This was my first Kristen Hannah book, but not my last (currently, I have read one other book by her and plan to read more in the future). Ms. Hannah moved away from her romance focused books to delve into the depressing world of women's fiction, but I think her background as a romance writer helped to make this work much less depressing than the typical genre work. Also, Ms. Hannah's background as a lawyer makes the whole plot line work, as well as the real-life organization (The Innocence Project) the storyline takes its inspiration from. Not to mention, the setting for this book (rural west Washington).
It has been about three years since I read the book, but I can still remember certain scenes as if I read the book yesterday. This is a story that stuck with me - a good kind of stick. Three sisters live, love, and survive through roughly three decades. The story starts off with the death of their mother; their dad was a horse rancher who was a cold piece of fish. Each sister has her own physical, mental, and emotional characterization. From the author's website:
Winona, the oldest, needs her father’s approval most of all. An overweight bookworm who never felt at home on the sprawling horse ranch that has been in her family for three generations, she knows that she doesn’t have the qualities her father values. But as the best lawyer in town, she’s determined to someday find a way to prove her worth to him.
Aurora, the middle sister, is the family peacemaker. She brokers every dispute and tries to keep them all happy, even as she hides her own secret pain.
Vivi Ann is the undisputed star of the family. A stunningly beautiful dreamer with a heart as big as the ocean in front of her house, she is adored by all who know her. Everything comes easily for Vivi Ann, until a stranger comes to town...
Everything rang true, and the sisters do have several falling outs with each other, making the whole story so real. Time and honesty heal deep wounds....except the dad stays a cold ass all the way through the book, but it is not a villain typecast.