2017 Reviews · Beauty and Lace review · contemporary fiction · romance · women's fiction

Beauty & Lace Book Review: Secrets of the Tulip Sisters

Title: Secrets of the Tulip Sisterstulip sisters small

Author:  Susan Mallery

Published: July 10th 2017

Publisher: Harlequin Books Australia

Pages: 336

Genres:  Fiction, Contemporary, Romance

RRP: $22.49

Rating: 3.5 stars

A wonderful story full of romance, forgiveness and the unavoidable ties that bind, SECRETS OF THE TULIP SISTERS is Susan Mallery at her very best.

Kelly Murphy’s life as a tulip farmer is pretty routine—up at dawn, off to work, lather, rinse, repeat. But everything changes one sun-washed summer with two dramatic homecomings: Griffith Burnett—Tulpen Crossing’s prodigal son, who’s set his sights on Kelly—and Olivia, her beautiful, wayward and, as far as Kelly is concerned, unwelcome sister. Tempted by Griffith, annoyed by Olivia, Kelly is overwhelmed by the secrets that were so easy to keep when she was alone.

But Olivia’s return isn’t as triumphant as she pretends. Her job has no future, and ever since her dad sent her away from the bad boy she loved, she has felt cut off from her past. She’s determined to reclaim her man and her place in the family…whether her sister likes it or not. For ten years, she and Kelly have been strangers. Olivia will get by without her approval now.

While Kelly and Olivia butt heads, their secrets tumble out in a big hot mess, revealing some truths that will change everything they thought they knew. Can they forgive each other—and themselves—and redefine what it means to be sisters?

Told with Mallery’s trademark heart and humor, the Tulip Sisters are in for the most colorful summer of their lives… 

My review:

It has taken the 2017 release of bestselling romance author Susan Mallery’s stand alone novel, Secrets of the Tulip Sisters, for this reader to become acquainted with Mallery’s work. Known for her heart-warming women’s fiction novels focussed on the business of love and relationships, Secrets of the Tulip Sisters is a charming novel, incorporating Mallery’s distinctive style.

Secrets, relationships, friendships and love are at the core of Susan Mallery’s latest. It is the story of two sisters, Kelly and Olivia, who have been estranged for almost a decade. The separation of their parents saw Kelly remain with her father, working on the family tulip farm, while Olivia, the younger of the two sisters, went to boarding school. Kelly thrives on routine and order, so when the wayward Olivia arrives unexpectedly on her doorstep, she finds her life completely out of balance. Olivia has come home to the small town of Tulpen Crossing, Washington, to reconnect with her family and rekindle an old love. The two sisters find they are now complete strangers and work on rebuilding their strained relationship. This is made harder by the complications the two face in their love lives, the secrets that surface in these conditions and the meddling of family and friends.

More than the pulling power of the author of Secrets of the Tulip Sisters, who is a bestselling New York Times novelist, the title of the book propelled me towards this novel. I absolutely adore tulips and any opportunity to grab hold of a story that incorporates my favourite flower into a storyline is highly welcomed. On the whole, I have to say I enjoyed the lightness of this wholesome tale.

The secrets that are aired and the repair of the fractured relationship between sisters Kelly and Olivia is what essentially drives this novel to its final destination. Kelly and Olivia’s relationship is a complex one, that goes through a complete overhaul during the progression of the story. Initially, we see how distant the sisters have become, due to the family circumstances that pulled them apart. We witness how time and opportunities to bond, works to help the two sisters make it over the difficult bridge to reconciliation. It is a heart-warming process to observe the new-found relationship that blooms between the sisters.

The narrative of Secrets of the Tulip Sisters unfurls in such a way that it is easy to delve into the hearts and minds of the main characters. I found myself establishing an early liking to Kelly and I seemed to enjoy her journey the most. I admired Kelly’s sense of routine, passion, work ethic and loyalty. Kelly also had a vulnerable side that I enjoyed unpacking. Olivia on the other hand was not a character I immediately warmed to, it was more a gradual process of connection with Olivia. The path Olivia takes to get to know aspects of herself, her family and what she wants in life romantically was interesting to observe. The two sisters are also supported by the strong presence of Kelly’s best friend Helen, who is a pleasurable character on the whole. Helen plays a significant role in the story, offering moments of romance, friendship and secrets to the novel as a whole. It is also important to mention the men who have an integral place in the overall interactions in this novel. With the character of Ryan excepted, Griffith, Sven and Jeff are all charming in their own ways.

Mallery does do a solid job of recreating small town life in the US for the reader to follow. Tulpen Crossing is wonderfully realised. I got a great sense of the unconditional support of one another and the small town gossip ring that exists in communities such as Tulpen Crossing. I loved the use of a tulip farm at the heart of this novel, all I can say is I wanted more on this aspect, as I found it completely fascinating. I loved Kelly’s career as a tulip farmer. What a great profession to cast a female lead character in.

If you are expecting romance, which is always high on Mallery’s agenda, then you will be more than pleased with Secrets of the Tulip Sisters. This book kindly offers the reader a three in one romance style novel, as Kelly, Olivia and friend Helen all embark on their own pathways to love. Within the narrative, Mallery shows us how love can take many forms and offers up some diverse romantic interludes. The romance in this novel is mostly sweet, but there were some rather hot and heavy scenes in Secrets of the Tulip Sisters that took me a little aback! The ending was a happy one, even a little clichéd at best!

A feel good story focussed on the bonds of family, the complications of love, intermingled secrets and the road to forgiveness is at the soul of this solid women’s fiction title. Secrets of the Tulip Sisters is a one that I would expect would easily hold wide appeal, due to the balanced romantic narrative and inviting story elements.

Secrets of the Tulip Sisters by Susan Mallery was published in July 2017 by Harlequin Books Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of Secrets of the Tulip Sisters, Susan Mallery, visit here.

*Please note that a free copy of this book was provided to me for review purposes through Beauty and Lace. To read the original review on the Beauty and Lace website please visit here.


One thought on “Beauty & Lace Book Review: Secrets of the Tulip Sisters

  1. Wonderful review, Amanda! I’m sure I’ve spotted Susan Mallery on the tables at my local book fair many times but because she has A LOT of different series going could be the reason there are none lying around the house, I’ll pick up one of hers one day when I’ve itemised her stand alone books.


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