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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down!
The Sisters Montclair: A Novel

Every Cathy Holton book I have read, I have enjoyed tremendously. This one was no different. By page 13, I was already in love with the characters and couldn't wait to hear their stories. This always bodes well for me when the story draws me immediately and I can connect with the characters right away. I just knew a captivating...
Published on August 21, 2012 by Amazon Customer

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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stale
The Sisters MontClair by Cathy Holton is a story of the secrets that a woman, motivated by love, sadness and her own failures, can hide from the ones she loves. Alice is a 94-year-old woman who has achieved many successes, but has few people living who truly give her love, attention and caring. Stella is a hard-working college student who struggles to survive. When Alice...
Published on November 18, 2012 by J. Wolf


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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down!, August 21, 2012
This review is from: The Sisters Montclair (Kindle Edition)
The Sisters Montclair: A Novel

Every Cathy Holton book I have read, I have enjoyed tremendously. This one was no different. By page 13, I was already in love with the characters and couldn't wait to hear their stories. This always bodes well for me when the story draws me immediately and I can connect with the characters right away. I just knew a captivating story was in store.

At 94 years old, Alice, who came from a socially prominent and privileged background, was not happy that her family hired someone to watch over her. Stella, a 21 year old college student mired in debt and childhood baggage, takes the job as Alice's caretaker. This unlikely pairing surprised even the two of them. Both seemed to recognize a kindred soul in the other.

Alice brightened, slanting her eyes up at Stella. "Ever do this kind of work before?"

"Nope."

"But you think you can handle it?"

"It's not brain surgery. I can handle it."

"They say I"m difficult."

"I'm used to difficult people."

"I'm not difficult. I just like things done a certain way."

"I understand."

Alice folded her hands in her lap. She gave Stella a sly look. "You'd be a pretty girl if you'd do something with your hair."

"And you'd be a nice old lady if you'd stop saying things you shouldn't."

Behind Alice's shoulder, Janice's mouth fell open in shock. The clock on the mantle ticked steadily. Stella thought, I never even had a chance to ask what the hourly rate was.

Without warning, Alice Montclair Whittington put her head back and laughed.

A form of trust akin to real friendship developed and slowly each bared their innermost secrets to each other. Through a series of flashbacks, Alice reveals her family's story and the life she settled for. Stella, struggling with situations in the present, begins to deal with a past that still haunts and wounds her.

There was one small quibble I had with the book; a thread that hinted at something almost frightening and eerie that was never expanded upon. Still, I didn't care because I loved the rest of the book so much. It just resonated with me and really touched my heart. 5*****

Disclosure: A review copy of the book was provided by Bramwell/LT at no charge to me in exchange for my honest opinion.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stale, November 18, 2012
The Sisters MontClair by Cathy Holton is a story of the secrets that a woman, motivated by love, sadness and her own failures, can hide from the ones she loves. Alice is a 94-year-old woman who has achieved many successes, but has few people living who truly give her love, attention and caring. Stella is a hard-working college student who struggles to survive. When Alice needs a new caregiver, Stella steps in to fill the role. As they spend time together, Stella learns more and more about her new employer, not all of it good. Stella quickly becomes Alice's favorite caregiver and trusted friend, but even with that trust, Alice holds the truth of her story from her.

The Sisters MontClair could have been a story of redemption, but it felt like a drawn out version of what the reader suspects early in the book. There are few twists in the plot and the dynamic character is Stella, though I felt that she was written in a stale manner that could have been explored fully with the background she was given.

Overall, not my favorite book and not one I would read again; however, in terms of historical fiction, it has lovely descriptions of Tennessee (one of my favorite places in the world).

Note: I received this book for free in return for my honest opinion and review.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Master storyteller, August 8, 2012
This is Cathy Holton's fifth novel and the third one I have read by her. I read "Beach Trip" in May of 2009 and the followed that up with "Summer in the South" which I read in May of 2011. Enjoyed "Beach Trip" quite a bit and it was a very good beach-y book. I liked "Summer in the South" even better as it definitely was a southern book but lost the sun and the sand and had more substance. When I realized this latest offering was available, I jumped at the chance to read it and I was not disappointed. Her books just get better and better. I said this before and yet I haven't done it - I really need to go back and read both of the Kudzu Debutante books.

This novel is the story of two women who come together based upon need and grow close due to a mutual respect and by finding a bit of their own personality in the other person. Stella has had a very difficult life beginning with a neglectful mother and ending with a boyfriend willing to take advantage of her. Trying to put herself through college, she takes a job as caregiver to an elderly woman in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Alice is 94 years old and suffering from dementia/memory loss. Just because she is ailing doesn't mean she has lost all her spunk and she is known as a difficult person to handle. These two seem an unlikely pair but they learn how to deal with each other and eventually come to appreciate each other. While Alice's memory is undependable, she has flashes of her past that allow the reader to understand her life story and come to appreciate who she was and the choices she made. Stella has choices to make in her own life and seeing her story unfold in the present day was very interesting.

One of the things I loved about Ms. Holton's previous book was that blending of elements into a wonderful whole and she succeeds even more so here. There is a bit of historical fiction, secrets and intrigue, as well as a study of human relationships. All these piece come together in the hands of a master storyteller. When I think about this book, I don't think about the masterful writing or the incredible prose like I do with other authors. What I think about is the story itself --- the language almost disappears into the background as you see the narrative unfolding in your mind's eye. I don't mean to imply the writing isn't good, it just is pushed to the background. This author has a great talent for bringing characters to life and letting you share their experiences. The books I have read by her consistently get better and better - I am really looking forward to the next one.

Bottom Line: 4.75 stars, rounded to 5 stars.

(E-book supplied by the publisher, but the opinions are truly my own. I have given a 1-star review before for a book supplied to me for review, so I am willing to say what I think.)
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars no compelling skeletons in the closet, October 9, 2012
Stella Nightengale comes to Alice Monclair to work as a caretaker for the elderly woman. During the course of her care, and their budding friendship, Stella and Alice must confront the terrible secrets of their pasts and find peace with their present.

I was disappointed with this novel. The build-up was glacial, and despite the title, there was very little about the 'sisters Montclair'. We learn much about Alice's life as a wife and mother, and a little bit (parceled out excruciatingly slowly) about her youthful indiscretions, but I didn't get a feel for any of the time periods, nor did I particularly care about any of the characters in her past. Stella's character felt wooden and maudlin, and though the reader was manipulated to feel pity for her plight, it was difficult to dredge up any feelings for her whatsoever. The treatment of the male characters was somewhat better: though Josh was a flat, controlling jerk, Bill and Brendan are not the stereotypes you are initially led to believe.

Moreover, the 'family secrets' and 'terrible burdens' hinted at in the blurb were painfully obvious within a few chapters, and the novel's 350+ pages became merely a slog to the inevitable. And why *are* the caregivers afraid to go in the basement? Who knows? By the end, I didn't care.

For a novel of family secrets and sibling rivalry done right, you'd be much better off with The House at Riverton: A Novel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Keeps you hooked, somewhat disappointing, October 7, 2013
By 
Jim Sutherlin (Roseville, Ca. United States) - See all my reviews
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I enjoyed this story. But there were some holes in the plot, some points that were never concluded. The story flowed well and kept me reading. I wanted to know what was happening next, but it all sort of ended with a slap. Suddenly, it was over. I don't think I'd recommend it to a friend.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome read, February 23, 2013
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This review is from: The Sisters Montclair (Kindle Edition)
FINISHED THIS IN ONE DAY..loved it. Super chick read. ENJOY!
Southern insight is interesting, views of changing roles for women over several decades rings true.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!, February 22, 2013
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This review is from: The Sisters Montclair (Kindle Edition)
Wow. What a story. I was fascinated by the past and present story lines, and loved how easily the author transitioned between each.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enter the World of Montclair, February 22, 2013
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This review is from: The Sisters Montclair (Kindle Edition)
I really loved this book, and the way the author, Cathy Holton,
wove the past and the present. I couldn't wait to hear both main
characters' stories and loved the way Alice and Stella related
to one another. Well done!
Bonnie Drury, author of The Ata Bita Pie Cafe
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Page Turner, February 18, 2013
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This review is from: The Sisters Montclair (Kindle Edition)
Loved this book. This is one of those books that draws you in and makes it difficult to put down. A nice mix of hardship, romance, mystery.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Buried secrets, February 16, 2013
I won a copy of this book in July 2012. I started reading it then, but life happens, and things just got in the way. I saw where this book was being offered up for the Kindle "free" for a couple of days, and knew it was calling me back.
I picked up the book and started reading again. I was drawn back in, as if I just layed the book down yesterday.
You are drawn in as if you are a silent character. You can smell the smells, see the places, and at times, even feel the tention in the room. You are part of the book. You watch and listen as Alice confesses love and feelings of guilt. You travel with Stella to confront her mother, only to see her retreat back into the child she was.
You can tell you have read a good book, when it leaves you with thoughts, questions, and ideas, long after you close the last page. This book has done that.
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The Sisters Montclair
The Sisters Montclair by Cathy Holton
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