Estranged sisters Rose and Emily are called back to their small Vermont hometown of Mill River for their Mother's wake. They first moved to Mill River in 1983 when their father was tragically killed in a house fire. For Rose, growing up in Mill River was nearly torture and she felt suffocated by the small town atmosphere. Their mother was always working so she was given freedom to sneak around and be a little hellion. Emily didn't hate Mill River as much as Rose, but she hated always covering for her older sister and never seeing their mother. The older they got the more they drifted apart and it was a tragedy of epic proportions that drove a permanent wedge between the sisters. Now the terms of their mother's will state that the sister's must live in Mill River for two months and complete a bit of a treasure hunt in order to collect their inheritance. Emily is willing to comply because it was her mother's wishes. Rose must comply because her husband lost his job and they desperately need the inheritance to maintain their lavish lifestyle. As the two sisters settle back in to Mill River it is clear that the rift between them is deep, but will they be able to put the pain behind them to honor their mother's final wish?
While The Mill River Redemption was a really engrossing read, I am still not sure I really liked it. From the very beginning it was clear that Rose was, frankly, a bitch. She almost seemed like a caricature of a bad soap opera character. As much as I disliked her, I liked Emily. Much more even keeled and likable. Then there is little Alex, Rose's young son. He is the complete opposite of his mother and I was thrilled to see the relationship building between him and his Aunt Emily. I also loved their Aunt Ivy and the little bookshop across the street, really, the whole setting of Mill River is quaint and charming and really my favorite thing about the book. The story is told in both the past and present, so you can see the personalities of the sisters developing into who they are today, all leading up to the tragic event that changed them both forever. After the "tragic event" is revealed another terrifying event happens that kind of forces everything to wrap up nicely and I think that is where my biggest issue lies. It was just so bizarre the way things wrapped up. Among other reveals, Rose seems to receive a personality transplant and it just didn't seem to sit right with me.
Bottom line, my favorite thing about The Mill River Redemption was Mill River. The story itself left me with mixed emotions. If you have read this book I would love to hear your thoughts.