Book Review: ‘The Sugarhouse Blues’ Are Anything But

Three sisters, Allie, Des, and Cara arrive at their recently deceased father’s childhood estate to work on renovations and are shocked to discover he has a sister, in the second novel of the series following ‘The Last Chance Matinee.’

The star of this story is the theatre, of course, she stays in the background while her human minders waltz around her, the Hudson sisters, Des, Allie, and Cara, their half-sister. The theatre is old and in dire need of refurbishing. It is well-loved by the locals and saw the population through some very hard times. The town, including the surrounding area, had been built by the Hudson family. The girls’ father, Fritz, has passed away and in his will, he informs his daughters if they wanted to inherit his estate, they must move into the Hudson family home and stay together until the renovations on the theatre is completed.Should any of them leave before the project is done, then the entire estate will be given to charity.

The Hudson House is already lived in by Fritz’s sister Bonnie, known to everyone as Barney. The girls accept the conditions since they need the inheritance and fortunately, they love Barney and she loves them back. The setting is Hidden Falls, Pennsylvania, and a storm has passed through the town and wreaked more damage on the theatre and that is where the story begins. Getting the job done has each of the girls allocated different aspects of the restoration. We meet a lot of great characters and author Mariah Stewart has a wonderful knack of gathering you into the various lives of the men the women meet and you can sense chemistry in some, none in others, and learn a little about their backgrounds while the story weaves magic sporadically and pushes you into the future.

The men presented herein are very well drawn and you get to know them very quickly. It has great dialogue and interplay, lots of drama, and so it goes. This is only half the story of course, as we must wait for the next book in order to get to the ending. ‘The Sugarhouse Blues’ is well-written and you never tire of the story, or characters. It very competently draws you into the world of the Hudson Family and between the history attached to the theatre, and the future of the women unfolding, it leaves a lasting impression. Highly recommended.

Available in bookstores May 15th

Ann McDonald

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