Official Review: The Reel Sisters by Michelle Cummings

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bookowlie
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Official Review: The Reel Sisters by Michelle Cummings

Post by bookowlie » 29 Jan 2018, 20:08

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Reel Sisters" by Michelle Cummings.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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A common topic in women’s contemporary fiction is friendship; the sport of fly fishing in fiction is less common, to say the least. The Reel Sisters by Michelle Cummings focuses on a small, diverse group of women who bond through their love of fly fishing. Not a “girls’ night out at book club” type of story, this might actually be the only novel ever written about fly fishing with your best girlfriends.

The main characters are distinctively written and make the story sparkle. The heart of the group is widowed Rose who has been fly fishing since childhood. Besides Rose, Sophie is the only one who previously knew how to fly fish; in fact, she met Rose in a fly shop. After separately meeting Veronica and Amanda in a random manner, Sophie encourages each of them to come to Rose’s cabin for a girls’ weekend to learn how to fly fish. Their cabin getaways are a way to recharge, have some “girl time,” and, of course, enjoy fly fishing. When the women rescue a naked woman from the river, their close-knit group expands to five.

Set in Colorado, this character-driven book crept into my heart slowly but surely. Written in first person in five alternating perspectives, it took me a while to become absorbed in this leisurely-paced story. Although I would have liked a quicker pace, it fit well with the fishing theme; anyone who has spent any time fishing knows that it is not exactly the fastest-moving sport.

There is a nice mix of the girls’ personal lives and their fun get-togethers. Amanda has a particularly compelling storyline. She struggles to raise two young children while worrying about her husband, who is on a one-year military deployment in Afghanistan.

In the early sections, there is too much emphasis on each character’s detailed backstory, including how they met and became close friends. There are also long explanations of what fly fishing is all about, including the necessary equipment and apparel. While this information is informative, it bogs down the beginning of the story. Once the major characters are firmly introduced, the plot moves along on a more defined path. In the second half, I couldn’t put the book down and stayed up way too late to finish it. I had become so invested in the characters’ lives that I was sad to leave them behind on the last page.

The descriptions are so vivid that I felt like I was right there fishing and laughing with the group. I could even smell the hazelnut lattes and picture the quilts Rose made for each woman. There are a few interesting plot twists, but a quiet beauty shines through the pages whenever the girls simply go fly fishing.

As much as I enjoyed the book, I spotted approximately nine errors. The errors include a missing word, an incorrect word, no space after a comma, no line break between two paragraphs, and incorrect tenses. In addition, the author’s incorrect way of putting a space between each dot in each ellipsis often results in one or two of the dots appearing on the next line.

I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. It is a thoroughly enjoyable read with a relatable cast of characters. I recommend this story to anyone who wants to get lost in a good book with an unusual theme. Rose, Amanda, Veronica, Sophie, and Melody…I won’t soon forget you.

******
The Reel Sisters
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Post by gali » 30 Jan 2018, 09:09

A book revolving around fishing and a bunch of women who bond through their love of fly fishing? Sounds refreshing. I liked it when the descriptions make you feel you are part of the tale. Too bad about the over-detailed backstory, the errors, and the long explanations about fly fishing. I don't think it is for me, but I am glad you enjoyed it despite those issues. Great review!
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Post by kandscreeley » 30 Jan 2018, 09:24

You know, I noticed the ellipsis thing too. It was kind of irritating. I also agree about too much back story in the beginning. I think it could have been incorporated more into the story instead of having it all in one chunk in the beginning. Great review! Thanks for the loads of information!
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Post by bookowlie » 30 Jan 2018, 10:19

Thanks Gali and Kandscreeley! My draft for this review was much longer because there was a lot to discuss about five main characters. I deleted a lot and the review is still long, so you can imagine how much longer it initially was. :)
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Post by kislany » 30 Jan 2018, 15:01

I usually do have issues with many alternate points of view (I do get confused quite easily). However, I love character-driven stories, so there's that. Great review, I really enjoyed reading it.

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Post by Mouricia25 » 30 Jan 2018, 15:35

This seems like a book I would read. Thank you for your review.
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Post by Lg_99 » 30 Jan 2018, 16:09

I have never read nor heard about a book dealing with fly fishing. Mixing friendship with this concept is quite creative, and the reason why I want to read this book. Thank you for the review.

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Post by Maggie G » 30 Jan 2018, 17:50

Thank you for a thoughtful review! I can imagine this book have a regional appeal, perhaps in areas of the country where fly fishing is a common recreational activity.

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Post by bookowlie » 30 Jan 2018, 18:03

Thanks everyone for the nice feedback. LG_99 - I also thought the fly fishing theme was a fresh take on the usual women's friendship type of story. Kislany - Like you, I sometimes gets confused by too many alternating perspectives. Although it slowed the pace in this case, I did "seeing" things from each character's point of view.
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Post by Guddu » 30 Jan 2018, 19:59

Good concept of fly fishing. First time ever heard about a book written on it.

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Post by KwachieAdie » 31 Jan 2018, 18:28

The cover of the book is top class and attracted me to read it and i wasn't disappointed about the content . This is top notch content

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Post by bookowlie » 01 Feb 2018, 10:23

Thanks Guddu and KwachieAdie and welcome to the forums! Guddu, I agree it's an original theme for a story.
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Post by Bhagchandjain » 01 Feb 2018, 11:14

The subject of novel is regional and connected with particular activity but how deeply acted upon it’s a really a work written with passion love and emotions carrying thoughts of river : congratulations for giving thoughts in tide of river at the high stream of waves

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Post by Rajanis » 01 Feb 2018, 11:53

Aptly named 'Reel Sisters', it is the story of story of five women who bond over fly fishing. Errors do make it difficult to read though you have liked it. Thanks for the review.

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Post by bookowlie » 01 Feb 2018, 12:31

Thanks Rajanis for taking the time to read my review. Although the errors are not too distracting, the author would have benefitted from an extra round of professional editing.
"I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship" - Louisa May Alcott

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