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The Mill River Redemption    by Darcie Chan order for
Mill River Redemption
by Darcie Chan
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Darcie Chan's The Mill River Redemption continues from events in The Mill River Recluce to tell another sentimental story of this endearing community. The large question mark that pulls reader interest through this particular tale concerns two sisters - the elder, high spirited Rose and her quiet younger sister Emily - and the event that tore them apart.

As in her previous novel, Darcie Chan takes readers back and forth in time. First we meet young mother Josie DiSanti and her small daughters Rose and Emily in 1983, fleeing a rather mysterious tragedy, in which her beloved husband died and their house burned to the ground. Josie took refuge with her aunt Ivy, owner of the Bookstop in Mill River. There, she made a new life for herself as a successful realtor.

Fast forward to Josie's wake in 2013, where we meet old friends - Father Michael O'Brien, simple-minded, big-hearted Daisy Delaine, and police chief Joe Fitzgerald and his wife Ruth. Rose and Emily are there too, but keep apart. Then Josie's will is read - to inherit her substantial savings, her two daughters must move back to two houses side by side in Mill River and work together to find clues in both homes to their inheritance.

With no ties in California, Emily complies. Rose acts like a spoiled brat, but reluctantly moves back with her son Alex - her husband has lost his job in New York and continues job hunting there. There are regular conflicts, but Emily gets to know and love her nephew, while Rose continues to struggle with guilt and with the drinking problem she has inherited from her grandmother.

Old friends from The Mill River Recluce move through the plot, in particular schoolteacher Claudia Simon, who becomes jealous of Emily even though she likes her. Details of past tragedies are revealed as a present one is narrowly averted. Though Rose's character didn't feel quite real, this is another sweet story that holds reader interest.

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