Judith D Collins
The Mill River Redemption
By Darcie Chan
Publication date: 8/26/2014
My Rating: 5 Stars
New York Times bestselling author Darcie Chan returns to the enchanting town of Mill River in a heartwarming novel of family, self-discovery, and forgiveness. Perfect for fans of Maeve Binchy.
Josie DiSanti is starting over. Recently widowed, she has fled her New York City home with her two young daughters—spirited Rose and shy Emily—in tow. She takes refuge in Mill River, Vermont, to live with her only remaining relative, Ivy Collard, the local bookstore owner and a woman Josie barely knows. There, the young mother and her girls build a new life for themselves—until a shocking tragedy tears the sisters apart.
Years later, Josie’s still-estranged daughters return to the quiet town for the reading of their mother’s will, which stipulates that they must work together to locate a hidden key to a safe-deposit box containing their inheritance. Even from the great beyond, it seems Josie will do anything to bring about her daughters’ reconciliation.
Having no choice but to go along with their mother’s final wishes, Rose and Emily move back to Mill River for the summer to begin the search—discovering that, in the close-knit community known for magic and miracles, an even greater treasure awaits them.
A special thank you to Random House Publishing Group, Ballantine, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Wow, I had no idea what was in store, when I requested to read THE MILL RIVER REDEMPTION on NetGalley! In the beginning, was attracted by the inviting yet mysterious front cover (definitely a story here with two homes next door to one another), plus the intriguing summary-- a book to be read. However, what I discovered, when I began reading, was so much more – A Treasured Gem! After doing more online research of this talented author, Darcie Chan, her background, beautiful website, and learning more about her previous book THE MILL RIVER RECLUSE – was definitely pulled in, making the reading of this extraordinary story, even more spectacular. Even though THE MILL RIVER REDEMPTION could be a standalone, I wanted to read THE MILL RIVER RECLUSE (available in print 6/17/14), as could not wait to find out more about these characters--- this beautiful mansion and the lives and mysterious background of these unselfish, giving, and thoughtful characters: Father Michael O’Brien and Mary McAllister, set on a hilltop, overlooking the city in this quaint town of Vermont. (I received it today and cannot wait to start reading) There is reference to the character Mary McAllister throughout THE MILL RIVER REDEMPTION and the plans for turning the old mansion into a B&B (definitely my cup of tea-and background) , by the new owners, as well as other background information. I can’t wait to begin reading her previous book to learn more. Would highly recommend reading both! Hoping for another book in the series when they open the B&B, with this lovable cast of characters, as too good to end. OK, back to this beautiful and heartwarming novel, THE MILL RIVER REDEMPTION, set in the quaint town of Mill River--- A poignant story of a mother’s sacrifice to reconnect her two estranged daughters, (Emily and Rose), after a tragic accident. A bittersweet journey; of finding your way back, forgiveness, family dynamics, motherhood, self-discovery, and overcoming addictions such as alcoholism-- which get in the way--difficult lessons, in order to bring us back to those we love. There were other addictions and compulsions mentioned in the book as well with outside appearances, eating, stealing, and insecurities. I loved the character Josie, as a strong loving woman sacrificing her time and love, to make a real home for her family after the tragic death of her husband, losing all her possessions. Starting over in this small town coming from New York, in the middle of the night, with the help and support of her Aunt Ivy (owner of the town’s bookstore—many lovely book titles and quotes mentioned – which literary fans will adore), and this angel, Mary, who lived on the hill who secretly gave gifts even after her death with the help of Father O’Brien. (Fans of Jan Karon’s Midford Series – will love). Starting a new from a humble beginning, to a successful Realtor/Broker (a former Realtor and home stager, myself-loved this part), Josie makes a real home for herself and her two daughters. She never tells her young daughters the circumstances surrounding the death of their father, the tragedy and the FBI involvement, except it was a house fire, until much later in the book. As the two daughters mature through their teens, Emily is more of the good girl, and Rose, a rebellious teen, causing many heartaches for her family and mother. After yet another tragedy, due to Rose’s alcoholism, Emily and Rose’s world falls apart and the sisters become estranged. Josie spent years with attempts to reconcile this family bond between the two sisters, and becomes unsuccessful. There are many dark and hidden secrets in this novel, which will keep you on the edge, with page-turning suspense, as they are not divulged until the last part of the book (no spoilers here). When you reach this part, you will understand why the author chose to keep things hidden—for an unbelievable and surprising climax! During the time when Josie’s estranged daughters return to the quiet town for the reading of their mother’s will, which has a lot of crazy items filled with stipulations and clues, they are forced to work together to locate a hidden key to her safe-deposit box containing their inheritance. Emily moves from San Francisco (she has lost her Andy, her fiancé) with dog, hardly no possessions, and is a talented glasswork artist, and freelances with home renovations (readers will sympathize with this character). On the other hand, Rose the older sister, an alcoholic, very materially minded, selfish, New York apartment, and cushy lifestyle, (not so great mother) of her son, Alex, who is brilliant and not allowed to experience a boys' life, and her older husband who has lost his job, and on the verge of losing their New York Apartment, unless Rose gets this inheritance. The two sisters are given two homes, across from the bookstore. Some fun and cruel games between these two sisters, forced to live next to one another, which will keep you laughing. Most of the time Rose is passed out drunk on the sofa and forces her son Alex to find the clues, and read the books, where clues may be found, while her husband is back in New York trying to find a job. Rose is supposed to be working with Emily to solve the mystery, however, she does not cooperate. Emily is the one making the effort, while out working, to keep money coming in, and trying to find the clues necessary before the deadline. Even from the beyond, the mother, Josie will try anything for her daughter’s reconciliation, even to the extremes. THE MILL RIVER REDEMPTION characters are ones you will not soon forget, after the book ends. A close knit enchanting town full of magic, miracles, and redemption--people with big hearts, and a series I would highly recommend. I so look forward to reading more from this newfound author, which has made it to my favorite author list!
JDC Aug Must Reads
The Mill River Recluse Series: Mill River #1
5 Stars My Review
The Promise of Home
Series: Mill River #3