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.


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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. “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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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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