3 out of 4 stars
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Imagine not only having a hobby that you love, but sharing that hobby with several of your closest friends. Weekend getaways and shenanigans among friends are bound to ensue. These lighthearted moments are expertly weaved among lessons of companionship and bonds that can never be broken in The Reel Sisters by Michelle Cummings.
Four women have been brought together over the years through a unique love of fly fishing. While fishing during one of one of their cabin weekends, a woman comes flailing down the river and screaming for help. They manage to pull her out of the water only to realize that she is naked and nearly hypothermic. What starts out as a very awkward situation quickly turns to understanding as the friends learn more about how the woman came to be naked and alone in the river. The group shows her the ropes of fly fishing in the hopes that she'll develop her own love of the sport. But can she open up to these total strangers enough to be welcomed into their sisterhood?
My favorite thing about this book is easily the characters. The book is told through alternating points of view, which allowed me to really dig in to each perspective. Cummings was able to create believable friendships among this group of women who seemingly have nothing in common. Their bond never felt forced and their interaction with each other was amusing to read.
Though it would have been easy to get bogged down in all the fly fishing talk in this book, the author does a wonderful job of balancing the information so it never felt like too much was being thrown at me. As a result, I became genuinely interested in several facets of the the sport and was eager to learn more about their experiences.
One problem I did have with the book was the writing felt stiff at times, particularly the dialogue. There were many instances in the dialogue where contractions weren't used and it interrupted my reading flow because the words didn't feel natural. A couple of examples are when the characters said "it is my favorite" and "you are welcome". I honestly sat there for several minutes trying to remember the last time I heard someone say "you are welcome" instead of "you're welcome" and I couldn't come up with anything. It seems like such a small gripe but it really is the difference between imagining these things being said by real people versus their voices sounding robotic.
Obviously the main theme throughout this book is friendship. Some other themes touched on in the novel include love, motherhood, and empowerment. I love that the book takes on a sport not typically done by many women. I can easily see how this book can help give women the confidence to go outside of their comfort zones and try things they normally wouldn't have the courage to do.
Due to the problems with the writing that I mentioned and the many typos that are present throughout the book, I have to bump it down to 3 out of 4 stars. Overall, I really enjoyed this novel and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys women's literature and books about friendship. It would also make a good read for a book club as it has many aspects to dive into and also comes with a set of discussion questions at the end of the book.
The Reel Sisters
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