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May 21, 2015

Loved It: The Canterbury Sistersby Kim Wright

Series: Standalone
Format: eGalley
Release Date: May 19, 2015
Publisher: Gallery Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Literary Fiction | Women's Lit
BLURB:
Che Milan’s life is falling apart. Not only has her longtime lover abruptly dumped her, but her eccentric, demanding mother has recently died. When an urn of ashes arrives, along with a note reminding Che of a half-forgotten promise to take her mother to Canterbury, Che finds herself reluctantly undertaking a pilgrimage.

Within days she joins a group of women who are walking the sixty miles from London to the shrine of Becket in Canterbury Cathedral, reputed to be the site of miracles. In the best Chaucer tradition, the women swap stories as they walk, each vying to see who can best describe true love. Che, who is a perfectionist and workaholic, loses her cell phone at the first stop and is forced to slow down and really notice the world around her, perhaps for the first time in years.

Through her adventures along the trail, Che finds herself opening up to new possibilities in life and discovers that the miracles of Canterbury can take surprising forms.


QUOTABLE QUOTES:
I have so much trouble with peace. It scares me. It feels too much like death.

Life will always be a mystery. Whatever you think you own can be taken from you in an instant and-even more confounding-all the things you once thought were lost can come rushing back.



Sigh! Is it me or does anybody else get feel-good vibes after reading a solid women's lit novel? THE CANTERBURY SISTERS by Kim Wright sure left me feeling satisfied the same way one might feel after consuming their favorite treat (mine would be flaky, sugary, carby, pastries). I connected with the novel, and the women in the story, in different ways and varying degrees. The best way I can describe THE CANTERBURY SISTERS is every woman’s story, and I’m sure that should you decide to read this, that you will find yourselves, or pieces of yourselves, embedded in the women in this novel.

The story starts with Che Millan, a woman in her late 40's, successful, independent, stable. The anti-thesis of her recently departed mother, Diana, who found God again towards the end of her life. It’s this almost fanatic reconciliation with her religion that had Diana pressing her daughter to bring her ashes to Canterbury Cathedral and be laid to rest in a purportedly, miraculous church. Che was hesitant at first, then she got a Dear Jane letter from her boyfriend of several years, stating that he met someone new. This was what unraveled Che and thus started her pilgrimage to Canterbury. When Che got there, she found herself in the company of women who are looking for some sort of miracle to happen in their lives as they go in this once in a lifetime trip to Chaucer’s Canterbury.

Following the tradition of the original pilgrims, the women were asked to tell a story, preferably theirs, as they walk the 60 mile trek going to the Cathedral. I loved all the women's stories; they were fun, honest, revealing, and a lesson in itself. Jeanne is a widow whose husband died of a drug deal gone wrong in South America. Her daughter, Becca, is a senior in high school, na├»ve and innocent to the joys and sorrows of love but very much excited to know its ebbs and tides. Angelique is a reality housewife who’s live unraveled in front of national television because of her husband’s shenanigans.
Then there’s Claire, very polished, super MILF, very confident, and very insecure of her second husband’s ex-wife who apparently was a dynamite in bed. This led her marriage to crumble and overcompensating in some ways. Steffi, who told her story in third person, and though her story might feel “common” and perceived as shallow (eating disorder), it’s one of the cruelest and most disturbing of the tales for me.

A few shared fairy tales with the intent of being metaphorical. My favorite was Silvia’s. She met her perfect mate early on, lived the ideal life, built the white-picket-fenced dream. Then it was shattered when her husband fell for another woman and Silvia was left to pick up the pieces of their broken life. Years later, Silvia found a new man, having a second shot at love. Then Sivlia’s ex-husband’s current wife contracted Alzheimer’s then Silvia’s current husband was diagnosed with it too. Later on, Silvia’s current husband got it too and they ended up living together in a pseudo-hospice/home.

What held me back in giving THE CANTERBURY SISTERS 5 cauldrons is Che skipping telling her tale. Sure, we know her story because she’s narrating the novel. I guess I was looking for some sort of confession, or a declaration of sorts, share with the group the real reason why she went on this pilgrimage and the kind of miracle or absolution she was after.

I had a great time with THE CANTERBURY SISTERS. Kwright wrote a story that’s for women, by a woman, if that makes sense. All the tales shared were far from The Dream, it’s nothing like HEA, but its powerful and packed quite the punch. I found myself relishing the tales, imbibing the words, and internalizing these women’s reflections because it really resonated with me. I don’t know why I stopped reading women’s fiction, after THE CANTERBURY SISTERS, I’m sure I’ll be reading more of the genre moving forward.



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41 comments:

  1. I didn't know about this one but it sounds really well done, it must e nice to follow and discover each of their stories like that. thanks for the review!

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  2. I think I have read a book by her and liked it. And this cover does scream me

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    1. I want to try her other books too! I wonder if it's all women's lit...

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  3. Ooo this one sounds really good and I’m glad you enjoyed it :D and yes, I love it when books feature real, strong and solid women <3 Great review! :D

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  4. Glad you had a good time with this one :)

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    1. I'm getting old, I am loving this genre more and more

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  5. These are the books my mother loved to read. I'm at a point where I need to read more of this genre myself. Added to my wish list!

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    1. I hope you enjoy the genre. It runs deep!

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  6. I love the cover, but chick-lit is just not my thing.

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    1. Hahaha! It's women's Lit!! Chick lit of old ladies... like me!

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  7. Not really my genre or my kind of book but thanks for the great review.

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    1. You're welcome and thanks for still checking it out!

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  8. I have to admit, it's been a long while since I've read any women's fiction, but I do remember the great feeling you have afterwards that you mentioned. I'm glad this was a great read for you :)

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    1. I think I'm most grateful for the minimal/zero angst. Almost all the books that I've read lately had tremendous amount of angst and I need a break from it!

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  9. This sounds fascinating that whole story line about the two husbands getting Alzheimers... go figure. Thanks for the recommendation.

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    1. It's kismet but not in the romantic swoony way. I hope you enjoy it, Heidi!

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    2. It's kismet but not in the romantic swoony way.

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  10. I stopped reading chick-lit for some mysterious reason. This sounds really good, Braine. Raw honesty is high sale point in a book. I love all your reviews, but this one I felt more than others. Thank you <3

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    1. You're too sweet, Ramona!

      I love chick-lit, it's less complicated and more straightforward. Sometimes I need a hard shake lol

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  11. Women's Fiction is iffy for me. I think it's when I'm in the mood. I like the idea of a modern Canterbury Tales. Didn't know about it.

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    1. You read a lot of genres, I'm surprised you're not a fan of this!

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  12. Hey! This is new. :) I'm glad you're branching out and right up my alley, too. Adding this to my pile. Thanks, Braine!

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    1. I told you I'll find a book that'll catch your interest. I hope this makes your cut.

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  13. Oh yay! I remember seeing this a long while back as someone's WOW I think. It looked so interesting. I don't read Women's Fiction often but you have me curious on it :D

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    1. I love it! Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever read women's fiction I didn't like

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  14. You are not alone. I love good women's lit. It is actually one of my favorite genres. I love books where the bonds of women's friendship is a key piece. Great review.

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    1. I could hug you! I love the feel good vibes it gives me. It's almost like reading a good self-help book

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  15. So good to hear that you enjoyed and was a feel good women's lit

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    1. Any book that makes me feel good I love

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  16. This sounds like a moving read, Braine. And i love that it involves The Canterbury Tales. It's been awhile since i read good chick lit so I'm putting this one on my list. :)

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    1. Oh it was! Most of the women have been married/engaged and though I'm neither of those, I still was able to relate to their loss and trials. Gah! Emo much?!

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  17. Ooh, such a pretty cover! I didn't even make the connection between the title and The Canterbury Tales until you mentioned it, lol. This seems like a perfect beach read- will keep it in mind.

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    1. If I know you like I think I do, I think you will love this one too, Sis!

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  18. I do like those feel good vibes from a good chick-lit book.
    Glad you enjoyed this one.

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    1. I love feeling good period. If I can get that feeling from a book, all the better.

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  19. I love mixing in women's lit and usually enjoy them immensely. This might be a good one for audio. Great review!

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    1. Oooh, I think it will. The tales from the women would make for an amazing listen.

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  20. You know. I actually liked The Canterbury Tales when I had to read a part of them in high school. I can't believe I've never heard of a retelling of it before. The author is a genius especially that she's doing it from the perspective of women and love because I will just eat that up. I agree about Che not telling her own story. I would think there would have been a revelation... But, you did right that this is the first time she's really seeing the world. Maybe these stories she's listening to are her revelation?

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    1. It is kinda like that. I guess I just expected her to have her own "moment" like the other women. Like an admission of sorts.

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