Book Review: The Sister Effect by Susan Mallery

Posted March 9, 2023 by WendyW in Book Review, bookblogger, Uncategorized / 42 Comments

The Sister Effect
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

by Susan Mallery
Publication Date March 7, 2023
Published by Harlequin
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Genres: Fiction / Family Life / Siblings, Fiction / Friendship, Fiction / Romance / Contemporary, Fiction / Women
Pages: 384
Format: ARC

***I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.***

"Mallery beautifully illustrates the power of female friendship and the importance of reaching for one's dreams."—Publishers Weekly

Beloved bestselling author Susan Mallery brings readers an emotional, witty, and heartfelt story that explores the nuances of a broken family’s complex emotions as they strive to become whole in this uplifting story of human frailty and resilience.

Finley McGowan is determined that the niece she’s raising will always feel loved and wanted. Unlike how she felt after her mom left to pursue a dream of stardom, and when the grandfather who was left to raise them abandoned her and her sister, Sloane, when they needed him most. Finley reacted to her chaotic childhood by walking the straight and narrow—nose down, work hard, follow the rules.

Sloane went the other way.

Now Sloane is back, as beautiful and as damaged as ever…and she wants a relationship with her daughter. She says she’s changed, but Finley’s heart has been burned once too often for her to trust easily. But is her reluctance to forgive really about Sloane or worry over losing what she loves the most? With the help of a man who knows all too well how messy families can be, Finley will learn there’s joy in surrendering and peace in letting go.

The Sister Effect by Susan Mallery is an emotional family drama and romance that is intense as it focuses on forgiveness, addiction, and redemption.  

Story Recap:

Finley McGowan is raising her eight-year-old niece, Aubrey,  and she is determined to keep her safe and raise her in a supportive and stable home.  Unlike the way she and her sister, Sloane was raised.  Their mother was in and out of their lives, and their grandfather,  took over until he left them for good and never contacted them again.  

Meanwhile, Finley gets closer to Jericho, a local builder.  He has family issues of his own.  Jericho is recently divorced after his brother admitted to having an affair with his wife, Lauren.  Now Jericho’s mother wants him to forgive and forget.  

Sloane is about to reach her one-year sober mark, and she’s ready to see more of Aubrey.  But Finlay doesn’t believe Sloane has changed enough to raise her daughter on her own.  Or is Finlay just unable to forgive Sloane?

My Thoughts: 

The main theme of this book is forgiveness.  Specifically forgiving family for unforgivable transgressions.  And what does forgiveness look like?  

I loved the different stories that are combined in this book.  These characters are very well-developed and I enjoyed their interactions.  Finlay lost everything due to her sister’s illness, and she took in her niece without a second thought.  I thought Finlay was difficult to like at first, but as the story progressed, I realized why she is the way she is, and she grew on me and I loved her story by the end of the book.  

Sloane was my favorite character.  She is very flawed, but I thought her story was the most emotional and I felt for her and her struggles.  

Families are messy, and this family is very messy!  But, I loved their story and their journey to redemption and acceptance.  


I highly recommend The Sister Effect to anyone who enjoys Women’s fiction.  I received a complimentary copy of this book.  The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

About Susan Mallery

SUSAN MALLERY is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of novels about the relationships that define women's lives—family, friendship, romance. Library Journal says, “Mallery is the master of blending emotionally believable characters in realistic situations," and readers seem to agree—40 million copies of her books have sold worldwide. Her warm, humorous stories make the world a happier place to live.

Susan grew up in California and now lives in Seattle with her husband. She's passionate about animal welfare, especially that of the two ragdoll cats and adorable poodle who think of her as mom.

UK Cover:

The US and UK covers are not much different besides the colors. I like both of them.

Have you read The Sister Effect? Which cover do you like best?

42 responses to “Book Review: The Sister Effect by Susan Mallery

  1. Sounds super messy and dysfunctional family drama. I can’t imagine how Jericho’s mother can expect him to forgive and forget everything! Things like these in books make me wonder why people torture themselves with such families. Amazing review!

  2. Excellent review, Wendy. Yes, very messy family, but I loved them. It’s funny, we were both drawn to Sloane for her flaws and hard work to be better and got frustrated with Finley. This was a great book.

  3. What a fab review! I love bright colors, so the US cover appeals to me…but I wish it used the UK font! Lol

  4. I’ll have to try this one. I like books involving family dynamics and have had fairly good luck with Mallery’s books. I’m glad to see how much you enjoyed it!

  5. I think this would be an interesting read for me. I’m very bad at forgiveness, especially when it comes to my very messy family. Excellent review!

  6. Janette

    This sounds like a great read. I definitely prefer the UK cover as I love the beach scene.