Kim Wright's The Canterbury Sisters caught my eye for several reasons. It was compared to authors that I like, such as Jojo Moyes and Cheryl Strayed. It's a story of a woman's journey and it's set in England. I couldn't resist. Thank you to Gallery Books for providing me with an advanced copy of Wright's novel, in exchange for an honest review.
PLOT - Wine Reviewer, Che Milan has just lost her mother to cancer. To add insult to injury, she receives a "Dear John" letter from her boyfriend on the same day that her mother passes. Che is bereft and she spontaneously decides to book a trip to England in order to fulfill her mother's last wish. Her mother wanted to make the sixty-odd mile pilgrimage from London to Canterbury. Che hauls her mother's ashes to England and joins a tour group comprised of seven other American woman aptly named Broads Abroad. As they make the journey, this disparate group of women each take a turn telling a story and Che scatters her mother along the road.
LIKE - I immediately fell in love with Wright's phrasing, so much so that I often paused to reread passages. She writes in a way that is straight-forward, honest and insightful. She also manages to find humor in inappropriate moments. Having gone through loss and grieving quite a bit recently, I could relate to the humor and cutting remarks. Che's loss felt uncomfortably familiar. I felt like I was nodding my head in agreement through much of the story.
I liked the symmetry of having the women each tell their own tales and having that echo both Chaucer and the overall idea of this pilgrimage. I had no idea that modern people made this trek, so the idea of the walk was fascinating to me. All of the women had interesting stories and there was quite a bit of surprise with where the stories headed. There were many moments in the story, where Wright managed to catch me off guard. I like the element of surprise.
DISLIKE - Nothing. I found The Canterbury Sisters to be a highly enjoyable and affecting read. I polished it off in a single afternoon, because I just needed to know what was going to happen next. Wright's story grabbed my attention and refused to let go.
RECOMMEND - Yes! The Canterbury Sisters is a wonderful story by a talented writer. I hate labels, but I do have to say that this seems to be fairly classic "Women's Fiction". I say this, because I can't imagine many men that I know choosing to read or enjoying this book. It's very women-centric and to that end, I think that many of my female friends would very much enjoy it. I now want to go visit Canterbury on my next trip to England. Wright's descriptions make it sound gorgeous and ethereal.