In The Sweetest Thing by Lilian Darcy, Tully left Marietta abruptly on prom night 18 years ago. She has rarely returned and now lives and works in California. Now Tully is back in Marietta to help her 'mother' take care of her sick 'sister' Sugar. After a hard life, Sugar is now clean. But she's also terminally ill.
There has been nothing easy about any kind of relationship with Sugar for Tully or her mother. Then or now. There was no love lost in the past between Tully and Sugar, and this path that Tully is now on, the struggle to forgive, to care, is not an easy one.
Tully surprises herself though, and finds herself actually coming to care and feel like she might forgive a lifetime of hurt. This really defines where Tully is in her life, her maturity and her character. Prior to this time of her life, Tully probably would not have been able to do this. Sugar is coming to terms with her life and how she's lived it, but she is still keeping secrets - secrets that can hurt and could possibly create a wider gap than ever with her family.
In the midst of this pivotal part of Tully's life, she comes face to face with Ren, not only Sugar's lawyer, but a man from her past too. Ren has his own complications in life, but he and Tully gradually form a bond that has a lot of chemistry to it also...but for Tully it's temporary and can only be temporary. What about Ren? Is now the time for them or is the timing just not right?
Wow, Lilian gives us a story packed with all kinds of emotions! There is a lot of depth to The Sweetest Thing. The budding romance of Ren and Tully takes a backseat, but is just as important, to an intense, very well written story about 3 generations of women.
Tully and Sugar are both strong characters who have a powerful voice and influence throughout The Sweetest Thing. Sugar has her regrets, and I like how Lilian gives us bits and pieces of Sugar's past throughout The Sweetest Thing as they become relevant to the story. Sugar has come a long way over the years, and it is impossible not to feel for who she is now and how things are turning out for her. In the end though, Sugar might have the best advice.
Tully is strong, brave, and mature. Her situation is difficult and not one that most of us can relate to, but Lilian does a great job of pulling you in so that you can relate to the emotions. You'll care and you'll feel. Tully has done well for herself. She hasn't let her past drag her down, but until now she hasn't dealt with it either.
With great descriptivism that give us characters that are easy to get to know, Lilian writes a story that you will easily find yourself immersed in as you watch the growth of the characters and realize that timing is what you make it. I loved seeing flashes of characters from other stories from Montana Born Books, but this is easily a stand alone book. Of course I was left with a craving for chocolate though!
I would highly recommend The Sweetest Thing to any women's fiction reader looking for a story that will bring the characters to life with a nice mix of romance in the plot.
5/5 stars :)