Roberta Writes – Book review: Letting Go: The Defiant Sisters Duet Book 1 by Jacquie Biggar #bookreview #readingcommunity

What Amazon says

A coming-of-age novel about the pain of misconceptions and learning from them.

When life gives you lemons…


Izzy

Mom is barely in the grave and the prodigal child is here to pick the bones clean.

I don’t want her here. My sister’s defection is a wound that won’t heal, and her return simply rubs at the scabs covering my heart.

I’ve managed just fine without her. She can go back to her fancy college and forget about us- that’s what she does best anyway.

If only I didn’t need her help. Or miss her so much.

Renee

The day my dad committed suicide I ran. I’ve been running ever since.

Going home is supposed to be the answer. Instead, it makes me question every thoughtless decision I’ve made.

My sister hates me. My little brother barely knows me. And Simon… is engaged.

None of it matters- or so I tell myself. I’m here to make amends and face a past haunted by regret.

As long as I can convince myself to stay.

Letting Go is a young adult romance dealing with tragedy, restitution, and love in all its aspects. The story relates to sensitive topics that may be triggering for some readers.

My review

I reviewed this book in my capacity as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team. If you would like your book reviewed, you can contact Rosie Amber here: http://rosieamber.wordpress.com/.

Renee Thomas escaped her dysfunctional family after the suicide of her father on the same evening as the betrayal of her long time boyfriend, Simon. Unable to cope, she just upped and left, with no regard for the effect on younger sister, Izzy, who bore the brunt of the subsequent collapse of the Thomas family. Renee has done well and earned herself a Master of science in Physical Therapy with a minor in physiotherapy. She has made peace with her past and has plans to open her own physiotherapy clinic when she learns of the death of her mother. Renee is compelled to return home and try and help her younger sister and brother overcome their loss and move forward.

Life has a way of surprising us, and Renee comes across her ex-boyfriend, the minute she enters town. He has moved on, training as a paramedic and getting engaged. In her distraction over seeing Simon, she doesn’t notice an elderly lady jay-walking across the street and accidentally knocks her down. The elderly lady turns out to be Simon’s grandmother.

Renee soon finds herself the object of Izzy’s anger and condemnation and the caregiver of Simon’s grandmother while she recovers. Worst of all, Renee discovers she still has feelings for Simon.

Izzy’s job is under threat, and her younger brother might be taken from her by the state, and this brings out the worst in Izzy. For me, Izzy was a most interesting character. She stepped up after the death of her father and disappearance of her sister, and cared for her mother, who became seriously ill, and her younger brother. Renee’s disappearing act was a bitter pill for Izzy who has subsequently built up walls of indifference to protect her damaged heart. Underneath her anger and resentment, Izzy is a caring and loving woman who has made the best of the cards she was dealt in life. I liked Izzy very much and kept hoping she would get an opportunity to uplift herself and have a bit of freedom from the responsibility and drudgery she’d assumed prior and subsequent to her mother’s death.

Renee needs to manage her feelings and interactions with Simon, help his grandmother, and deal with Izzy’s rejection. Renee was a little immature at the start of the book and didn’t seem to really understand the impact her impetuous flight had on her brother and sister. She did have some guilt and a need to make good on the situation, but she wasn’t able to prevent conflict with Izzy through understanding. As the story progresses, Renee acknowledges the errors of her past, although I didn’t think she should have stayed as she had really achieved in her personal capacity in the intervening period, she could have offered her siblings some support, even from a distance. Renee’s character experiences a lot of growth over the course of the story.

This book is exciting and compelling as Renee sets about trying to take her share of the responsibility of raising her brother and helping her sister, as well as and unravelling her feelings about Simon. Renee must also confront the demons from her past that initiated her flight on that fateful night.

Purchase Letting Go: The Defiant Sisters Duet

Amazon US

Jacquie Biggar Amazon Author Page

81 thoughts on “Roberta Writes – Book review: Letting Go: The Defiant Sisters Duet Book 1 by Jacquie Biggar #bookreview #readingcommunity

    1. Hi Dave, it was most interesting to experience how the two sisters managed their circumstances and emotional baggage in this book. Definitely, running away is a real choice by many people and then there is always the one who stays behind to try and keep things going.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Life is hard and sometimes we make the wrong choices. This story is about righting those wrongs. While Renée comes across as the weaker of the sisters for running away after a horrible incident, I think she actually goes through the biggest transformation by returning to face not only her sister’s ire but the nightmares associated with the past.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Hi, Robbie. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this new book from Jacquie. I read it and enjoyed it immensely. I’m already looking forward the next installment with these sisters. Congrats to Jacquie!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Excellent review, Robbie. Jacquie does a wonderful job with the family-based stories and one of the things I liked is how there aren’t really any villains, just human beings making mistakes, trying to make amends, and start over. I’m looking forward to Book 2. Congrats to Jacquie on the wonderful review.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Back in the very old days, I was the editor of the Doubleday Romance Library as well as The American Garden Guild. I think it’s possible I overdosed on romance novels. Sometimes, I can rev myself to read one and I’m surprised at how well written many of them are. Romance novels are one of the few genres that are bought and sold by publishers — not for huge money (they never sold for huge money, even back in the 1970s when I (stage name: Jennifer Robbins (!!)) was managing the book club. This one sound interesting so I might give it a try. I think, though, it’s possible I’m too old for romance novels. All the character are such babies. My granddaughter is older than most of the characters. Does that sound weird?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Marilyn, I didn’t know that about your working history. An interesting sounding job. I’ve never read that much in the romance line but I do enjoy Jacquie’s novels which always have a good storyline. It is true that these characters are young, but that isn’t the case for all of Jacquie’s books. There are a few romances out there lately that involve older women.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was very surprised by how well written most of the romances were written. Many of them were very clever and I’m sure many of those writers moved on to other genres, though romances are a very solid source of income for many writers. I always wanted to try it, but I’m just not a fiction writer. I write well, but not fiction. Give me facts and I can tell a story, but I can’t make up characters or a plot. I can write dialogue, but I have no ability to create a whole story. I wish I did!

        It’s just — at 75 — romance just feels kind of youthful. But at this point, a lot of things seem a bit youthful. It’s one of the perils of age. Mind you, I’m still in love and still happily married even though he’s 80 and I’m 75. We’ve been friends, lovers, and married since I was 19. Love matters, but it IS different as time passes.

        Liked by 2 people

          1. I sort of have written in — in pieces. It’s actually a very interesting story, but I’m not a fiction writer. Lord knows I wish I was because I always wanted to write a REAL novel. But maybe I can spin this somehow. I don’t that there’s much a market for 75-year-old women writing the story of their romance. But who knows what anyone wants these days? Back when I was working for Doubleday, real editors read real manuscripts. If you wrote a good story, someone would read it and they’d make an offer and actually PUBLISH the book. Now? I finally got ONE editor to promise to read my manuscript (it wasn’t all that good, so I don’t think I missed anything) and the guy died a few days before he was going to read it. I took that as a sign and went back to writing software manuals. I was VERY good at that.

            Liked by 2 people

          1. Actually, I was 18 years and 6 months. Owen was born 4-1/2 years later when I was just 22. It got both of us out of our parents’ houses. Jeff (first husband, RIP.) was 9 years older than me and was working at the University. Probably would be frowned upon today since he was administration and I was a student, but no one really thought about it back then. It was what we now refer to as a “jailbreak marriage” — two people who need to move on and needed each other to get it done. We were always very good friends. We weren’t a great husband and wife, but we shared many interests, liked the same people, books, history, dogs, cats. That’s why Garry was Owen’s godfather, because we were both friends with him while we were married and why Owen’s middle name is Garry. We were weak in the “passion” department. Jeff died young. I always tell people it was complicated. It really WAS complicated.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. This sounds like an interesting plot, Robbie. Great review!

    I love this line from Izzy. “My sister’s defection is a wound that won’t heal, and her return simply rubs at the scabs covering my heart.”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Izzy is compelling, Pete. My hubby is a redhead and had a flash temper when he was younger (we’ve been together forever, lol) so I used him as a jumping board for Izzy. Most of the problem is one we all have- not realizing there are two sides to every story.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Great review, Robbie. Being an only child, I’ve always been intrigued by siblings’ relationships, and Jacquie’s book sounds very compelling. Thanks for sharing and congratulations to the author.

    Liked by 2 people

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