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The 52 Book Club's Reading Challenge 2022

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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?)


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

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