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The Four Seasons [Paperback]

Mary Alice Monroe
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 21 2009
As they gather for the funeral of their younger sister, Meredith, Jillian, Beatrice, and Rose, the Season sisters, are inspired to undertake a cross-country odyssey in search of a stranger with the power to mend their shattered lives and to free themselves from the bitter secrets of the past.
--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

A familiar formula receives skillful handling in this heartfelt family drama involving three sistersAfeisty 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 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.


Moving, touching and beautifully drawn, the characters in this wonderful novel are compelling and true. -- Romantic Times (Top Pick) --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Warm and Lovely Summer Read July 6 2004
Here is a book that could be a cliche, but is not, because the four main characters (one of whom we know after death) are so original and so likeable.
This is the story of the four Season sisters, hence the title of the book. The youngest sister, Merry, has passed away at 32 after a long illness as the book begins. As the remaining sisters convene at the family's aging Victorian house, all their long-time hurts, dreams, failures and successes are almost palpable as each grieves in her own way. It sounds like a million other books of this type, but a different twist makes it all brand new, and very interesting.
That is the search for the illegitimate daughter of Jilly, the sister who went on to become a top model in Paris, and a minor celebrity. It turns out that at age 17, she was shunted off to a strict Catholic home for unwed mothers, and forced by circumstances, the time in which she lived, her unyielding parents, and the nuns themselves to give up her baby without being allowed to hold or see it. That momentous situation, it turns out, has colored the lives of all the sisters--even Merry, left brain damaged after a childhood accident. Her last wish was that Jilly and the other sisters find "Spring," the name she has, in her childlike innocence, chosen for the missing Season.
This is not a deep and unforgettable book, but it is well worth reading, and simply perfect for the beach, which is where I finished reading with a long sigh and many tears. Go for it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular Read March 19 2004
This is a book for anyone who had a sister or, like me, wished they had a sister.
Jilly, Birdie, and Rose -  of the four Season sisters are gathered at their childhood home in Evanston, Illinois after the death of the fourth sister, Merry. It is Merry's last wish that will have the other three on an adventure which will not only have them searching for the child Jilly gave up for adoption 26 years earlier, but for themselves at the same time.
Jilly who left home years ago for elegance and wealth in Europe has returned for good. Despite her fancy clothes and furs, she is broke and all alone. Seemingly without purpose in life, her modeling career over, she really doesn't know who else to turn to but her sisters. Her whole life is a sham - will she be able to tell her sisters how broke she really is? Will she ever find the love of her life? And will her search for the daughter she gave up for adoption be successful?
The second sister, Birdie, has become a physician. Always the studious one, she has married Dennis Connor, a man who Jilly dated as a teenager, and has a teenage daughter, Hannah, who in typical teenage fashion is giving her mother a rather difficult time. Birdie's husband, too, is giving her grief. They don't seem to have the closeness they once had, and when Birdie insists on accompanying Jilly on her search for her birth daughter, Dennis gives her an ultimatum - come home now or our marriage is over. Birdie still chooses to side with her sister.
Third sister, Rose has been living at home taking care of the youngest, Merry, after the death of their parents. She really didn't mind and has juggled her caretaking duties with word processing at home. Rose doesn't get out much but she has traveled the world and met many people via the internet.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Spring, Summer, Winter and Snore... Dec 9 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Another book that I picked up in February of 2001 to pass the time while waiting for customers at the cash register of the Mom and Pop store I worked at. It was there, I was bored, so I read it. I didn't realize that I had read her other book (Book Club) until I was well into it. If I had, I may not have started it.
In the typical fluff fashion (and anyone who has read my reviews knows how I feel about 'fluff'!), there were a lot of female characters 'turning on her heel' but thankfully, no 'hoydens'. It is basically the story of 4 sisters. Birdie - 'sensible' and married to a doctor, leading a life of quiet desperation. Rose - the recluse. Jilly - the 'wild one', and ex-model, who had a baby when she was a teenager. Merry - the last sister, who ended up brain damaged due to the sister's negligence (at least that's what I thought). Upon the death of Merry, the sisters are shown a videotaped last request that the feebled sister made, asking her sisters to "Find Spring!" which is Merry's code name for Jilly's illegitimate baby that was put up for adoption at a convent in Wisconsion. No one ever saw this baby, no one discussed it, but supposedly all the sisters knew about it. The sisters team up and head for Wisconsion, resolving all their childhood issues along the way. Birdie even starts an exercise program along with her teenage daughter, to which her daughter says something like, "I'll be buff when I get home." Sparking dialogue, wouldn't you say? Jilly manages to fall for the owner of the crappy motel they all stayed at. All the sisters end up making nice, find what they're looking for AND Birdie finds a way to make her marriage work - all in 3 freakin' weeks! I kept reading it because it makes me believe that if I can discipline my writing and organize it into 'x' amount of chapters, each with 'x' amount of words, problems and resolutions, that I can maybe finally make some money with my writing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Bond of Sisters July 11 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Birdie, Jilly, and Rose, three of the sisters in the Season family, gather together to celebrate the life of Merry, the youngest Season sister, who has died.
Jilly returns home from Paris, where she has lived for the last twenty years. A once successful model, she returns home almost penniless.
Birdie, a successful doctor, is unhappy in her marriage, and domineering to her only daughter, Hannah.
Rose, Merry's caretaker, has a secret online friendship with a man whose online name is DannyBoy. She is at odds with what to do now with her life, now that Merry is gone.
After the funeral, the family lawyer sits down with the sisters to disclose Merry's last wishes. Merry's last wish is for the sisters to find Spring, the baby Jilly gave up for adoption 26 years ago. With this request, the past is opened up, and the sisters must decide how to honor Merry's request. Together they embark on a journey through the past, and separately they embark on private quests, as they determine the paths they must follow.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing
This book was great. The characters were well developed and I felt like they were real people. I was sad this book ended. A must read!!!
Published on June 4 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I purchased this book as a beach book and was not disappointed. This is the first work I have read by this author and immediately after finishing Four Seasons began to search for... Read more
Published on June 4 2004 by J. Mitchell
5.0 out of 5 stars Four Seasons - Wonderful!
You know a book is really good when you want to pass it on to everyone you know! Absorbing, real women, real feelings, interesting story line. Read more
Published on March 7 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars As Good As It Gets
Mary Alice Monroe is a skilled storyteller. Her prose is beautiful and her understanding of human nature profound. I was toally absorbed in the lives of these sisters. Read more
Published on Jan. 16 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming and full of insights!
Mary Alice Monroe always has wonderful insight into emotions and relationships. Her style of writing is crisp and beautiful. Read more
Published on Jan. 9 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, Heart warming read!
I enjoyed this book so much. I was in a deep reading rut when i came across this one in my pile of boooks to be read and it immediately grabbed my attention and wouldn't let go. Read more
Published on Oct. 12 2001 by Karen Ellis
5.0 out of 5 stars A fabulous and rewarding read
Mary Alice Monroe is fast becoming known for her sophisticated and touching novels. This one will only add to that well-deserved reputation. Her prose is graceful and lovely. Read more
Published on April 16 2001 by J. B. Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellant fast read!
What a great book! It kept my attention the entire time I was reading it! This was the 2nd book I have read by this author and I am starting my 3rd tomorrow!
Published on March 31 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent Story - Highly Recommended
This is a book for anyone who had a sister or, like me, wished they had a sister.
Jilly, Birdie, and Rose -  of the four Season sisters are gathered at their childhood home... Read more
Published on March 3 2001 by Maudeen Wachsmith
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