The Four Seasons [NOOK Book]

Overview


They are the Season sisters, bound by blood, driven apart by a tragedy. Now they are about to embark on a bittersweet journey into the unknown—an odyssey of promise and forgiveness, of loss and rediscovery.

Jillian, Beatrice and Rose have gathered for the funeral of their younger sister, Meredith. Her death, and the legacy she leaves them, will trigger a cross-country journey in search of a stranger with the power to mend their shattered lives. As the emotions of the past ...

See more details below
The Four Seasons

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook - Original)
$8.99
BN.com price
(Save 10%)$9.99 List Price

Overview


They are the Season sisters, bound by blood, driven apart by a tragedy. Now they are about to embark on a bittersweet journey into the unknown—an odyssey of promise and forgiveness, of loss and rediscovery.

Jillian, Beatrice and Rose have gathered for the funeral of their younger sister, Meredith. Her death, and the legacy she leaves them, will trigger a cross-country journey in search of a stranger with the power to mend their shattered lives. As the emotions of the past reverberate into the present, Jillian, Beatrice and Rose search for the girls they once were, in hopes of finding what they really lost: the women they were meant to be.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Belles and Beaux
What a great story! The characters-four sisters-Jillian, Rose, Beatrice and Meredith are a study in relationships between sisters, If you have ever had a close sister relationship or one with another woman, you will find this a fascinating study... The Four Seasons is definitely recommended as a good read, It presents a way to learn a lot. about women and how perceptions differ depending on who you are and where you are in life, Enjoy!
Publishers Weekly
Monroe (The Book Club) writes with a crisp precision and narrative energy that will keep them turning the pages. Her talent for infusing her characters with warmth and vitality and her ability to spin a tale with emotional depth will earn her a broad spectrum of readers, particularly fans of Barbara Delinsky and Nora Roberte.
Jill M. Smith
Moving, touching and beautifully drawn, the characters in this wonderful novel are compelling and true. Ms. Monroe’s skills as a teller of women’s fiction are becoming quite exceptional.
Romantic Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A familiar formula receives skillful handling in this heartfelt family drama involving three sisters--feisty European model Jilly, authoritative pediatrician Birdie and reclusive Rose Season. Following a lengthy separation, the three gather at their family home in Milwaukee for the funeral of their youngest sister, Merry, who was brain-damaged years earlier in an accident that continues to haunt the sisters. Merry's last request, that they find the baby daughter Jilly was forced to surrender as a teenager, sets the three remaining Seasons on a cross-country journey that will ultimately offer them a chance at personal redemption and self-discovery. Smoothly integrated flashbacks help illuminate long-held family secrets and allow the women to reclaim their childhood affection for each other. Although some of the old mysteries won't be much of a surprise to readers, Monroe (The Book Club) writes with a crisp precision and narrative energy that will keep them turning the pages. Her talent for infusing her characters with warmth and vitality and her ability to spin a tale with emotional depth will earn her a broad spectrum of readers, particularly fans of Barbara Delinsky and Nora Roberts. (Feb.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781459248328
  • Publisher: MIRA
  • Publication date: 8/15/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 50,103
  • File size: 823 KB

Meet the Author

Mary Alice Monroe

Mary Alice Monroe is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of thirteen novels. Her books received numerous awards, including the Award for Writing from the South Carolina Center for the Book and the International Fiction Award for Green Fiction. An active conservationist, she lives in the lowcountry of South Carolina where she is at work on her next novel. Visit her at maryalicemonroe.com and on Facebook.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt




Rose Season stood at the threshold of her sister's bedroom and silently watched the shadows of an oncoming storm stretch like plum-colored talons across the empty bed. A great gust of icy wind from Lake Michigan howled at the windows.

"Merry," she whispered with longing. Rose resisted the urge to open the window and call out to her in the vast darkness. Merry's presence was palpable tonight. Rose had read somewhere that the spirit lingered for three days after death. Merry had been dead for four. Did she tarry to be sure her last request was honored?

Her last request. Why had she agreed to it? Rose asked herself, wringing her hands. The request was crazy, intrusive, maybe even hurtful. No one would ever go along with it. What would her sisters do when they read Merry's letter? Especially Jilly She'd never spoken of that time, not once in over twenty-five years. It was as though it had never happened. She'll be furious, Rose worried. But secrets in families always had a way of coming out in the end, didn't they?

The hall clock chimed the hour. Rose tilted her head, thinking to herself that she should be calling Merry for dinner now, telling her to wash up. A pang of loneliness howled through her like the wind outside. She wandered into Merry's lavender room, idly running her fingers along the girlish white dresser, the dainty vanity table and the silver-plated brush, comb and mirror set. Strawberry-blond hairs still clung to the bristles. Across the room, she bent to pick up the ratty red-haired baby doll lying in the center of the pristine four-poster bed. How Merry had loved the baby doll. Spring, she'd called it, and never once in twenty-six years slept without it. Rose brought the doll to her cheek, catching Merry's scent still lingering in the fabric. Then, with a loving pat, she placed the doll back on the bed, careful to prop it against the pillow. Rose's hands felt uncomfortably idle. She smoothed the wrinkles from the comforter with agitated strokes, then moved to the bedside stand to straighten the lace doily, adjust the pleated lampshade and line up the many small bottles of prescription drugs that she was so familiar with. She couldn't part with anything of Merry's yet, not even these medicines.

Without Merry to take care of, she felt so useless and detached in the old house, like the shell of a cicada clinging worthlessly to the bark. She needed work to keep her going, some focus to draw her attention from her mourning. With a discipline that was the backbone of her nature, Rose walked swiftly from the gloomy bedroom to the wide, curving staircase of the old Victorian that had been her home since she was born.

The walls along the stairs were covered with dozens of photographs of the Season sisters at various moments of glory and achievement in their lives. For comfort, she glanced at the familiar photographs, treasuring the faces captured in them: Jilly, Birdie, Rose and Merry. The Four Seasons, their father had called them. The largest numbers of photographs were of Jilly and Birdie, the eldest two. There were fewer pictures of Rose, and hardly any of Merry, the baby. She longed for her sisters; it had been nearly ten years since they had all been together. How sad that it took a funeral to bring them together again.

Who would arrive home first? she wondered. Birdie was extremely busy with her medical practice in Wisconsin, but Jilly had the farthest to come—all the way from France.

Rose paused at a framed 1978 Paris Vogue magazine cover that showcased a young Jillian at twenty-one years of age, looking sex-kittenish in a fabulous pink gown that clashed in a chic way with her vibrant red hair. It was her first cover. Rose studied her eldest sister's full red lips pursed in an innocent pout, her deep-set eyes of emerald-green and the come-hither pose exposing one long, shimmering leg that seemed to go on forever. She couldn't imagine herself ever standing in front of so many people, in the glare of the lights, while men snapped her photograph. For that matter, Rose couldn't imagine ever looking so seductive or desirable.

Jilly was born at 12:01 a.m. on November 1, 1955. All Souls' Day. Mother always told of how she'd squeezed herself shut because she didn't want a child of hers born on Halloween. Who knew what nickname father would have chosen then? Their father, William, claimed it was a family tradition to play with their unusual last name. After all, he was nicknamed Bill Season. But their mother, Ann, a petite beauty with a will of iron, swore no child of hers was going to be tagged for life with a name people laughed at. As a compromise, Ann Season gave her daughters strong, sensible names, allowing their father full rein with the nicknames. Thus for his first daughter, Jillian, born in a Chicago autumn, he thought himself clever to name her "Jilly Season."

Moving down the stairs, Rose perused the large collection of photographs of Beatrice. Jilly liked to be first, but in most things Birdie came through for the prize. "The early bird catches the worm," their father used to say with a wink of pride at his second daughter. Birdie was his favorite, everyone knew that. Jilly would tease her and say Birdie was the son he never had. She was a tall, broad-shouldered girl with a powerful intellect and an even more powerful, competitive spirit. Even the name "Birdie" seemed to mock her tomboyish body.

Bill Season had chosen the nickname because she was born in early summer and was insatiable, howling for more food like a hungry bird in the nest. And she'd certainly caught the worms, Rose thought as her gaze wandered over the photographs. The first was Birdie at sixteen, beaming into the camera, dripping wet and clutching an enormous silver trophy for the state championship swimming team. She'd been the captain, of course. And there were more photographs, of Birdie as class valedictorian, of Birdie winning trophies for swimming, lacrosse and the science fair. Birdie receiving a diploma from medical school. Birdie dazzling in white lace and tulle smiling at her handsome groom, Dennis, the biggest trophy of all.

There were fewer pictures of herself, the third child. This section of wall seemed almost barren when compared to Birdie's. Rose felt the usual flush of embarrassment that the scarcity of photographs was an accurate—if pitiful—statement about her life. It was all very well that Jilly was a famous model, on magazine covers all over Europe, and that Birdie was a successful doctor, wife and mother. But what about her own life? There was neither a photograph of her graduating from college, nor a picture of a radiant Rose on her wedding day. Her mile-marker was a high school graduation photograph that showed a thin, shy girl looking much like she did today.

Rose's hair was a paler, washed-out version of the Season red that her father playfully called "pumpkin" and her mother optimistically called "strawberry blond." She still wore it in the same long, straight style of high school and her body was every bit as lean and shapeless as it been then. "Sticks," the other children had called her. In all the pictures, her eyes were the dominant feature. Enormous hazel eyes with brows and lashes so pale they were seemingly not there. They peered out from her pale face, large and wary, like a cat's when poised to leap away.

Rose was born in the dog days of August when her mother's roses were blooming. Thus she was called Rose, the only one of the four Season girls without a nickname. Rose was a fine, plain name, her father had always said. And it suited her, she thought with a sigh of resignation.

As with most families, the baby had the fewest photographs. Which was too bad, she thought, since Merry was arguably the most beautiful of all the Season girls. Their parents had been older when they married and had had children late. Thus, their father liked to say that Merry was his last hurrah. The fourth Season. Meredith was born in December, a season ripe with nickname potential, but Bill had settled on "Merry" because she was such a cheerful baby. Rose traced a finger across a picture of a precocious, impish Merry at two years of age. The pictures stopped then.

Rose turned her head away from the photographs, closing her mind from the memory, and wandered from room to room, feeling that edginess that comes when one is aimlessly looking for something to do. Each of the twelve rooms of the Victorian was immaculate, a savory dinner was waiting in the oven and flowers were beautifully arranged in the bedrooms. She turned on the television, then as quickly flicked it off again. She picked up a book and settled into a comfortable chair, but no sooner had she read a paragraph than her mind wandered again. She closed the book in defeat and laid her head back against the chair. With a heavy sigh, she reached into her apron pocket and pulled out a pale blue envelope.

Merry's letter.

She'd carried this letter in her pocket all day wondering whether to burn it or send it to the family lawyer. The moment of decision had come; the funeral was tomorrow. Rose closed her eyes and recalled how Merry's pink tongue had worked her lip as she'd struggled with the letter, wanting it to be her best. Merry couldn't have comprehended how those brief sentences, written in her childlike script, would send thundering repercussions in her sisters' minds and hearts—as it had hers when she read them.

She looked down at the envelope in her hand and was moved to tears by the sight of the address painstakingly written in Merry's handwriting, encircled by a big heart: ToJilly, Birdie and Rose.

She would give the letter to the lawyer, Rose decided. It was the right thing to do. Merry needed her—trusted her—to deliver it. This time she would not fail her.

Beatrice Season Connor looked up into the April sky and cursed.

"Look, it's snowing!" Hannah called, stepping out from the car. Her fifteen-year-old daughter's face turned upward, and with a delighted grin, she darted her tongue out to catch the soft, moist flakes as they tumbled gracefully from the sky.

"That's just what we need. A snowstorm on top of everything else."

"It's just a few flakes." Hannah's voice was full of reproach.

"From the looks of it, we're going to get a dump. Damn snow," Birdie muttered, grabbing the bags full of last-minute shopping items from the car and hoisting them into her strong arms. "I'm sick of snow. Hasn't Milwaukee had enough for one year? It's April, for crying out loud. Well, that's it," she said with the quick decision typical of her. Slamming the door, she headed toward the house. "We're going to have to hustle and leave for Evanston earlier than we'd planned if we expect to get everything done by the funeral." She stopped at the door and turned to face her daughter. "I'm counting on you, Hannah. I'm going to need your help."

"I don't see why we have to do everything." Hannah crossed her arms over her chest.

"We do if we want it done right." Birdie privately groaned at the prospect. The notion of pushing forward her departure when her schedule was already jammed full thrummed in her temples. She was squeaking out of town as it was. Sometimes she felt like a circus performer twirling countless plates: she had had to arrange coverage for her medical practice, calm her patients, take the dog to the kennel, cancel the housecleaning service, pack… The list went on and on. On top of all that, the funeral was tomorrow and it was up to her to make certain everything ran smoothly.

"When you need something done, ask a busy woman," she murmured with a heavy sigh, though secretly she felt a superior conceit. To her mind, all it took to succeed was discipline, setting goals and lots of hard work. And she worked harder than most. She could list her achievements readily: she was a pediatrician with a thriving practice, a wife for nineteen years, the mother of a healthy daughter and the mistress of a large, well-managed home. If there was such a thing as a supermom, Birdie thought with pride, then she was it.

But today was a test of her abilities. She lifted her wrist to check her watch and her lips tightened with annoyance. God, look at the time. Where was Dennis? And Hannah? Peering outside, she saw Hannah still leaning against the rear fender, gazing at the twirling flakes of snow. Frustration brought the pounding in her head to a painful pace.

"Didn't you hear me say we were leaving early?" she called from the back door.

Hannah's smile fell but she remained motionless, resolutely staring out.

"Don't pull that passive-aggressive act on me, young lady," she called, raising her voice as she walked nearer the car. She could feel her anger growing with each step. "I've asked you to get your packing done for twenty-four hours and so far you haven't done a thing. I'm not going to do it for you."

"Who's asking you to?" Hannah swung her head around. "You'd just pack the wrong things, anyway."

"This isn't a prom we're talking about. It's my sister's funeral. My baby sister! It's hard enough for me to deal with the fact that she's gone without having to argue about meaningless things like your dress."

"At least you have a sister."

Birdie felt the weight of that reply start to drag her under. How many years had she had this thrown in her face like a broken promise? "Hannah, please. We don't have time to argue. Just go upstairs and pack a black dress," she ground out with finality.

"You never ask me to do something, you order me. Yes, you do! I hate you!" she shouted when Birdie opened her mouth to object. Hannah fled into the house, slamming the door behind her.

Birdie knew that those words were spoken in the white-hot fire of teenage anger and flung at her to burn—and burn they did. A mother never hears the words "I hate you" without cringing and feeling like a hopeless failure.

She followed Hannah back into the house with a heavy tread. Closed doors were a way of life between them now. Why did push always come to shove between them? And when had she started to feel the need to win these senseless battles? Not so long ago, she'd let trivial arguments slide by because all the parenting articles she'd read had a unified rallying cry: choose your battles! With teenagers, however, everything was a battle.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 16 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(8)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 17 of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2006

    Oh my Mercy!!!

    This is a fun and quick book to read about sisters and secrets, but reader, I have to say that the love scene in this book is pretty darned good. After reading this book, you won't think of ratty motels in the same manner. This is some road trip of a read.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2001

    Four Seasons

    I am delighted to be able to write a review for a book that truly captured my heart. I found myself identifying with different aspects of each character......and the memories of my childhood came flooding forth. Such a moving story; the pages turned too quickly. The 'looking back' required to write and read this book is challenging and poignant. Everyone who is interested in famiy dynamics and women's relationships with the important people in her life should read this book. The resolution is realistic as well as life affirming. I wanted to be there with the sisters and come to grips with some of my own stories. Bravo Mary Alice Monroe for giving me a window to look at life's events from a different point of view.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent relationship drama

    In Evanston, Illinois, three of the four Seasons siblings are coming home to attend the funeral of their youngest sister Merry. Only thirty-two, Merry died when her lungs finally failed after a long period of illness. The oldest of the sisters, Jilly flies in from France where her career as a model is just about over. Birdie, accompanied by her spouse and teenage daughter, drives down from Wisconsin. Rose, being Merry¿s caretaker over the years, waits for the arrival of her two sisters. <P> After the funeral ends, the family attorney announces the will, which is standard stuff until he gives the siblings a video and a letter from Merry, who was brain damaged in an accident many years ago. In both, Merry pleads with her siblings to bring home Spring, the daughter that Jilly gave up for adoption when she was a teen. The trio reacts differently to Merry¿s deathbed request, but in the end blood proves thicker than water and an odyssey to ¿return home¿ by finding Spring begins. <P>THE FOUR SEASONS is a deep contemporary relationship drama that showcases the personalities of four siblings. The story line is loaded with emotion as each of the three surviving Seasons cope with Merry¿s death and her request in their own way. With novels like this one and THE BOOK CLUB, Mary Alice Monroe continues to be one of the leaders of complex female relationship dramas that hit home to the audience. <P>Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 22, 2010

    A truly great read for women!

    These sisters, who had drifted apart, each, with their own issues come together when the youngest sister passes away. They go on a journey, and not only learn about one another, but also, about themselves.
    Don't miss it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2004

    WONDERFUL STORY

    Truly one of the best reads I have ever read....just when I thought things couldn't get any worse for these sisters, BANG! another bump in the road......and those bumps in the road kept me reading on and on and on till late in the night!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2004

    Powerful novel about sisters

    I was moved by the very real relationships between the four sisters in this novel. The tug of love and anger was well drawn, and the plot of the birth mother's search for her child was a beautiful parallel for the sisters' search for the children (hope and dreams) that they once were. I highly recommend it for sisters everywhere--or for anyone who wished they had a sister!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2001

    Four Seasons

    I read alot of books that delve into the bonds between women. Monroe always gets right to the heart. I loved 'The Book Club', and 'The Four Seasons' is just as rewarding. I can't wait til her next. Hurry up!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 17 of 16 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)