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Beloved bestselling author Susan Mallery—with wisdom, compassion and her trademark humor—explores the nuances of a broken family’s complex emotions as they strive to become whole in this uplifting story of human frailty and resilience.

Finley McGowan is determined that the niece she’s raising will always feel loved and wanted. Unlike how she felt after her mom left to pursue a dream of stardom and her grandfather abandoned her and her sister Sloane when they needed him most. Finley reacted to her chaotic childhood by walking the straight and narrow—nose down, work hard, follow the rules.

Sloane went the other way.

Now Sloane is back, as beautiful and damaged as ever, and wants a relationship with her daughter. She says she’s changed, but Finley’s heart has been bruised once too often for her to trust easily. But is her reluctance to forgive really about Sloane, or worry over losing what she loves the most? With the help of a man who knows all too well how messy families can be, Finley will learn there’s joy in surrendering and peace in letting go.

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True Stories of Sisterhood

True Stories of Sisterhood

I have a sister two years older, she often set me up to do things, just to see if we’d get in trouble. She would encourage me to do something (climb down the fire escape ladder my dad had nailed to the side of the house during nap time, for example) then when we got caught she would claim she “tried to stop” me. I would get in trouble and she wouldn’t. No wonder I turned into a tattle tale.

Robyn S.

My sister and I are only thirteen months apart, so we were always very close. When she went to school a year before me, I was devastated! I had lost my best friend and my companion in mischief. But, worse, she got to go to school and learn how to read. That was a skill that I had pretended to do for years, as I flipped pages, looked at pictures and “read” the story. I was so sad that first day that she left on the big yellow bus that I cried most of the day. When she came home, she told me all about her exciting day, but she also noticed how sad I was. When she asked me why, I told her it was because she got to learn how to read and I didn’t. At that point, she pulled up my little desk and gave me my first lesson in reading, which was actually what she had learned that day herself. Every day during her first year, she taught me her lessons and I practiced while she was at school. The result was that the following year when I could attend school myself, I already knew how to read and I have been doing it voraciously ever since!

Vickie W

My younger sister and I were very close. We did most everything together. We loved to go to country music concerts. She was so close with both of my girls also. Unfortunately, we lost her to breast cancer in 2004. But her love of life still lives on with all of us. My girls each named one of their children after my sister. Just another way she lives on. She was so funny and I see things in my girls and grandkids (who never met her) that are so my sister. I think she is watching over us all and sometimes gives us a good chuckle. Love and miss you, Judy.

Debi D.

I have two wonderful sisters and one brother. We did not know we had another sister until March 17th, 2015. I had overheard things growing up as a child about my sister Lola. Lola is a wonderful person and we have grown very close since our first meeting in June of 2015. My sister Linda has not met Lola and she does not plan on meeting her anytime soon. Which is such a shame. All Lola wants is to meet her family. She met her only brother as a surprise visit in August of 2015. Lola was born with the name Judith Anne. My brother and his wife had a daughter who died at birth and they named her Amanda Jane. Funny how the first and last letters were changed around when they named their daughter. We didn't know about Lola back in the 80's when Amanada Jane was born. I keep hoping that one day my sister Linda will meet Lola. We had a DNA test done and she is our half sister. My father knew all about Lola. I think my mother had been attacked, and I could not understand as a young girl and as a teenager was my mother would go into such a deep funk every May. Both of my sisters were born in May, Linda May 3rd, Lola May 15th. Lola was born May 1943 and my parents were married in September 1943. I remember one time in May when I was a teenager walking by my parents' bedroom, I hear my father say today is Judith Anne's birthday. I heard my mother say yes I know. Then I heard my father say, do you think about her, my mother replied everyday.

Wendy B.

True Stories of Sisterhood

My friend Niki is truly my sister of the heart. We met years and years ago when she directed a staged reading of a play I had written. Right away, we were making dates to have lunch or see a show, or just to hang out for an hour or two. We would talk and laugh and share our secrets. When times got tough for me, Niki was there to offer love and support—and work, which I really needed right then.

The years went by. I moved halfway across the country. Niki faithfully kept in touch, mostly in letters. She loves to travel, so she even came to visit more than once. Eventually, I moved back to the West Coast—to Portland, Oregon. A few years later, Niki and her husband moved to Portland, too. So here we are now, Niki and me, a thousand miles from where we started—but hanging out just like we used to, sharing secrets over lunch at our favorite Thai restaurant or celebrating the New Year together in her charming apartment in the Pearl District. There is nothing so sweet as a friendship that grows stronger and more sustaining as the years go by. Niki is family to me in all the ways that matter.

Chris's new book, HOMETOWN REUNION, is the beautiful love story of a wanderer who finally discovers that everything he ever wanted was waiting for him at home.

Christine Rimmer, author of HOMETOWN REUNION

True Stories of Sisterhood

Few people can point to the one person who changed the entire trajectory of their lives, but my friend Janice Kay Johnson did that for me. We met more years ago than I care to admit when she had just sold a book to Harlequin. She’s the first writer I ever met, and I quickly became fascinated by what she was doing. When I started coming up with plot ideas that I thought she might like, she suggested that since I was an English major and loved books of all kinds, maybe I should use those ideas to write my own darn books. Then, bless her heart, she mentored me as I did exactly that. We became lifelong friends, supporting each other in both our professional and personal lives in so many ways. I love that we still help each other plot whatever book we’re working on. I’ll always be grateful for the amazing gift of her friendship.

Alexis's latest book is DEATH BY ARTS AND CRAFTS, a cozy mystery with a delicious helping of romance!

Alexis Morgan, author of DEATH BY ARTS AND CRAFTS

True Stories of Sisterhood

I don’t have any sisters, but I do have sisters of the heart. Through writing I’ve met some of the best friends I’ve ever had, and four of us talk all the time about stories, and trade work and brainstorm, cheer each other on and commiserate. Jackie Ashenden, Megan Crane and Caitlin Crews, Nicole Helm and I have been friends for years. We bonded over our shared love of stories, and have become part of each other’s lives. We’ve watched each other's kids grow up, slept on air mattresses in each other’s houses, weathered the loss of pets and parents, and I could not be more grateful for them.

One of the most unexpected and wonderful things to come out of our friendship happened in 2019, when I sent a humorous text conversation sparked the idea for a book. What if four women each stayed in the same farmhouse for a season, and during their season they found love? We didn’t really think anything would come of it, but we pitched the idea and ended up having an auction for the book, which became A COWBOY FOR ALL SEASONS, and spawned a series, Jasper Creek, that has three books - soon to be four. When we first met I don’t think we ever imagined that we’d be lucky enough to actually write stories together, but here we are. These books are a physical expression of our friendship, and the sisterhood we’ve found in each other.

Maisey Yates, co-author of A COWBOY FOR ALL SEASONS

True Stories of Sisterhood

I was four years older than Sister (that’s what we both called each other instead of our given names). We weren’t chosen to be Homecoming Queen…you get the picture. I wanted that Most Likely to Succeed title so badly. Sister wanted to ride on the front of a fancy car in the Homecoming parade and wave at the crowds.

Now, fast forward many years. Sister was VP of a bank, and I was a published author. She had just gotten a brand-new, bright red Chevy Camaro, and we were on our way home to show the new car to our mother. As we crossed the Pennington Creek Bridge into Tishomingo, I said, “We’ve got the car and Main Street. You’re dressed up pretty today. No guts, no glory. I’ll drive. You sit on the hood and do the queen wave.”

She didn’t hesitate. She stopped at the end of the bridge and handed me the keys. She slid up on the hood, smoothed the front of her black suit pants down so that the toes and heels of her cherry red spiked heels showed. I eased my foot down on the gas pedal. The speed limit is 35 miles an hour down Main Street, and only two traffic lights. I drove five miles an hour so she could be queen candidate longer, and we hit both red lights, so she got to ride even longer.

She waved at everyone, and we fulfilled a dream of hers that day. We never understood why Mama was in such a hurry to get the newspaper the next week, or she didn’t understand why we were disappointed that our picture wasn’t right there on the front page.

Learn more about Carolyn's latest book here: The Devine Doughnut Shop

Carolyn Brown, author of THE DEVINE DOUGHNUT SHOP

My sister and I are 12 years apart in age. I am the older one. I used to take care of her when her mom was at work and I was still in high school. When I turned 17, I joined the US Navy and left home. Because she was so young we didn’t really stay in touch and I would only see her when I would go home on leave. I got married and started having kids of my own. As my kids grew, she only shared small chunks of time with us. Everyone is always so busy all the time, with jobs, and lives of their own. Unfortunately my sister has had it rough. She fell in with a bad crowd and long story short, we are estranged because of how she chooses to live her life and with whom. Sometimes I wish life could be simple again.

Sandie V

True Stories of Sisterhood

The year my mom passed away was 2003. We all were bummed for Christmas. We did what we could to get through the year. That new years we we're introduced to trashcan punch. None of us had had it. So we drank two five gallon containers of between the party goers. We were karaoke to oldies. The song "Ain't No Moumtain High Enough" came on. Well, the 5 of us all got up and belted out the song perfectly with hands swinging high and wide. Our collective husbands all decided for us that we were all drunk. Videotaped us and gladly show us at times. The following Christmas we sat down and talked about how disappointed mom would be if we wallowed thru Christmas 2004. We decided to go downtown (San Antonio) and eat on the Riverwalk at Budros, take a boat ride along the San Antonio River, walk along the river and enjoy a horse and carriage ride. We celebrated mom, sang songs along with others and met a very friendly Santa."

Charlotte S

When I turned 13 years old, my older sister designed a fun scavenger hunt for me and my friends. The only problem was that she was 16 years old--old enough to drive. So she planted the clues in easy driving distance, but at 13, my friends and I had to walk from place to place. It took FOREVER! From our house to the fire station, half a mile. From there into town, half a mile. The other side of town, half a mile. Back home... who knows by then! But I still remember it fondly as something special she did for me. She was kind of shy, so even just taking those clues into the different places and asking them to give them to me when we arrived was a lot. Such a sweet gesture! One of my favorite birthday memories.

Jenel L.

True Stories of Sisterhood

My sister has always been there for me. When our parents refused to teach me to drive on the grounds I crashed whatever I drove, from my bike(s) to my cousin’s brand new snowmobile, my sister volunteered. She took me to the cemetery for my first lesson. It was a warm, sunny afternoon, and we had the windows down and Super Tramp playing on the radio. I was driving at a responsible fifteen miles an hour, and driving really, really well . . . until another car appeared on the road. I panicked and jumped out of the car, watching it roll driverless in the direction of the other car. Good thing my sister isn’t only the most supportive person I know, she also has great reflexes, and I’m so lucky to have her on this journey with me.

Learn more about Debbie's latest book here: At Home on Marigold Lane

Debbie Mason, author of AT HOME ON MARIGOLD LANE

My little-bit-older sister (age 70) and I are very close even though we live 500 miles apart. On the very day I read your request to submit sister stories, I received a text from her saying she needed to apologize. She had been digging through decades-old paperwork looking for an old family will and found a childhood note from her to me claiming "You are the dumbest person." I had returned it to her later asking why she was so cruel. For some reason she kept the slip of paper deep in a box and texted that finding it made her very sad. "I am so sorry," she wrote, adding "You are brilliant! I have the greatest respect for you and love you dearly. Hope your day is going better than mine!" I have no recollection of the note or what we could have been upset with each other about the day it was written. Her text touched my heart and made me love her even more than I already do!

Daphne T.

Share your Stories of Sisterhood

If you have a story you'd like to share, click below to submit your story. Susan is hoping that, like the book, some of the stories will make you laugh, and some will move you to tears. Send us your own anecdotes or little stories of some special moment between you and your sister.

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