Date: August 2016
Source: Own book
Toni Kozlovsky can’t explain how she knows exactly what her sisters are feeling—only that the connection seems to happen out of the blue, just when they need it most. Since Toni, Valerie, and Ellie were little girls growing up in Communist Russia, their parents have insisted it’s simply further proof that the Kozlovskys are special and different.
Now a crime and justice reporter, Toni lives on a yellow tugboat on Oregon’s Willamette River. As far as her parents are concerned, the pain of their old life and their dangerous escape should remain buried in the Moscow they left behind, as should the mysterious past of their adopted brother, Dmitry. But lately, Toni’s talent for putting on a smile isn’t enough to keep memories at bay.
Valerie, a prosecuting attorney, wages constant war against the wrongs she could do nothing about as a child. Youngest sister Ellie is engaged to marry an Italian, breaking her mother’s heart in the process. Toni fears she’s about to lose her home, while the hard edged DEA agent down the dock keeps trying to break through her reserve. Meanwhile, beneath the culture clashes and endearing quirks within her huge, noisy, loving family are deeper secrets that Toni has sworn to keep—even from the one person she longs to help most.
I really don't know where to begin talking about this book. Cathy Lamb is an author whose work I have come to enjoy in the last couple of years - thanks to an Australian blogger at Book'd Out. Lamb's books just so satisfy my reading heart.
Toni is the narrator, one of three sisters who have a very special bond. They began their lives in Russia in the 80's where it was dangerous for them. They were under the eye of the KGB and their large extended family were quietly escaping to the USA. While the story begins in America, every so often we go back to that time in Russia until every little horrific detail of that time is revealed. One of the mysteries that Toni holds a little part - how did their brother arrive to them one bloody night?
Toni is at a low point in her life and it takes awhile to find out all the details. She lives on a converted tugboat ( and I want one) at a dock. Surrounding her are a wonderful group of people who are a little community that really watches out for each other. Daisy - an old woman just sinking into dementia is a treat. And of course then there is the DEA agent Nick who just adores Toni.
Valerie - Toni's sister is a prosecutor and is dealing with a particularly bad case - one that threatens her. Ellie is engaged to be married but has to keep breathing into a paper bag to deal with all the stress and differing opinions with her fiance. These girls and their brother are part of a large extended family. Their parents are such fun, despite all that they went through in Russia, they love each other, run a very successful restaurant. Uncles, aunts, cousins abound. They are all such a hoot.
This book kept me reading, I wanted to find out all of Toni's story, I wanted to know what the secret was that they were keeping from Dmitry. I chuckled so many times. There were moments of sadness. The love in this family just won me over. Even if they were in your face nosy and interfering at times!