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The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters    by Elisabeth Robinson order for
True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters
by Elisabeth Robinson
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2004 (2004)
Hardcover, Audio
* *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Olivia Hunt wanted nothing more from life than to get out of small town Shawnee Falls, Ohio, and make a name for herself as a Hollywood producer. Her younger sister, Madeline, has been content sticking closer to home, getting married, finding a decent job, and living a quiet life. Now, Olivia's world has just come crashing down around her. Fired from her job, she is working on the fourth draft of her suicide note when she receives devastating news - Maddie has leukemia.

Olivia returns to her childhood home to lend a helping hand while Maddie goes through chemotherapy. She attempts to balance her support for her sister and the rest of her family with a resurrection of her career through independent film-making. Just at the time that Olivia's movie begins to take off, Maddie's health takes a terrifying turn and Olivia is torn between priorities. Throwing her former boyfriend Michael into the mix only complicates matters; though their relationship ended six months before, they seem to still be in love with each other. How on earth will Olivia deal with everything life is throwing at her?

Written entirely in the form of letters and e-mail messages from Olivia, The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters is an honest look at life, love, and the power of family. At first, it's a bit disconcerting to only get Olivia's side of the story. I kept expecting there to be a letter or message from someone else. But once I got into the rhythm of it, I grew to appreciate Olivia's wit and perspective. She is an authentic character who says everything she is feeling at any given time. As one can imagine, this often backfires and she has to backpedal. Yet she is as forthright with her apologies as she is with pushing toward her goals.

Olivia's unabashed love for her parents and sister shine through, even though her selfishness overshadows it at times. As a reader, I found her learning curve through all of her trials and tribulations to be an educational experience from all angles. However, the recounting of minute details about trying to get a movie made and its production does get tedious. The author, a producer and screenwriter, clearly knows what she is writing about, but those who are not insiders may get bored with the excesses that are part of movie production.

The story of Olivia and Michael's relationship, and her obvious love and fierce care for Maddie make this book shine. It is obvious from the beginning that The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters is a four-hanky novel, and readers who love a good tear-jerker will not be disappointed. The book will also make you laugh, and everyone can identify with something in Olivia's life, and learn more about themselves in the process.

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