“Family didn’t mean hiding the hard stuff from each other, it meant facing it together. And it meant forgiving each other.”
When twenty-nine-year-old Sunday Brennan wakes up in a Los Angeles hospital, bruised and battered after a drunk-driving accident she caused, she swallows her pride and goes home to her family in New York. But it’s not easy. She deserted them all – and her high school sweetheart – five years before, with little explanation, and they’ve got questions.
Sunday is determined to rebuild her life back on the East Coast, even if it does mean tiptoeing around resentful brothers and an ex-fiancé. The longer she stays, however, the more she realizes they need her just as much as she needs them. When a dangerous man from her past brings her family’s pub business to the brink of financial ruin, the only way to protect them is to upend all of their secrets – secrets that have damaged the family and will threaten everything they know about their lives. In the aftermath, the Brennan family is forced to confront painful mistakes-and ultimately find a way forward, together.
The publisher kindly shipped a hardcopy ARC of this delightful novel from the UK and I got so invested in this family drama of love, heartache, and secrets, I devoured it in a single day. I am also taking part in the blog tour to celebrate this fabulous book which releases today. (See image at the end of this post).
When Sunday returns home to her Irish Catholic family in West Manor, New York, she is grateful for the welcome despite the circumstances she left in. To avoid conversation on the subject and to make herself useful, she offers to look at the family-owned pub’s books for a way out of their financial troubles. She soon learns that this pub, run by Denny, her older brother, and Kale, her high school sweetheart and ex-fiancé, is going under and there is little they can do to save it.
No one is perfect, without secrets, or bad decisions, and the Brennans, as dysfunctional as they are, are no different. But when it comes to saving what matters, all their secrets need to be laid bare, no matter the consequences.
The story is narrated by multiple characters, key being: Sunday; her brothers – Denny, Jackie and Shane; her father – Mickey; and her ex – Kale. Following the story from their individual points of view lets the reader get under the skin of each of them. Every chapter, narrated by a different character, closes with a conversation which is continued in the next chapter with another character’s perspective. I love how it connects everyone’s POV and takes the story forward.
One by one as the secrets surface, it brings a new twist to the plot with the biggest secret connecting everything being the reason Sunday left home. It may seem easier to think why this became the axis of the story when all it needed was a conversation around the family table. However, when you consider the family’s strong Irish roots, and traditional values, it begins to make sense.
I thought both the plot and the characters were equally compelling. While the Brennans are a complex family, you can’t help but root for them to make the pub a success and in turn rediscover what they have lost.
Steeped in family drama and yet full of heart, reading this is like looking back at polaroid captures of years gone by and reminding oneself that no matter what, the ties that bind family will always stay.
Book 5 of 2022.
Aquamarine Flavours Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟.
Available on Amazon*.
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