Sisters by Choice (Blackberry Island Series #4)

Sisters by Choice (Blackberry Island Series #4)

by Susan Mallery


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Cousins by chance, sisters by choice…

After her cat toy empire goes up in flames, Sophie Lane returns to Blackberry Island, determined to rebuild. Until small-town life reveals a big problem: she can’t grow unless she learns to let go. If Sophie relaxes her grip even a little, she might lose everything. Or she might finally be free to reach for the happiness and love that have eluded her for so long.

Kristine has become defined by her relationship to others. She’s a wife, a mom. As much as she adores her husband and sons, she wants something for herself—a sweet little bakery just off the waterfront. She knew changing the rules wouldn’t be easy, but she never imagined she might have to choose between her marriage and her dreams.

Like the mainland on the horizon, Heather’s goals seem beyond her grasp. Every time she manages to save for college, her mother has another crisis. Can she break free, or will she be trapped in this tiny life forever?

Told with Mallery’s trademark humor and charm, Sisters by Choice is a heartfelt tale of love, family and the friendships that see us through.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780778310020
Publisher: MIRA Books
Publication date: 02/11/2020
Series: Blackberry Island Series , #4
Edition description: Original
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 32,031
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

#1 NYT bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming, humorous novels about the relationships that define our lives—family, friendship, romance. She's known for putting nuanced characters in emotional situations that surprise readers to laughter. Beloved by millions, her books have been translated into 28 languages.Susan lives in Washington with her husband, two cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur. Visit her at

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Sisters by Choice: A Novel 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 79 reviews.
littlejewl2000 10 days ago
Ms. Mallery has brought us all a new book that will leave you wanting more and the more still. Sophie, Kristine, Heather and Amber. Show how the dynamics in family can be draining, exhausting, and stressful. It showes how the sisters of your heart will always be there to help with all of life's Joy's and pain and will always have a shoulder if you need it. this book was given to me from the author for an honest review
Anonymous less than 1 minute ago
Finding your Dream Sophie, Kristine and Amber are all cousins that grew up together on Blackberry Island. Sophie decided to return with her business as a fire destroyed her previous building in LA. Kristine married out of high school and has three children, but has a dream that she has worked on for the past two years. Amber is horrible and blames her problems on her daughter, Heather she raised as a single mom. Sophie and Kristine try to protect Heather from all of Amber’s cruelty to her daughter. As Kristine’s dream of a bakery becomes a reality her marriage falters. Sophie with unappreciated help from her new employees, learns loosen the reins on her business to have a more balanced life. They both help Heather find a way to escape Amber’s grasp on Heather so she can achieve her dreams. I breezed through the book and enjoyed the interaction and growth of the characters.
3631813 2 hours ago
Sisters By Choice by Susan Mallery takes the reader back to Blackberry Island, a wonderful hometown in which I would love to live. After a devastating tragedy, Sophie Lane returns home to start over. While there, Sophie and her two cousins, Kristine and Heather, learn to lean on each other and become Sisters By Choice. I love reading Susan Mallery. Her books aren't just your typical romance books. Yes, there is romance. But there is also family, friendship, community, and so much more. Her characters are extremely believable (and believe me, there is one you will love to hate!) and relatable for the average reader. I give this book five huge stars and would recommend to anyone who wants to escape for a while to a beautiful small town on an island. The characters will capture your heart from page one and won't let go even after you close the back cover.
Anonymous 4 hours ago
4.5 Stars. I was slow to start this because I didnt enjoy the last book in this series as much as I would have liked, but once i started i couldn't put it down. Sisters by Choice had all the things I loved about this series; strong friendships, personal growth of characters and a feel good vibe.
Jennger 6 hours ago
These are the types of Susan Mallery books I like-Real people dealing with other real world problems. Well, this had mostly real world problems. Some of the characters were so genuine, they were hard to read like Kristine's husband and Heather's mother. They were well written, but not very likable characters who in my opinion had it too good. That was probably my biggest issue with this book: we had great characters who have these emotionally abusive users in their lives and we see how it affects them and how they try to break away from them. In Kristine's husband we see him kind of change, but his reasons for how he acted didn't make sense. In Heather's mother we see everyone enabling her 'victim' behavior and no one is calling her on her crap and making her try to be a less abusive person. Instead they buy her things or do things for her that come with stipulations that if is she says or does certain things, these things will be taken away. But when she breaks these stipulations, they don't follow through and let her have her way anyway. It made me like the book less, I guess because everyone likes to see the bad guy get his comeuppance. I also felt detached from Sophie and Dugan's relationship. It progressed okay, but it felt like he had serious emotions quick and was punishing her because she didn't have them as quick. But I liked how all the cousins grew and expanded their own horizons, be it opening a bakery or simply asking for help and relying on other people. I just wish we got to see more of them after their life changing moments.
Anonymous 19 hours ago
This book was a great read and it made me uncomfortable, in a good way. It really got me thinking about how I think and treat people (and family) around me and how they treat me. Sophie is such an interesting character. She made something from nothing, lost it all and built it back up, but it would never be like it was before, but in a good way, if she can give up some control or lose it all. Change can be a positive thing. I think every woman as see themselves in Kristine. We give ourselves to our family and their support; and we lose who we are or want to be in the process. It is hard to break out of that persona and not be treated as the bad guy. Heather represents every fear and joy we have. Fear that we are not good enough and the joy of getting out there believing that it is the best choice. There is so much more to this book than what I can say here. Read this book and experience life through their eyes and it will give you new sight too.
DDReader 21 hours ago
This is a story of family and how love can make you act contrary to what you would normally do. Sophie’s business literally goes up in flames and her first call is to Kristine who drops everything to be there for her. Sophie moves back to Blackberry Island to rebuild, bringing her closer to family. Kristine is a mom who has a dream of opening a bakery on the island. Unfortunately, her husband doesn’t understand why he and their sons aren’t enough for her. Heather is only twenty, but has been taking care of her mother Amber for years. She feels stuck on the island, even though Amber is capable of taking care of herself-if she only would. They are all cousins, but Sophie, Kristine and Heather are “Sisters by Choice”. Each woman is ambitious in her own way and they help each other grow and make their dreams a reality. Sophie thinks success precludes having a loving relationship until Dugan comes into her life and shatters all her preconceived notions. Kristine must decide if she is willing to continue in her marriage as it was and give up on her dream, or will she stand firm and go for it. Heather tries to make something of herself, while her mother keeps holding her back. She has to decide if she can break away leaving Amber to take care of herself. All these relationships are complicated, but very real. Mallery has a knack for creating characters that we recognize, dealing with real problems we can relate to. And she does it all with humor and charm.
20vinnie 21 hours ago
In this new novel by Susan Mallery we are introduced to 3 very strong women and 1 other woman who will make you mad, laugh and just shake your head. Four women with strengths that make everyone of us wish to have a cousin who would always have our back. The cousins were also friends and brought out the best in each other. This is definitely a wonderful read.
FayeA 1 days ago
Three friends, all on different paths who make tough decisions to follow their dreams. I loved the characters, except Amber. It must have been so fun to write Sophie, because she has so many things going on in her head. I was happy for her in the end, but I thought her relationship with Dugan was weird. I was really into Kristine, and how she went for her dream even though the consequences could be devastating. I stayed up late a couple of nights reading, because I wanted to know if she gave in. When I first encountered Amber, I didn’t know if I could finish the book because she was such a witch. I wanted her punished for being such an incredibly bad person, but I kept reading in the hopes that she would get what she deserved. I would recommend this book. It’s a fun read.
Cheryl-S 1 days ago
This is book 4 in the Blackberry Island series and it features cousins, Sophie, Kristine and Heather. Sophie is a mess! She has major issues with being in a relationship because of her past. She’s got an unnatural OCD with running her multi million dollar cat supply empire, which is REALLY strange. Even though she hires people to run certain departments, she can’t seem to stop interfering with their jobs. Kristine just wants to open her own bakery after being a stay at home mom and wife for so long. Her husband was really a jerk about it all. Heather just wants to live life for herself instead of taking care of her totally able-bodied mother, Amber. Amber is an awful person. She’s rude, entitled like no one I’ve ever seen and just wants to be taken care of, even though she is 100% able to take care of herself. I think I liked only one character in the whole book and that was Kristine. The family dynamics were interesting but the romance was horrible and made ZERO sense. It probably would have been better with no romance at all. I’m a big fan of this author but this book was a HUGE let down for me.
Mommy-Read-Write 2 days ago
I normally adore Susan Mallery's books so giving this one 2 stars hurts a bit but it was just an okay read for me. From the start I found Sophie utterly annoying. I wanted to like her! I mean, she had built herself a huge successful business. She has to start over (not a spoiler as it happens in the first few pages) which she does while barely batting an eyelash. That was impressive but she's just not likable and I couldn't care about her or her story. Thankfully Mallery's trademark wit and the character of Kristine brought some joy to this book for me. Overall, it was just an okay read, though.
hnhn 2 days ago
#4 in the ‘Blackberry Island’ Series, “Sisters by Choice” follows three women, cousins by birth, as they make life changing choices. Sophie loses her business in California and move back to Blackberry Island to start again. Kristine, a stay-at-home mom who is fighting for a chance to do something of her own and her husband isn’t happy about any changes. Heather, who is actually a 1st cousin once removed (daughter of the cousin), whose mother is a difficult woman wanting Heather to do everything for her, like a servant – but one who pays for everything too. The challenges and life choices these three women make in the course of the story are touching and poignant. I had a difficult time with this one, even though it had an HEA ending, it was difficult to get past some of the personalities and keep reading. Sophie bounced between wonderful and strong and a leader and not, Kristine seemed the most levelheaded and strongest of the group. Heather struggled with her mom and her own hopes and wishes. I did like the book, i just didn't like some of the characters :-) This book came to me as an ARC in exchange for an honest review
Jilleey 2 days ago
Susan Mallery has a way with writing stories about strong women and she does it again with Sisters by Choice. She often writes characters and stories where the reader can relate and this one, a story about finding the women in your life that are your "family", really hit home for me. The powerful connections they formed with each other while overcoming life's challenges were believable and touching. An enjoyable read.
elephant92 2 days ago
Susan Mallery has again created frustratingly real characters (along with the requisite romance novel white whale - the billionaire good guy) that make me want to make her books required reading for my clients. I can’t count how many times someone has said: “if only it was really like that,” and I’ve said: “it can be.” I've met a lot of Sophie's and Amber's, the annoying professional victims, but I've yet to meet an effective Dugan or Maggie - an honest sage, who bluntly tells it like it is and to whom the Sophies and Ambers of the world actually listen and learn. Perhaps if more people read these books and realized that they should be how real life works, we’d be getting somewhere. Until then, at least I know one person gets it. And I still think Sophie’s ultimate solution is wrong and will bite her in the ass, but maybe that’s for the sequel.
Elly Ben 2 days ago
Sisters by Choice was a very emotional story for this reader. Susan Mallery did a great job developing her characters, making them really realistic. I found myself very angry with one cousin, disgusted with another, and wanting to shout at the third to open her eyes. A story I won't forget soon. I definitely recommend Sisters by Choice.
Kathy Greenberg 3 days ago
Although the main characters - Sophie, Kristine, Heather & Amber are not biological sisters, they grew up together and have chosen to remain close. Sophie has control issues, Kristine wants a life outside of being a wife & mother, Heather wants to make a life on her own & Amber is the one who feels entitled. Sounds like a real family doesn't it? The story follows each of the women's journey to grow and achieve their goals. I really liked that the story moved between the women and each "story" was complete by the end. Of course you have the love interest - Dugan (great name!). I liked that he didn't put up with any of Sophie's crap - he treated her well and made her really think about why she acted the way she did. Another great story by Susan Mallery. I highly recommend it.
Wkg24 3 days ago
I love how when you read a Susan Mallery book, you feel inspired! Once again, the characters in her book face tough times and find ways to face adversity and find ways to deal with the trials and tribulations come their way. Each of the three main characters are so different, yet, they all work in the same story. The minor characters are complete and had realism to the story, plus they often add just a bit of humor to make their lives just as crazy as your own. Whenever I read one of Susan Mallery's book, I find new and humorous ways to face the tough times in my life. Her characters feel like someone you know.
rphdarla 3 days ago
A return to blackberry Island: I guess I need to remind myself that reading women's fiction is not the same as reading a HEA romance. There are so many people in the world as frustrating as these characters. The cousins, Sophie, Kristine and Amber, are Sisters by Choice. They each frustrated me in different ways because none of them really truly triumphed or totally learned from the trials in their lives. Well maybe Sophie did learn a little bit and tried to stop micromanaging her business. The romance between her and Dugan never really gave me the feels that I wished it would. The relationship between Kristine and Jaxsen was just plain sad. Do not even get me started on my thoughts of toxic Amber, all I can say is poor young Heather needs to be thankful for her aunts, because her mother has a hideous personality. I guess we are to learn that we do not have to be perfect to be loved. Keep an open mind when reading the story and use it to learn how to take control of your own decisions and relationships, especially the toxic ones. There are many lessons to be learned throughout this book. I think I wish the ending wrapped up a few issues a bit more than it did. I now have to think about what happens next.
DkayeR 3 days ago
Susan Mallery fans will find Sisters by Choice leans more toward woman’s fiction than lighthearted romance. I wish I would have seen this section of the Reader’s Discussion Guide before beginning the story: “When Mallery first got the idea for this book, it centered around the theme of ambition. In American popular culture, ambition, especially in women, is sometimes conflated with greed, giving it a negative connotation. Mallery wanted to explore the positive side of ambition.” Viewed through this lens, my expectations for the characters and story line shifted significantly. I understood why her heroines seemed less likeable, more conflicted, and somewhat unconcerned with finding their romantic happily-ever-afters. Although the story is not primarily a romance, I can recommend it to fellow Susan Mallery fans, as well as readers of women's fiction. Bonus items: a reader discussion guide and a preview chapter of her next book were included in my copy. As a member of Susan Mallery’s review crew, I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
KerriU 3 days ago
Sisters by Choice follows three cousins, all in different walks of life, who support each other through the good and bad. Sophie is a workaholic without much of a social life, Kristine is a stay at home mom with aspirations of opening a bakery and Heather, a student who wants to get off the island and make something of herself. I liked the connection and support system they had but was not a fan of Amber’s character, Heather’s mother. I guess that was the goal but Amber was just too over the top nasty. The book moved through many relatable aspects of family life, the successful one, the family one, the struggling one and the absolute pain that frustrates everyone! I enjoyed the small island life, similar to Fools Gold.
carolleeb 4 days ago
This 4th addition to the Blackberry Island series is a definite must read. It can also be read as a stand alone. It is so good. It's filled with love, humor, wishfulness, hopefulness, optimism, and pessimism. Three cousins, Sophie, Kristine and Heather, who are great friends as well as being cousins. There is a fourth cousins , Heather's mother, Amber, who is full of self-pity, thinks everyone owes her and blames others for her wrongs or whatever she doesn't have. She adds frustration and challenges to the other's while they are each trying to deal with what's going on in their own lives. I really enjoyed this book and think others will, too.
Laurelsdaughter 4 days ago
Susan Mallery's "Sisters By Choice is another winner. It is a story of complex people and relationships. The story is about 2 cousins and their other cousin's daughter. They each have problems that must be overcome. But it will take courage and self-knowledge. The ladies have depth and personality. They make hard decisions that allow them to grow and change. In the end, all their struggles and problems help them to achieve a better life for themselves and their loved ones.
Anonymous 4 days ago
I’m not sure how to explain. I loved the book but hated a couple of characters. It’s not that the writing was bad, not at all. Susan Mallery hits it out of the park again. It’s that a couple of her characters are well, kind of mean, and in one case she doesn’t even get it. Perhaps that’s what makes this book such a great read. We are looking at the life of 3 cousins who are at different points of their lives and we see them struggle with who they are and what they want to be. Through it all they support each other. This is a book that lets us really see the struggles. As with many of Susan’s books there are some tears and laughs. I loved how the characters, even the one I didn’t like, learn who they are and what they can be.
jboger05 4 days ago
Sister's by Choice is such a delightful story about three cousins. It tells the story of these women who have lots of hurdles thrown their way. I relate most to Sophie Lane who's trying desperately to control the chaos around her and failing miserably. With several twists and turns these women hold onto each other for dear life. After heartache, loss and even dreams coming true can their friendship last? Can these women build a bond that's thicker than blood? Hold on to your hat and be whisked away on a magical journey. Thank you Susan Mallery for another wonderful story in the Blackberry Island series.
Holly1219 4 days ago
When I first read the title of this book, Sisters by Choice, I thought it was going to be about sisters and their relationships but it is about the lives of cousins Sophie, Amber and Kristine who all live on Blackberry Island. Sophie moves to Blackberry Island after her business CK Industries burns to the ground. She moves there to restart her business. None of her former employees are willing to make the move with her so she has to hire all new staff. Turns out she is a control freak and a micro manger and has big issues allowing any of her employees to do their job. Big mistake on her part. Kristine is married and a stay at home mom with 3 young boys. She sells baked goods out of her home to friends and some businesses, but she wants to own her shop and be able to sell locally and offer her products on line. The island bakery has just closed and she buys the business. The problem is her husband is against it and like a petulant little boy he storms out and goes to live at his parents until she comes to her senses. Amber is a person who believes that everyone owes her something. She doesn’t feel the need to work or keep her house clean. Her daughter is Heather who wants to leave the island to go to college and get away from her annoying clingy mother. But Amber makes Heather feel guilty telling her she has to take care of her, it’s her responsibility. She is really hateful and nasty to Heather when she finds out that someone has paid the tuition for her to start college. Susan has once again written a book that I think most all can relate too. I would recommend this book to anyone, it’s a great read.