Title: The Promise Girls by Marie Bostwick
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
In an emotionally rich and captivating new novel, New York Times bestselling author Marie Bostwick reunites three sisters whose deep bond is rooted in an unconventional past.
Every child prodigy grows up eventually. For the Promise sisters, escaping their mother’s narcissism and the notoriety that came with her bestselling book hasn’t been easy. Minerva Promise claimed that her three “test tube” daughters—gifted pianist Joanie, artistic Meg, and storyteller Avery—were engineered and molded to be geniuses. In adulthood, their modest lives fall far short of her grand ambitions. But now, twenty years after the book’s release, she hopes to redeem herself by taking part in a new documentary.
Meg, who hasn’t picked up a paintbrush in years, adamantly refuses to participate, until a car accident leaves her with crushing medical bills. While she recuperates in Seattle, the three sisters reluctantly meet with filmmaker Hal Seeger, another former prodigy. Like them, he’s familiar with the weight of failed potential. But as he digs deeper, he uncovers secrets they’ve hidden from each other—and a revelation that will challenge their beliefs, even as it spurs them to forge their own extraordinary lives at last.
The Promise Girls by Marie Bostwick is an uplifting book of healing and forgiveness.
The Promise girls are three daughters of a domineering mother, Minerva, who pushed the girls to reach-and exceed-their artist potential. Oldest daughter Joanie was a piano playing child prodigy who deliberately sabotaged Minerva’s publicity tour during their appearance on a talk show. Now twenty years later, the sisters are closer than ever but other than youngest sister, Avery, they remain estranged from their mom.
Joanie is a never married single mom to sixteen year old Walt and works from home. Middle sister Meg is happily married to Asher and mother of a teenage daughter, sixteen year old Trina. Meg eventually gave up painting to help run Asher’s construction business but she is not exactly happy when she is involved in a serious car accident which leaves her with amnesia. Twenty-five year old Avery flits from one job to another and is happiest when she dons her mermaid persona for children’s parties. After discovering how much money Meg owes for her hospital bills, the three girls reluctantly agree to star in Hal Seeger’s upcoming documentary. Will the documentary help Joanie, Meg and Avery come to terms with their painful past? Or will the shocking revelations destroy their family?
Throughout the course of the novel, the sisters are forced to confront their unresolved issues from their dysfunctional childhood. Joanie has not touched a piano in years and her lucrative sewing career fulfills her creative outlet. Up until recently, Meg has been deliriously happy but in the weeks leading up to her accident, she has become emotionally and physically distant from Asher and her relationship with Trina is also a bit troubled. Avery comes across as somewhat flighty but there is much more to her than meets the eye. Of the three sisters, she undergoes the biggest transformation since she has struggling to fit her niche.
The sisters are very close but this does not mean they are not harboring secrets from one another. Joanie and Meg are quite older than Avery so their mother’s influence on their individual “genius” talents was much more in depth. They also more scarred by their childhoods but Joanie in particular is haunted by the events that her actions set in motion. All three sisters agree that Minerva is toxic, but Avery is much more forgiving of her mother’s mistakes and missteps than Meg and Joanie. Will they feel betrayed when Avery reveals the depth of her relationship with their mother? Or will Meg and Joanie understand why she feels compelled to maintain contact with her? And will the sisters be able to forgive each other when long held secrets are finally uncovered? And what will happen when Minerva confesses the truth about the past?
The Promise Girls is an incredibly heartwarming novel about a family who unexpectedly gets the opportunity to make peace with their pasts. The growth of the characters is phenomenal and occurs at a realistic pace. The novel’s conclusion is a little rushed and the resolution of Minerva’s part of the storyline does not ring true. Despite the somewhat unsatisfactory ending, readers of contemporary women’s fiction will enjoy this newest release from Marie Bostwick.