I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Last Chance Matinee by Mariah Stewart
Series: The Hudson Sisters #1
Published by Gallery Books on March 21, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Fiction
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When celebrated and respected agent Fritz Hudson passes away, he leaves a trail of Hollywood glory in his wake—and two separate families who never knew the other existed. Allie and Des Hudson are products of Fritz’s first marriage to Honora, a beautiful but troubled starlet whose life ended in a tragic overdose. Meanwhile, Fritz was falling in love on the Delaware Bay with New Age hippie Susa Pratt—they had a daughter together, Cara, and while Fritz loved Susa with everything he had, he never quite managed to tell her or Cara about his West Coast family.
Now Fritz is gone, and the three sisters are brought together under strange circumstances: there’s a large inheritance to be had that could save Allie from her ever-deepening debt following a disastrous divorce, allow Des to open a rescue shelter for abused and wounded animals, and give Cara a fresh start after her husband left her for her best friend—but only if the sisters upend their lives and work together to restore an old, decrepit theater that was Fritz’s obsession growing up in his small hometown in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains. Guided by Fritz’s closest friend and longtime attorney, Pete Wheeler, the sisters come together—whether they like it or not—to turn their father’s dream into a reality, and might just come away with far more than they bargained for.
Cara, Allie and Des Hudson adored their father Fritz but when he died, all of them questioned whether they really ever knew him. Allie and Des were his children from his marriage to late film star Honora Hudson but Cara was from his secret relationship with Susa Pratt who he married without divorcing his wife. Now their inheritance hinges on the restoration of Fritz’s hometown movie theater. The sisters have a year to pull it off and all of them must participate.
Two things attracted me to this story: Fritz’s secret family and the notion of three sisters in these circumstances forced to work together. I’ve experienced revelations of this type in my own family history and the dynamics of the sisters confronting each other for the first time had to be interesting. This story doesn’t disappoint as each of them couldn’t be more different.
Most of the focus, but certainly not all, was on Cara whose story cracked your heart. How awful to have your husband cheat on you with your best friend, leave you and then plan a big wedding in your small town? I loved her spirit and resolve, especially her attitude towards her new sisters. When she meets building contractor Joe Damanski, it marks the beginning of a warming of her broken heart.
Each of the sisters has an interesting backstory that I’ll leave to you to discover. I’ll just say their issues are relevant and realistic. The beginnings of the renovation of the theater is fascinating and I’m excited about the coming development. Hidden Falls is a very small town and you get the best and worst of those aspects. The sisters’ education about a family they didn’t even know existed was also interesting, mostly the pursuit of those discoveries.
This is the beginning of what feels like a very promising series. Each of the sisters are intriguing on their own and together they make for rich and layered stories. I’m looking forward to their continued journeys, which are set up wonderfully in this first book. While I’ve collected all of the books in the Chesapeake Diaries series, I’ve not read them and this is my only experience with the author. I’m glad I started here and now I can go back and read the other books while I wait for the next in this charming series.