My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Friday, July 7, 2017

ARC Review: The Sisters Of Alameda Street by Lorena Hughes

Please Note:  I received an advance reader's copy of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence The opinions of my review in any way.

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
When Malena Sevilla's tidy, carefully planned world collapses following her father’s mysterious suicide, she finds a letter—signed with an “A”—which reveals that her mother is very much alive and living in San Isidro, a quaint town tucked in the Andes Mountains. Intent on meeting her, Malena arrives at Alameda Street and meets four sisters who couldn’t be more different from one another, but who share one thing in common: all of their names begin with an A.

To avoid a scandal, Malena assumes another woman’s identity and enters their home to discover the truth. Could her mother be Amanda, the iconoclastic widow who opens the first tango nightclub in a conservative town? Ana, the ideal housewife with a less-than-ideal past? Abigail, the sickly sister in love with a forbidden man? Or Alejandra, the artistic introvert scarred by her cousin’s murder? But living a lie will bring Malena additional problems, such as falling for the wrong man and loving a family she may lose when they learn of her deceit. Worse, her arrival threatens to expose long-buried secrets and a truth that may wreck her life forever.

Set in 1960s Ecuador, The Sisters of Alameda Street is a sweeping story of how one woman’s search for the truth of her identity forces a family to confront their own past.

My grandmother came from Mexico to America as a child.  While she spoke fluent English, one of her favorite pastimes was watching telenovenas (Spanish language soap operas).  We weren't allowed to call Grandma or disturb her in any way when her favorite show was on. She was addicted!  The Sisters Of Alameda, by Lorena Hughes shows why!  This was a highly entertaining book of the improbably complex love lives of four sisters.  With a cast of fascinating women, I was hooked as well.

What I Liked:
The main character, Malena, is determined to solve the mystery of who her mother is.  She knows that her mother's first name starts with an "A", and that she is a member of the Platas family.  The only problem is that there are four daughters, all with names that start with "A"!  I thought Malena was kind of reckless, but she also had been lied to by everyone she loved, so I think she felt like she had nothing to lose.

There are four sisters, Ana, Amanda, Alejandra, and Abigal.  And, just like a soap opera, each character has their own tragic love life!  While each has their own story, I think what they had in common was a desire for a great love.  When each realizes they are with the wrong person, they try to change their situations.
Each of the women in the story feel the need to conform to the norms of their times, which would mean finding a nice man, getting married, and having lots of babies.  Some of them jump into relationships where they think they are going to be taken care of, only to find a reality where they are stuck.  There are many twists and turns in this story, with lots of flashbacks to when the sisters were younger.  I think the author did a great job of taking many different stories and molding them into a intriguing family saga.
What I Was Mixed About:

Missed Opportunity:
I wish the author would have done more to explore why the sisters felt so obligated to follow a traditional path.  Was it a strong sense of Catholic guilt, or was it due to living in a small town filled with narrow-minded people?  I think I would have been more emotionally invested if I understood why the women felt so stuck.
Confusing Plot:
There are at least five different plot lines happening in this book.  As much as I get that it was important to have all the sisters names start with "A", it was hard to keep each character straight (particularly at the beginning of the book).  A family tree, or some other kind of visual, would have been great for a reference.

What I Didn't Like:
I think the idea that Malena could dupe an entire family into thinking that she was someone else (for weeks) was over the top.  This is one of those times where I really struggled with the "suspension of disbelief" that one must employ when reading a book.

Nevertheless, I found the resilience of the characters to be endearing.  I thought this showed the chaos, and abundant love of a large family all living together.  If you like family sagas, this story will carry you away.






Release Date:  July 4th, 2017

Genre:  Historical Fiction

Source:  Edelweiss

Format:  ARC E-Book

Recommendation: A family drama filled with tragic love lives, and memorable female characters.  This would be a solid, escapist reading experience.
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1 comment :

  1. Great review, this sounds like a book I would be interested in. My grandmother and Aunt used to watch telenovenas, then my Aunt would translate for me. They were addicting :)


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2019 Reading Challenge
MsArdychan has read 10 books toward her goal of 120 books.


80% 80% 100 Book Reviews 2016 NetGalley Challenge
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