly – the spirit of hope carries on in our heroines, who have formed strong bonds and will have each other’s backs for ever. A strong sunrise sisterhood indeed, who can finally look forward to a fresh dawn.
Cathy’s book always leave me with a warm glow in my heart, but I finished this one feeling particularly happy and inspired.
There’s something and someone for everyone here. I’m team Liz, right down to the longing for a glass of chilled Rose – who will you be?
The Sunrise Sisterhood is published by Orion in paperback, ebook and audio formats
About the Author
Cathy Bramley is the Sunday Times best-selling author of The Lemon Tree Cafe. Her other romantic comedies include My Kind of Happy, A Patchwork Family, Ivey Lane, Appleby Farm, Wickham Hall, Conditional Love, The Plumberry School of Comdfort Food and White Lies and Wishes.
She lives in a Nottinghamshire Village with her family and dog.
Thanks to Frankie Banks of Orion for inviting me on this blogtour and to publishers Orion for the copy of the book.
Catch up with the rest of the blogtour at the links on the poster
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