Book Club: Secrets of the Tulip Sisters

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Author: Susan Mallery
ISBN: 978-0-373-80276-0
RRP: $29.99

Susan Mallery is a #1 New York Times Bestselling author and it’s easy to see why, her stories are engaging and her characters are well rounded. Much of her back catalogue consists of different series but this one seems to be a stand alone story.

Secrets of the Tulip Sisters is her latest release and it is a story that, for the most part, I really enjoyed. It’s also a book that I finished over a week and a book and a half ago so this could be interesting, sometimes real life and grown up responsibilities can be a real pain.

Kelly Murphy is a tulip farmer in Tulpen Crossing, her life is pretty routine and not a lot changes. Tulpen Crossing is the small town she grew up in and never felt the need to leave. She is fast approaching thirty, recovering from the fizzle of her long term relationship and living at home with her dad. She’s pretty happy with how things are going until she starts running into her unrequited high school crush – EVERYWHERE. He’s been back in town a year but it’s only been the last little while that he seems to have set his sights on Kelly and she’s a little off kilter.

If she thought that was unbalancing she was totally unprepared for the return to town of her younger sister Olivia, who hasn’t been back since she was in boarding school. Things aren’t really working out for Olivia where she’s living and messages from an old flame encourage her to return to her hometown for the summer. She has been basically out of touch with Kelly for a decade so the two are strangers and unsure how to find their way back to being sisters.

There is quite a colourful cast of primary characters and the story follows each of their lives in the third person. Kelly and Olivia are centre stage for much of the book, also Griffith, and Kelly’s best friend Helen. The characters having their own chapters made it easy to get inside their heads and piece together all of what’s going on, because there was a lot.

Tulpen Crossing is a small town where everyone knows not only your name but also your business, and they have long memories. Small towns also mean there is not a lot of romantic options out there so the connections can all get a little tangled which was at times a little cringeworthy but also entertaining.

Sparks fly when Kelly and Olivia are thrown back together, they are both carrying quite a bit of baggage and when the secrets start being revealed the situation just gets messier. The girls find themselves in a situation that will tear them irreparably apart or give them a way to find one another again.

There was a lot to love in this story, and it’s characters, but there were also elements that didn’t do it for me. Dialogue can be very hit and miss and I think it is probably one of the hardest things to write. Conversation can be messy, it’s very fluid, and capturing that realistically on paper is quite a skill. At times I found the dialogue here didn’t hit the spot for me. The bones of the conversation were great but the execution didn’t do it for me.

All of the characters are quite multi-faceted and take some getting to know, there is more to each of them than meets the eye and the way they interact was engaging.

I actually think my favourite part is watching these characters blossom; watch them share, or find, their passion. Kelly is a tulip farmer, she grows flowers but when Griffith takes an interest we are shown how involved the process is. Olivia knows a bit about design, she’s been doing some real estate staging, she has done some event management and she’s not sure what she wants to do next. She doesn’t want to do the same thing all the time and she can’t find one job that encompasses all the things she wants to do. She doesn’t have the belief in herself to roll it all together and make the job she wants.

Griffith has the most interesting career, I think. He builds tiny homes and we learned a lot about them. Mallery certainly seems to have done her homework and this was an element of the story that totally sucked me in.

There is an element of romance but I think it’s more about the relationships and the families. The romance isn’t all pervading but there are some pretty steamy scenes to watch out for.

I really enjoyed Secrets of the Tulip Sisters, it was a tangled web of secrets and lies that haunted each of the characters. It wasn’t until everything was brought out into the light that people could heal and finally move on.

The ending was all tied up a little too neatly for me but it did fit the story nicely.

Secrets of the Tulip Sisters is published by Harlequin and available now through Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Harlequin 20 of our Beauty and Lace Club Members will be reading Secrets of the Tulip Sisters so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

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19 thoughts on “Book Club: Secrets of the Tulip Sisters

  1. I absolutely LOVED Secrets of the Tulip Sisters by Susan Mallery and was thrilled that our copies are “Advance Readers Editions,” with pages that have uneven edges and gorgeous feel to them. That of course has nothing to do with the story! This book is my first encounter with Susan Mallery and it definitely won’t be my last.

    The relationships and the characters are multi dimensional and the interaction is wonderfully drawn and written. I loved reading through without any real idea of where it would end up, and to this romantic, it ended beautifully – slightly clichĂ©d but exactly as I’d have wanted.

    I loved the way the relationships developed and the way love was explored in all its forms and meanings. I found it really interesting that someone like me, who more often than not doesn’t particularly like reading explicit sex scenes wasn’t bothered at all by the amount or detail. Possibly the reason being that I didn’t feel that the sex was sensationalised or written for effect but was part of the individual and the way they would behave.

    I loved the development of the relationships, especially that of Kelly and Olivia, sisters who really were strangers but grew and developed to become true friends and that of Kelly and Griffith. It was, to me, a beautifully written love story – love in every facet – and I identified with most of the characters. I loved the way the power of forgiveness was developed and didn’t at any time feel the writing was forced. I finished the book with a lovely feeling of satisfaction and love for so many of the people in the story.

    This is my first Susan Mallery read – it will not be my last. Thank you so much for introducing me to this author, Beauty and Lace. Thank you, Harlequin Publishing for the opportunity to read this lovely book. I have no hesitation in giving this five stars!

  2. What a wonderful book, thank you Beauty & Lace for selecting me to read and also a big thank you to Susan Mallery for writing such a great book,
    The two sisters Kelly and Olivia are so different to each other,
    Kelly is a tulip farmer who loves the farming life,
    Where Olivia loves living in the city, until she comes back to Tulpen Crossing for a holiday, being absent for a number of years
    The characters in this book are all amazing,
    I especially loved the friendships between all the characters male and female
    As the title says the secrets and do come to light throughout the book and a awful lot of forgiveness was needed
    Was a most enjoyable book to read
    And the ending was amazing

  3. I really enjoyed reading this book , it was an engaging romantic story with enough depth to keep me interested. The virtues of forgiveness, love and understanding give a solid base for the characters to unfold throughout the story and it is great to follow the sisters as they learn to know each other after many years of estrangement. With the exception of Ryan the males are charming, caring, loving and insightful and provide warmth and support for their women. For me there are a few small :”buts”:- I tend to agree with Michelle that the dialogue can be at times confusing and although the explicit sexual passages are not distasteful, as they are complementary to the story, I wont feel comfortable passing this novel to my elderly neighbour as I usually do. I do query the necessity to use the word “dick” instead of “penis ” because to me that does bring a different element to the otherwise sensitive approach to the sexual aspects of the novel. Thank you for the opportunity to read this book –I will search for other books written by Susan
    Mallery in future.

  4. I eased into this book and found it flowed well throughout.
    I was interested to see what others thought about the steamy parts in the book as I thought it was going a bit overdone. In saying that, it didn’t put me off at all though.
    I thought Olivia was going to be this terribly nasty sister to start off with but liked her a lot and would love to have a sister like that to style me.
    Sven reminded me of a Ken doll and I might try the Blintzes recipe at the back but with my clothes on 🙂
    Loved the characters, Helen, Kelly, Olivia, her dad Jeff, Griffith and disliked Marilee and Griffiths brother Ryan but they got what they deserved in the end.
    Susan Mallery is good at making you love and not so love these characters in the book and some small parts had me a little bit watery eyes.
    I enjoyed this book as it was an easy read full of all sorts and thought the epilogue summed it all up for the ending.
    Thanks so much for this wonderful read.
    I also pass on my books to an older lady and did feel like I couldn’t give her the steamier ones but she has told me she has loved every single one of the books so far and….. Hey…. I don’t write the scenes or words so I wouldn’t worry too much but do know how you feel Carla 🙂

  5. It has taken the 2017 release of bestselling romance author Susan Mallery’s stand alone novel, Secrets of the Tulip Sisters, for this reader to become acquainted with Mallery’s work. Known for her heart-warming women’s fiction novels focussed on the business of love and relationships, Secrets of the Tulip Sisters is a charming novel, incorporating Mallery’s distinctive style.

    More than the pulling power of the author of Secrets of the Tulip Sisters, who is a bestselling New York Times novelist, the title of the book propelled me towards this novel. I absolutely adore tulips and any opportunity to grab hold of a story that incorporates my favourite flower into a storyline is highly welcomed. On the whole, I have to say I enjoyed the lightness of this wholesome tale.

    The secrets that are aired and the repair of the fractured relationship between sisters Kelly and Olivia is what essentially drives this novel to its final destination. Kelly and Olivia’s relationship is a complex one, that goes through a complete overhaul during the progression of the story. Initially, we see how distant the sisters have become, due the family circumstances that pulled them apart. We witness how time and opportunities to bond, works to help the two sisters make it over the difficult bridge to reconciliation. It is a heart-warming process to observe the new found relationship that blooms between the sisters.

    The narrative of Secrets of the Tulip Sisters unfurls in such a way that it is easy to delve into the hearts and minds of the main characters. I found myself establishing an early liking to Kelly and I seemed to enjoy her journey the most. I admired Kelly’s sense of routine, passion, work ethic and loyalty. Kelly also had a vulnerable side that I enjoyed unpacking. Olivia on the other hand was not a character I immediately warmed to, it was more a gradual process of connection with Olivia. The path Olivia takes to get to know aspects of herself, her family and what she wants in life romantically was interesting to observe. The two sisters are also supported by the strong presence of Kelly’s best friend Helen, who is a pleasurable character on the whole. Helen plays a significant role in the story, offering moments of romance, friendship and secrets to the novel as a whole. It is also important to mention the men who have an integral place in the overall interactions in this novel. With the character of Ryan excepted, Griffith, Sven and Jeff are all charming in their own ways.

    Mallery does do a solid job of recreating small town life in the US for the reader to follow. Tulpen Crossing is wonderfully realised. I got a great sense of the unconditional support of one another and the small town gossip ring that exists in communities such as Tulpen Crossing. I loved the use of a tulip farm at the heart of this novel, all I can say is I wanted more on this aspect, as I found it completely fascinating. I loved Kelly’s career as a tulip farmer. What a great profession to cast a female lead character in.

    If you are expecting romance, which is always high on Mallery’s agenda, then you will be more than pleased with Secrets of the Tulip Sisters. This book kindly offers the reader a three in one romance style novel, as Kelly, Olivia and friend Helen all embark on their own pathways to love. Within the narrative, Mallery shows us how love can take many forms and offers up some diverse romantic interludes. The romance in this novel is mostly sweet, but there were some rather hot and heavy scenes in Secrets of the Tulip Sisters that took me a little aback! The ending was a happy one, even a little clichéd at best!

    A feel good story focussed on the bonds of family, the complications of love, intermingled secrets and the road to forgiveness is at the soul of this solid women’s fiction title. Secrets of the Tulip Sisters is a one that I would expect would easily hold wide appeal, due to the balanced romantic narrative and inviting story elements.

    * I wish to thank Beauty and Lace and Harlequin Books Australia for providing me with a copy of this book for review purposes.

  6. What a great read, Thank You Beauty and Lace for my first received book to review and Susan Mallery, what a clever author well done.
    I love a good romance, especially one you can relate too, even with some spicy bits. For sisters Kelly and Olivia to be virtually strangers and to rekindle a friendship and to become family again. And the rest of the characters, Helen,Jeff,Griffin,Sven Ryan and Marilee with their secrets and lies made it even more intriguing to get to know them.
    Looking forward to my next read.

  7. The Secrets of the Tulip Sisters. The sisters Kelly and Olivia Murphy grow up in a small town Tulpen Crossing. The family owns and runs a commercial tulip farm. When the sisters are teenagers their parents divorce. Kelly the older sister, after finishing her schooling worked with her father on the farm. Olivia the younger sister is sent to boarding school, and after university finds her mother. Her Mum Marilee lives in the city.
    Ten years later Olivia returns to Tulpen Crossing. The two sisters are strangers.
    The book explores the relationship between the two sisters and their parents. Each of the four main characters have romance interests.
    Will the past be forgiven and friendship found between the sisters? Will the romantic relationships survive?
    The book shows how the past affects our present. It is a journey of self discovery and acceptance.

    I enjoyed the book, it was easy to read and the main characters very likable. The ending was predictable, but once in a while it is lovely to read a book with a happy ending!!!! So if you like romances, this one is for you.

  8. Secrets of the Tulip Sisters by Susan Mallery

    Kelly and Olivia Murphy are sisters who were torn apart in their teens due to their parents divorcing. Now 10 years later, Olivia returns home to the Tulip farm for a visit. The two women are strangers and the story is based on them getting to know each other again.

    I really enjoyed the background setting of a Tulip growing farm, and learned a lot about how the flowers are grown and harvested. The residents of the small town all know each other, and as we meet the various townsfolk, we are shown that there are good and not so good people everywhere. We explore the friendships, and romances, of Kelly, Olivia and their Dad, Jeff, who they live with.

    The sex scenes were unexpected, but did tie in with the story, but the book would have been complete without that. I too, am another reader who won’t be passing this book on to elderly readers.

    Thank you Beauty and Lace, and HQN Books for the chance to read this Advance Reader’s Edition. The rough cut pages added an extra thrill as I felt like I was one of the first to see this book.

  9. I loved reading Secrets of the Tulip Sisters. One of my favourites so far! The story begins between Kelly, Tulip farmer with her Dad Jeff, who’s life appears stable as she focuses on the different times and events of the year when her tulips are in demand and Olivia, her younger sister who was sent away to college years ago and has spent time working with her mother, Marilee. Olivia returns home initially to re – established her relationship with old boyfriend Ryan. How this turns out is less a focus then on the family relationships. Returning home tests her relationship with Kelly amid secrets and parental pasts.
    Initially an intriguing story where you wonder how things will end, especially when Olivia commences a relationship with Kelly’s ex boyfriend and Kelly begins a relationship with Ryan’s brother Griffith. Dad, Jeff has a developing relationship with Kelly’s friend Helen. Truths are told, forgiveness is requested and relationships are tested. As the story unfolds you are captured by the developing characters and their respective personalities. I loved the ending and the true essence of friendship, love and family.
    Thankyou for a great read.

  10. Thank you for allowing me to read Secrets of the Tulip Sisters by Susan Mallery.

    It is the story of Kelly, a tulip farmer within the family business who loves what she does. Her mother walked out many years ago and her sister Olivia left quite a while ago too. Olivia comes back to town and has her secrets. Kelly’s best friend Helen has secret feelings for a man known to all.

    Kelly thinks she has her life sorted living with her Dad and kept busy with work. Then a past crush comes back into her life and causes her all sorts of grief. There is romance aplenty and relationships change for all over time.

    I enjoyed the relationship of Kelly and Olivia and the hurdles they overcome at different times, and the way their lives grow and change.

    Some of the story clicks together a bit easily, bit it is a nice, easy read that I enjoyed.

  11. I really enjoyed reading Secrets of the Tulip Sisters . It was an unexpected surprise. I have not read any other books by Susan Mallery but will certainly add her to my list of new authors to read.

    Kelly and Olivia Murphy are estranged sisters who grew up on a Tulip farm at Tulpen Crossing. Kelly is still at home managing the farm with her father Jeff. Olivia is living in the city and working for her mother Marilee who left the farm, her children and her husband many years ago. There is no love lost between the girls and their mother.

    Olivia returns home for a summer break after being away for ten years and the lives of the family and those in the close knit community come to life for the reader.
    There is romance, love, anger, forgiveness, lots of secrets and a journey of self discovery for not only the sisters but the residents of Tulpen Crossing who are involved with the Murphy family.

    A wonderful romantic story with a bit of sauciness thrown in to make it a great easy read.
    Thanks for the opportunity to read a new author.

  12. This book is by the New York Times Bestselling Author Susan Mallery and it’s easy to see why. The “Secrets Of The Tulip Sisters” was an enjoyable read about two sisters named Kelly and Olivia Murphy. At first glance the pair could not be more different from one another. But after the latter returns home to their small town of Tulpen Crossing the pair overcome past grievances and realise that in some ways they have a lot more in common than they originally thought.

    Mallery has done an excellent job of creating a bunch of rich characters that are believable, relatable and in some cases, quite likeable. The book may be a romance novel but it contains enough twists and turns and revelations about the different characters’ pasts and their present motivations to make a fascinating psychological study on different relationships. It made for a highly engrossing read where you found yourself really rooting for Kelly and Olivia, even though their wicked witch of a Mum also proves that some things never change.

    For a nice, easy read that would suit lounging around on a long, hot summer’s day the “Secrets Of The Tulip Sisters” proves to be a perfect friend and companion.

  13. “Secrets of the Tulip Sisters” is essentially a book about female relationships. It focuses on the Tulip Sisters: Kelly and Olivia.
    Kelly is a Tulip Farmer with a rather ordered life. This life is thrown into disarray when her childhood crush returns to her life
    The disarray is compounded with the arrival of Olivia her estranged sister.
    We follow the sisters as they learn more about each other. They also learn more about themselves.
    I liked the way the characters developed along the way. It was almost like seeing a flower bloom.
    There is romance along the way. Long buried secrets resurface. Emotions run high as Kelly and Olivia redefine their relationship
    This is an easy to read novel. Nice and light. A respite from reality. I enjoyed the pace at which the characters develop and loved watching them grow
    Thank you to Harlequin for the opportunity to read this Advance Reader’s Edition

  14. I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Secrets of the Tulip Sisters. This is a lovely, easy reading romantic story with enough twists and turns in the story line to add the right level of drama and intrigue. The sensual scenes are really quite explicit and an unexpected treat! Susan Mallery is a talented author and I look forward to reading more of her novels.

  15. I really enjoyed reading The Secrets of the Tulip Sisters. It was a very easy read and hard to put down. I enjoyed getting to know each of the main characters and enjoyed that it was told from their points of view which was still easy to follow.
    The ending was conveniently happy which I was pleased about but it was all a bit ‘perfect’, not that it was a downside to the book at all.
    I’d definitely read more of this authors books, it was a very enjoyable book.

  16. Wow.. What a wonderful read.
    Relaxing and pure escapism at its best.
    Susan Mallery creates characters that are engaging and likeable. A few unexpected twists makes this book hard to put down.
    I would strongly recommend you give this book a try.
    x

  17. I feel like I’m repeating myself with every review I do … but I genuinely loved this book. I found the first few chapters didn’t grab me at first, but it quickly developed into a story which was very hard to put down. Mallery managed to capture what can often be a bittersweet relationships between sibling. Seemingly so different, and yet a great deal in common. This story had a lovely pace and I enjoyed having a few different storylines and relationships developing through the book.

    I actually found the tulip farming aspect quiet fascinating. It’s not a field I’d every given too much thought to, so it’s great when you can learn something in an otherwise easy, holiday read.

    Thank you to both Beauty and Lace Bookclub and Harlequin Books for allowing me to review this book. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who loves a good romance or drama. This one is definitely a contender for my Christmas gift purchases this year, perfect summer read!

  18. We all know families can be dysfunctional, but the I think the Murphy family could really only exist in fiction, but maybe others know of families where these events really have happened.

    Sisters Kelly and Olivia haven’t been close since their parents broke up and younger sister Olivia was sent away to boarding school, at the urging of older sister Kelly. This is not going to end well when they begin repairing their relationship and Kelly admits she was the one who talked their dad into sending her away when she was a confused 15-year-old whose world was shattered by her parents’ breaking up.

    The mother, Marilee, is an extraordinary piece of work who ends up with a much younger man, formerly connected to one of her daughters, after trying to break up her ex-husband’s burgeoning relationship with… well, I can’t say because it would give away a major chunk of the storyline. Kelly deals with this quite well, considering everything that has happened in their family.

    This is a difficult review to write without giving too much away, but Kally’s new boyfriend leads her on a journey of sexual discovery and Olivia ends up with her sister’s ex-boyfriend.

    I know this is set in a relatively small town, but the connections in these relationships are so close, it could nearly inhibit the gene pool of Tulpen Crossing.

    The premise of the story is a good one, as the family members learn about each other, but it was a little unbelievable in parts that had me wanting to just finish the story. I did enjoy the ending, although, again, found that the loose ends tied up a little too conveniently and they all lived happily ever after

    An easy, quick book, though for those wanting a summer read.

  19. I was super late to this read this book and I am annoyed at myself as I loved this book!

    The start of the book didn’t draw me in and as the book follows multiple peoples perspectives I got a little lost, However once I could keep character and their stories straight, I really enjoyed.

    There were some problematic aspects with relationships which the characters were okay with but if they happened to me in real life I would not be comfortable at all!

    The characters evolved and developed during the story and the sisters new found closeness was lovely to read.

    I would highly recommend this book and so glad I finally found time to read it!

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