The Last Chance Matinee Review
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Sibling relationships can be tricky. Over time, they build up an arsenal of inside jokes, fond memories, and grudges, too. But in The Last Chance Matinee, the first book in author Mariah Stewart’s Hudson Sisters series, three long-lost sisters are forced to make up for lost time while working together on an unexpected family project.

The story follows three women as they set out to fulfill their father’s final request. When Allie, Des, and Cara arrive for the reading of their father’s will, they’re given the surprise of their lives: each other. Allie and Des were the daughters of Fritz Hudson’s first wife, Hollywood starlet Nora, while Cara was the daughter of free-spirited Susa—and neither family knew of the other’s existence. Now, in order to earn their inheritance, they’re sent to Fritz’s hometown in Pennsylvania to restore the family’s classic theater. And as they get to know each other, they also try to learn more about the father they thought they knew.

  
 
This first installment in the Hudson sisters’ story sets up a number of different storylines. Each of these three sisters has a distinct personality and her own personal issues, conflicts, and relationship challenges. And as they’re forced to move into their father’s family home with the aunt they never knew existed, they face one new mystery—and one new opportunity—after another.

The characters here are generally likable—from sweet and handsome project manager Joe to the women’s spunky aunt, Barney, the first woman to run the town’s bank. While oldest sister Allie is the least likable of the bunch—a bitter alcoholic who complains about almost everything—even she has her redeeming qualities. And it’s clear that she’ll eventually get her time in the spotlight.

Still, while this first book in the series sets up some interesting storylines, it doesn’t give readers much closure—if any—when they turn the final page. Many series break up the story into logical segments—and as each one continues the overall story, it also has a story of its own. That’s not really the case here; instead, it feels more like a lengthy introduction than a standalone novel. It does focus some of its attention on Cara, her cheating ex, and her budding relationship with the project’s manager, but the conflict is minimal, and what resolution there is feels rather insignificant. And that lack of closure will be maddening for readers who prefer a more clear-cut conclusion.

The Last Chance Matinee is a charming start to a new series. The eventual outcome may seem pretty clear, but it promises a journey filled with romance and family drama and topped off with valuable lessons. Be warned, though, that the abrupt ending may leave most readers feeling frustrated—so you might want to wait to start the series until more of the books are available.


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