I received this book via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.The Marvelous Monroe Girls by Shirley Jump
Series: Harbor Cover #1
Published by Forever on 2022-01-11
Length: 337 pages
Reviewing eARC from Netgalley
Reading Challenges: #NGEW2022, 2022 New Release Challenge, COYER 2022
A heartwarming story of sisterhood, second chances, and falling in love
Gabriella Monroe is doing her best to pretend that everything is fine, but her life is a mess. Sales are down at her vintage dress shop, her beloved grandmother isn’t her usual spunky self, and Gabby desperately misses the closeness she had with her sisters, Margaret and Emma—who were once so inseparable that their family called them the Monroe Musketeers.
When the sisters stumble across a stash of letters that reveals their grandmother’s secret life, Gabby sees an opportunity to bring the sisters back together again and best of all, raise her grandmother’s spirits. And sure, this new project makes it easier to pretend her own life isn’t crashing around her, but concentrating on helping everyone else and ignoring her own feelings is what Gabby does best.
Except when it comes to Jake Maddox. Once the boy next door she crushed on—hard—he’s grown into an even more intriguing man, and her attraction to him isn’t so easy to hide. It’s clear he’s just as interested in her, but dating Jake would only muddy up her already complicated life. Or is it finally time to put herself first and risk it all for a chance at happiness?
I adored this one! The Marvelous Monroe Girls by Shirley Jump is a sweet contemporary romance that is as much about the romance as it is about family. Raised by their grandmother, the Monroe sisters – Margaret, Gabby, and Emma – were once a close knit unit. Now they’ve grown apart, concerned with their own adult problems and spending less and less time together. When Gabby notices that their grandmother is a little depressed, she takes it as a sign to get the sisters together and fix the problem. During an attic clean out, Gabby and her sisters discover a folder full of “Dear Abigail” letters and newspaper clippings which lead the girls to discover a whole new side to their grandmother.
This one centers mostly on Gabby, the middle sister. She has spent most of her life living up to a promise she made to her mother’s grave to keep her sisters together and happy. She’s devoted her life to making sure that everyone else is happy, never really focusing on her own happiness. With the discovery about her grandmother, Gabby hatches a plan with her younger sister Emma and best friend Jake to make her happy again. I like Gabby. She has all these good intentions that blow up in her face. Yet she finds a way to make them still work and also grows from them.
Jake is a sweet heart. I love that the author chose to include his point of view for some of the chapters. It is clear from his first introduction that he is madly in love with Gabby. They grew up together, have always been friends, and he is comfortable in that relationship. Seeing Gabby’s grandmother depressed and just not herself however wakes something up in Jake. Does he want to live his life in comfort or does he want to take a risk and live the life he dreams of having? You can guess which he chooses, and y’all I couldn’t be happier with that choice.
In addition to the potential romance, Gabby faces family issues head on. Her elder sister has grown distant and closed off. Emma is flighty and runs from relationships at every opportunity. Then there is their father who was absent after they lost their mother. His absence has left a whole in the Monroe family that could never be filled. Losing their mother so young has affected all the sisters in different ways. Gabby has internalized it and feels responsible for her death. This weighs heavy on her even nearly twenty years later. Add to the fact that their father who she was closest to has moved on with his life, Gabby is angry and mistrusting. It doesn’t help that Jake’s cousin broke her heart a year earlier either.
Overall I really enjoyed The Marvelous Monroe Girls. I found myself cheering them on. I loved the family element in this story. I liked seeing the sisters’ relationship and their relationship with their grandmother. She is the glue of this family element. And then there is Jake. The romance is main plot, and I just fell immediately. Best friends to lovers is my trope, and Jump pulls it off masterfully here. If you are looking for a sweet spring romance, I highly recommend it.