Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Indistinctive Characters + Dull Plot + 150 Extra Pages = a Meh From Me

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

A legendary Hollywood agent and producer, Fritz Hudson amassed a fortune.  When he dies, his three daughters come together for the first time ever for the reading of his will.  Cara, Allie, and Des are shocked to learn that their father was married to two women at the same time and that he actually has three daughters, not two.  They're even more stunned to discover that, while all of them are poised to receive a large portion of their father's money, the payouts hinge on the completion of a special project.  The women are tasked with working together to restore a crumbling theater in Fritz's small hometown of Hidden Falls, Pennsylvania.  If they fail to complete the job, none of them will receive a penny.

None of the three women are thrilled about putting their real lives on hold to spend months living in a tiny backwater with siblings they don't know and/or can't stand.  Reluctantly, they dive into the project, vowing to get it over with as fast as possible.  Working together becomes easier as they come to love the grand old theater, discover an intriguing mystery, and get to know each other in ways they haven't before.  Can they keep up the camaraderie through their various challenges and dramas?  Or will they come together only to be torn apart again?

The Last Chance Matinee—the first book in the Hudson Sisters series by Mariah Stewart—tells a gentle, heartwarming story about an unorthodox request that becomes a blessing in disguise.  It's an uplifting, mostly clean novel that features a quaint, small-town setting and a group of likable characters.  What it doesn't have a lot of is conflict.  That, coupled with the fact that it has about 150 pages too many, makes The Last Chance Matinee feel very looonnnggg.  I almost put it down numerous times.  The fact that the spotlighted sisters lack both depth and distinctive personalities added to the novel's dullness.  I did end up plowing through the lengthy novel, but it was definitely a slog.  Needless to say, I'm not going to bother with the book's sequels.  Oh, well.

(Readalikes:  I'm sure there are a million novels out there with a similar plot, but I'm coming up empty.  Suggestions?)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for brief, mild language (no F-bombs) and some sexual innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

10 comments:

  1. I really like the premise of this, so what a shame that it fell short.

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    1. I liked the idea of it, too. I'm usually all about estranged sibling reunion stories, but this one just wasn't focused enough for me.

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  2. Oh bummer! I've had some bloggers recommend this series to me, but I haven't gotten it yet.

    I used to read (and enjoy) Mariah Stewart back when she did romantic suspense novels: The FBI series, the Dead series, and the Truth series, so around 15 years ago maybe? I mean this in a nice way, but some authors should stop while they are ahead because I think of those books fondly, whether they would hold up to my tastes now, I don't know.

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    1. Ha ha. I agree! I haven't read anything else by Mariah Stewart, so I can't compare this one to her others. My disappointment with this book could as just be a "me" thing - I can be a little picky, especially with so-called "women's fiction" :)

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  3. I disagree, I liked it and would give it a B.

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    1. Like I said, my disappointment could definitely just be a "me" thing. I'm choosy and I get bored with too much detail and too little plot. Glad you liked THE LAST CHANCE MATINEE!

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  4. Think I'll pass on this one. :)

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    1. Yeah. I get that the book is the first in a trilogy, but I think the author is trying to stretch a one-book plot into three. Too much for me!

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  5. This sounds like it would be one I would enjoy, but I am not a fan of books that are longer than they need to be, I lose interest. Too bad this didn't measure up to your expectations Susan.

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    1. Same! I don't mind long books, but those that are longer than necessary drive me crazy.

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