Release date: May 25, 2021
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Once upon a time, when her dad married Sage’s mom, Daisy was thrilled to get a bright and shiny new sister. But Sage was beautiful and popular, everything Daisy was not, and she made sure Daisy knew it.
Sage didn’t have Daisy’s smarts—she had to go back a grade to enroll in the fancy rich-kid school. So she used her popularity as a weapon, putting Daisy down to elevate herself. After the divorce, the stepsisters’ rivalry continued until the final, improbable straw: Daisy married Sage’s first love, and Sage fled California.
Eighteen years, two kids and one troubled marriage later, Daisy never expects—or wants—to see Sage again. But when the little sister they have in common needs them both, they put aside their differences to care for Cassidy. As long-buried truths are revealed, no one is more surprised than they when friendship blossoms.
Their fragile truce is threatened by one careless act that could have devastating consequences. They could turn their backs on each other again…or they could learn to forgive once and for all and finally become true sisters of the heart.
Hey everyone! I’m super excited to be sharing an excerpt from The Stepsisters today. If you wanna follow along with the tour click here I also listened to the audio version so read on for my thoughts on that as well!
Daisy walked into the locker room, stretching her neck and trying to release the kinks in her back. The surgery had gone long, with her seven-year-old kidney patient requiring unexpected repair work on her large intestine.
Daisy had worried about the extended time under anesthesia, given her patient’s weak condition. But little Molly had come through like a champ. Daisy had stayed with her in recovery until her patient had woken up. Once she’d confirmed Molly was breathing comfortably and not in too much pain, she’d left her in the capable hands of the recovery room team.
She opened her locker, pulled out her cell phone and saw she’d missed a call from her father. She pushed the button to call him back and took a seat on the bench.
“Hey, Dad,” she said. “I was in surgery.”
“I figured. Everything go all right?”
She smiled. “My patient did great. So, what’s up?”
As she asked the question, she found herself tensing. Her father had retired and moved to Hawaii a couple of years ago. He’d quickly realized that he wasn’t ready to not work and had joined a small general medicine practice in Maui. He worked a few days a week and frequently came back to LA to visit.
Not now, she thought desperately, knowing that there was no way to keep the situation with Jordan a secret if her father came to town. While he often chose to stay at the Bel Air Hotel, he would still be close enough to figure out there was a problem. As she had no idea what was happening with her husband, she doubted she could explain the situation to her father.
“I’m calling about Cassidy,” her father said. “There’s been an accident.”
Daisy tried to remember if she knew where her half sister was these days. Cassidy was a travel writer. While her home base was in Miami, she was frequently off visiting exotic places. Although hadn’t Sage mentioned something about Patagonia?
Given they were sisters, one would assume Daisy and Cassidy would stay in touch, but that never happened. Despite sharing a father, they weren’t exactly close. Eight years younger, Cassidy had initially been tight with Daisy, but after the divorce, everything had changed. Sage had become the beloved, fun sister, while Daisy was merely to be tolerated.
“A couple of days ago,” her father said, drawing her back into the conversation. “She fell while hiking in Patagonia. She has some broken bones and maybe a concussion. It’s hard to tell exactly, because her doctor didn’t speak much English and my Spanish is terrible. Desean was there, so he told me what had happened. He’s going to stay with her until she’s on the plane back home.”
“Her boyfriend.” Wallace sounded surprised she didn’t know. “I’m not sure that’s how she’d refer to him, but they’ve been seeing each other on and off for a while now. I met him the last time I visited Cassidy. He’s a good man. I like him. He said he would get her onto the plane I’m chartering.”
“To fly her back to Miami?”
“No, to Los Angeles. She’s going to need round-the-clock care and somewhere to stay. I’m assuming I can have her brought to the house.”
Daisy held in a groan. There was only one house in their family and she was living in it.
While her father knew in his head that she and Cassidy hadn’t gotten along in years, he’d always wanted them to be closer. They were “his girls,” as he still called them. Even after the divorce, he’d stayed in touch with Sage and had visited her a couple of times in Europe.
“Dad, no,” she began, then stopped. There was no way to refuse. The house was big enough and Cassidy was family. Wallace wanted to take care of his daughter—end of story.
Dozens of thoughts flashed through her head. Things like wondering how long she could keep the separation a secret and what she was going to tell the kids and how mean Cassidy was going to be, but she ignored them. Instead she told herself to suck it up and said, “When is she arriving?”
“In two days. I’ll email you the particulars, including some ideas about nursing care. I can’t get away for a couple of weeks. I have too many patients scheduled. But I’ll get there as soon as I can.”
“There’s no need to rush, Dad. We’ll be fine.” A lie, but the last thing she needed was her father showing up, as well.
“Thank you for doing this, Daisy. I’m going to let Joanne know. If you’d tell Sage, I’d appreciate it. Do you have her number?”
“I don’t think so.”
“I’ll text it to you, along with the flight information when I get it. I’m not happy Cassidy was hurt, but I’m glad you three girls will have a chance to hang out together. It’s been a long time since that last happened.”
It had never happened, she thought grimly. Daisy and Cassidy had been close and then Cassidy and Sage had bonded.
An uncomfortable thought occurred to her. What if Cassidy and Sage were still tight? That would mean if Cassidy came to stay, Sage would follow. Unless she’d already gone back to Italy, andwouldn’t that be nice.
I’m a longtime fan of the author and have completely enjoyed reading her books in print, but a few months ago I decided to try the audio version of another book of hers and absolutely loved the narrator, Tanya Eby. When I got the chance to have an early listen of The Stepsisters it was a no brainer, Tanya is an incredible narrator and really brings the characters Susan creates to life. She has such an engaging quality in her voice, if you’re an audiobook listener this was fantastic!
I loved the premise here, the messiness of these women’s complex family dynamics appealed to me so much. You have Daisy who is dealing with a troubled marriage, her ex stepsister Sage, who has more issues than I can get into here, and then their half sister, Cassidy who had an accident and needs their help. The idea of dealing with ex family members who you have a troubled past relationship with sounds like a nightmare but wow did it make for some pretty amusing reading! I didn’t grow up with step siblings but I can’t imagine reuniting as adults who aren’t even really related anymore and then trying to unpack old issues and problems, just sounds awful but I liked witnessing these characters work through things. No one writes complex family dramas like the author and if you like messy families as much as I do check this one out. This felt a little sharper and more edgy than the authors previous books and I am here for it. Give me some catty women, drama and people behaving badly as a summer read and I’m all in.
Overall rating: 4/5
Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.