California Girlsby Susan Mallery (Website, Facebook, Twitter)
Published by MIRA on February 26, 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Family, Friendship
Source: TLC Book Tours
Amazon • Book Depository • Goodreads
I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The California sunshine’s not quite so bright for three sisters who get dumped in the same week…
Finola, a popular LA morning show host, is famously upbeat until she’s blindsided on live TV by news that her husband is sleeping with a young pop sensation who has set their affair to music. While avoiding the tabloids and pretending she’s just fine, she’s crumbling inside, desperate for him to come to his senses and for life to go back to normal.
Zennie’s breakup is no big loss. Although the world insists she pair up, she’d rather be surfing. So agreeing to be the surrogate for her best friend is a no-brainer—after all, she has an available womb and no other attachments to worry about. Except…when everyone else, including her big sister, thinks she’s making a huge mistake, being pregnant is a lot lonelier—and more complicated—than she imagined.
Never the tallest, thinnest or prettiest sister, Ali is used to being overlooked, but when her fiancé sends his disapproving brother to call off the wedding, it’s a new low. And yet Daniel continues to turn up “for support,” making Ali wonder if maybe—for once—someone sees her in a way no one ever has.
But side by side by side, these sisters will start over and rebuild their lives with all the affection, charm and laugh-out-loud humor that is classic Susan Mallery.
Susan Mallery continues to write books that draw me in from page one, making me instantly feel at home in the world and with the characters she’s created. Her latest stand alone novel, California Girls, is no exception, and I dove right in and devoured the lives of three sisters who were all dumped in the same week. After reading several heavy psychological suspense and thrillers lately, this novel was just what I needed to lighten my reading palette. While California Girls deals with adultery, broken engagements, family conflicts, and personal and professional crises, Susan Mallery writes with such hope that these things are not insurmountable, and it is very enjoyable reading as the characters work things out for the ultimate better.
The three sisters couldn’t be more different or at different stages of their lives. Finola is the oldest and has been settled in her local television morning show host job for a while, and she’s settled in her marriage to a devoted plastic surgeon. But then she’s blindsided by her husband’s infidelity with a young pop star, and she’s left devastated and unsure of herself. Middle sister Zennie is an athletic OR nurse who is committed to her job and doesn’t see the point of being tied down to anyone. She just isn’t feeling it with the zookeeper she’s been seeing, and when Clark calls it off with her, Zennie isn’t that disappointed. Meek Ali is the youngest and is busy planning her wedding to demanding Glenn, but leaves bad-boy brother Daniel to call the wedding off for him. Leaving Ali devastated and wondering what went wrong, surprisingly friendly and supportive Daniel helps Ali pick up the pieces and cancel all of the wedding plans.
Finola’s convinced that she’s the sole victim in her marriage’s demise, and it takes a lot of work and soul searching to see what could have gone wrong in her privileged, uptight life. Moving back in with your equally judgmental and demanding mother sure gives you a different outlook on life, especially when you are going through a divorce to someone who was so outwardly perfect in everyone’s eyes.
Zennie has agreed to be her best friend’s surrogate by donating an egg and carrying the baby, and she’s now found that some of her friends and family do not support this selfless decision she’s made to help her friend. With her relationships tested as well as her life being turned upside with a pregnancy, Zennie isn’t sure that she can make it through to the end–but she must and she will prevail.
Ali is used to being overlooked–both at home and at work. But Daniel is different, and with his friendship she blossoms. She’s able to come out of her shell and become the person that has always been lurking in the shadows of her sisters, and she’s never felt better–once she realizes that she doesn’t care what anyone thinks.
I give California Girls a 4.5 out of 5. I really loved how each woman dealt with their losses and grew from their experiences, all while growing closer together as a family. The sisters’ mother was a bit one-note with the grandchildren talk for most of the novel, which was repetitive and annoying, and I wish we could have seen more of the younger two sisters’ father in the flesh. This was a classic Susan Mallery novel, and I didn’t want to put it down since I just had to know what was happening next. Full of friendship, hard work, family ties, and love, California Girls is a great novel from start to finish.
Find CALIFORNIA GIRLS
About Susan Mallery
#1 NYT bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming, humorous novels about the relationships that define our lives-family, friendship, romance. She’s known for putting nuanced characters in emotional situations that surprise readers to laughter. Beloved by millions, her books have been translated into 28 languages.Susan lives in Washington with her husband, two cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur. Visit her at SusanMallery.com.
Connect with Susan Mallery
Susan Mallery’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS for CALIFORNIA GIRLS:
Monday, February 11th: Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday, February 12th: Tar Heel Reader
Wednesday, February 13th: Palmer’s Page Turners
Thursday, February 14th: Books & Spoons
Friday, February 15th: Cheryl’s Book Nook
Monday, February 18th: From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, February 19th: Rad Babes Read
Wednesday, February 20th: Reading Reality
Thursday, February 21st: Book Reviews and More by Kathy
Friday, February 22nd: Thoughts on This ‘n That
Monday, February 25th: Reading Reality
Monday, February 25th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy
Monday, February 25th: @booknerdingout
Tuesday, February 26th: The Book Date
Wednesday, February 27th: Palmer’s Page Turners
Friday, March 1st: Books & Bindings
Friday, March 1st: Not in Jersey
Monday, March 4th: Bewitched Bookworms
Monday, March 4th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Wednesday, March 6th: Bookchickdi
Thursday, March 7th: Running Through the Storms
Thursday, March 7th: Why Girls Are Weird
Friday, March 8th: View from the Birdhouse
Monday, March 11th: The Romance Dish
Tuesday, March 12th: Girl Who Reads
Wednesday, March 13th: Kahakai Kitchen
Wednesday, March 13th: Romantic Reads and Such
Thursday, March 14th: Moonlight Rendezvous
Thursday, March 14th: Cheryl’s Book Nook
Friday, March 15th: Mrs. Mommy Booknerd
Monday, March 18th: Jathan & Heather
Tuesday, March 19th: Thoughts on This ‘n That
Wednesday, March 20th: From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, March 20th: A Splendid Messy Life
Thursday, March 21st: Broken Teepee
Monday, March 25th: Eliot’s Eats
Tuesday, March 26th: A Chick Who Reads
Wednesday, March 27th: Into the Hall of Books
Thursday, March 28th: A Holland Reads
Friday, March 29th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Friday, March 29th: What is That Book About