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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

It All Comes Down to This

ISBN: 978-1250278074

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Publication Date: 06/07/2022

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 5 Stars (ARC)

A warm, keenly perceptive novel of sisterhood, heartbreak, home, and what it takes to remake a life at its halfway point, for fans of Ann Patchett and Emma Straub.

Meet the Geller sisters: Beck, Claire, and Sophie, a trio of strong-minded women whose pragmatic, widowed mother, Marti, will be dying soon and taking her secrets with her. Marti has ensured that her modest estate is easy for her family to deal with once she’s gone––including a provision that the family’s summer cottage on Mount Desert Island, Maine, must be sold, the proceeds split equally between the three girls.

Beck, the eldest, is a freelance journalist whose marriage looks more like a sibling bond than a passionate partnership. In fact, her husband Paul is hiding a troubling truth about his love life. For Beck, the Maine cottage has been essential to her secret wish to write a novel––and to remake the terms of her relationship.

Despite her accomplishments as a pediatric cardiologist, Claire, the middle daughter, has always felt like the Geller misfit. Recently divorced, Claire’s secret unrequited love for the wrong man is slowly destroying her, and she’s finding that her expertise on matters of the heart unfortunately doesn’t extend to her own.

Youngest daughter Sophie appears to live an Instagram-ready life, filled with glamorous work and travel, celebrities, fashion, art, and sex. In reality, her existence is a cash-strapped house of cards that may crash at any moment.

Enter C.J. Reynolds, an enigmatic southerner ex-con with his own hidden past, who complicates the situation. All is not what it seems, and everything is about to change.

I hit the Jackpot! A special thank you to #NetGalley and #StMartinsPress for a digital ARC, Macmillan Audio for an Audio ARC narrated by the talented Barrie Kreinik, and #Goodreads for a beautiful print paperback copy. I LOVE THIS COVER, huge fan of the author, and this book!


Indie Next Pick

"Austenesque...this goes down as easily as an Aperol spritz." Publishers Weekly

"A tightly coiled family saga…Fowler expertly peels back the layers of each character in this page-turner, making for a highly entertaining summer read." ―Booklist

"A smart and lively novel, one that had me turning its pages faster and faster, wondering if this indelible family could really untangle the deep lies that reveal an even deeper truth."

––Jess Walter, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Ruins

"It All Comes Down to This answered a need I didn’t even know I had―to read a big-hearted novel about middle-aged women reckoning with their own heavy secrets, and each other. This novel is entertaining, in the best sense of the word, and a true page-turner."

––Ann Napolitano, New York Times bestselling author of Dear Edward

"Fowler writes like a contemporary Edith Wharton, peeling back layers of class and custom to reveal the mysteries of love, longing, and fate. It All Comes Down to This is a stunning tale of people struggling to wring the most from their lives while facing the uncertainty of what their lives should be."

––Wiley Cash, New York Times bestselling author of When Ghosts Come Home

"A compulsively readable, thoroughly enjoyable tale of three sisters, their histories, their problems, and their unraveling secrets. Contemporary, but with a delightfully Austenish tone, I read it in a single gulp."

––Karen Joy Fowler, New York Times bestselling author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

“Fowler sure is fond of setting off big surprise-bombs in her novels―revelations that would have most families looking for a rug to sweep everything under. But you haven’t met the Geller sisters. Three women whose chosen way to deal with sibling betrayals, sub-optimal husbands, artistic and financial failure, perverse directives from their mother’s will, and last-gasp chances for love is to plow right through the middle, the hard way. What it comes down to is this: Fowler’s insight into the way we re-open ourselves for love, time and again, speaks stirringly to the heart."

––Wilton Barnhardt, New York Times bestselling author of Lookaway, Lookaway

My Review


The talented Therese Anne Fowler returns with an intimate perspective of messy modern families— A delicious summer beach escape of life lessons!

IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THIS is a fitting title exploring the power of family, struggles, mistakes, betrayals, failures, triumphs, and how they shape you.

Learning to be true to yourself and not always taking the safe route.

Fowler is at her shining finest with this drama of secrets, family, career, and home. Having read all her books, a longtime fan of the author, she possesses knockout storytelling power.

With a modern contemporary Jane Austen vibe infused with art and literary elements, IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THIS is a splendid novel —engaging, moving, and witty. Rich in character, a perfect book club choice for further discussions.

SETTING: Idyllic lakehouse Mount Desert Island, Maine.

CHARACTERS: I LOVED the mother, Matriarch Marti Geller, as well as C.J., Arlo, and his grandmother.

I resonated with Marti on many levels! Being in the last chapter of your life, single, and facing her terminal cancer, she wants to control things her way and die with dignity. Don't we all? She refused to do the deathbed confession thing. Her girls would find out later. She did not want to die surrounded by the girls and their families. I get it; same here.

Her husband Leo passed away years ago, and they have an apartment in New York with a beloved lake house in Maine. Marti has many secrets from her past.

Rather than confess on her death bed, she is hoping the three daughters and grandchildren will stay away and let her die in peace with Delia, her hospice nurse by her side who knows the drill, and then make a video to confess her past and let her will speak for her.

Being a daughter hadn't gone well for Marti, but being a mother had been much better than she expected. Meet the three daughters: Beck, Claire, and Sophie.

BECK, the oldest is a freelance writer, is stuck in a sexless marriage married to an editor for a large publishing house. She dreams of writing a novel one day. CLAIRE, a cardiologist, is recently divorced and pining for a man, but not just any man. SOPHIE, an art curator, is Instagram famous but drowning in debt but none of the sisters or mom know the real person, only what they pretend to be.

Marti worries most about Beck. She knows her life is not what she wanted for her daughter, and she needs a push. This is what wills were for. "To pull the strings you weren't able to, or willing to, in life."

After Marti's death and the big reveal, the terms are the lake house must be sold and split three ways. Everyone is on board with this plan except for Beck. Beck dreamed of moving in and writing a novel, and starting a new life. But how will she afford to buy her sisters out? She comes up with a plan, but that plan fails.

To make things more intriguing, meet the fabulous (LOVE) C.J. REYNOLDS. From South Carolina, originally from a well-to-do southern family with money and lots of control. He was sent to prison for a crime he did not commit due to his controlling father trying to teach him a lesson.

He is now out of prison and has money left from his grandmother and wants nothing more than to buy a secluded lake home in Mount Desert Island, Maine, to paint since he is an artist.

While searching for a home and working with his local realtor, his former roommate and friend, Joseph from college is traveling in Greece and allows him to stay as a guest at his lake home - the prestigious Callaghan's four-story Victorian while in the area.

However, when he arrives, he finds there are other house guests—Ms. Dierdre Callaghan (Joseph's aunt) and her eight-year-old grandson, Arlo. Not what he planned; however, soon they become friends, and he decides to extend his stay by helping her out.

In the meantime, Arlo looks up to C.J. as a father figure, who lost his parents in a plane crash, and Ms. Callaghan is worried about his future since she is getting up in age and bad health. Arlo and CJ develop a strong bond—love these two together with the grandmother. CJ also has a grown daughter who lives in Portland.

There is an intriguing back story that connects the two storylines from Marti's past and also CJ/Beck (think The Great Gatsby- the haves and the have-nots—class/privilege have consequences).

Things get explosive with sparks and tensions flying between CJ and Beck, and she realizes he wants to buy their lake house. Can she stop him?

The mother's decision to sell the home might be the best thing that can happen to all the girls to get them to come face to face with their current lives and finally give up the facade and find their true path and fate.

I LOVED loved this one! Get this on your summer TBR list.

A novel about breaking rules, secrets, duty, responsibility, and the lengths we will go to protect our children and ourselves. A page-turner about lost opportunities, decades-old secrets, and second chances. The characters' hopes and struggles are totally relatable. Well crafted, the novel is also about womanhood, sisters, motherhood, and female aging. Her fans will be delighted.

I hit the literary JACKPOT! A special thank you to #NetGalley and #StMartinsPress #SMPInfluencers for a digital ARC, Macmillan Audio for an Audio ARC narrated by the talented Barrie Kreinik, and #Goodreads for a beautiful print paperback copy. The audiobook was award-winning and I highly recommend it. I LOVE THIS COVER, huge fan of the author, and this book!

FOR FANS OF: Elizabeth Strout, Ann Patchett, Dorothea Benton Frank, and Jennifer Weiner's That Summer.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 5/5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

About the Author

Photo Credit: Daniel Turbert Photography

Therese Anne Fowler (pronounced ta-reece) is a New York Times and USA Today best selling author whose novels present intriguing people in difficult situations, many of those situations deriving from the pressures and expectations of their cultures as well as from their families.

Her books are available in every format and in multiple languages, and are sold around the world. Z has been adapted for television by Amazon Studios.

Therese earned a BA in sociology and cultural anthropology and an MFA in creative writing, both from North Carolina State University. She has been a visiting professor and occasionally teaches fiction writing at conferences and workshops. A member of Phi Beta Kappa and PEN America, she is married to award-winning professor and author John Kessel. They reside in North Carolina. WEBSITE



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