Review | The Space Between Sisters by Mary McNear

Posted July 1, 2016 by Asheley in review / 2 Comments

Review | The Space Between Sisters by Mary McNearThe Space Between Sisters (Butternut Lake #4) by Mary McNear
Series: Butternut Lake
Published by William Morrow on June 14, 2016
Pages: 336
Source: the publisher
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Two sisters couldn’t be more different. Win organized and responsible; Poppy impulsive and undependable. Win treads cautiously and plans her life with care; Poppy bounces from job to job and apartment to apartment, leaving others to pick up the pieces. But despite their differences, they share memories of the idyllic childhood summers they spent together on the shores of Butternut Lake. Now, 13 years later, Win, recovering from a personal tragedy, has returned to Butternut Lake, settling into a predictable and quiet life.

Then, one night, Poppy unexpectedly shows up on Win’s doorstep with all her worldly possessions and a mysterious man in tow. And although Win loves her beautiful sister, she wasn’t expecting her to move in for the summer. Still, at first, they relive the joys of Butternut Lake. But their blissful nostalgia soon gives way to conflict, and painful memories and buried secrets threaten to tear the sisters apart.

As the waning days of summer get shorter, past secrets are revealed, new love is found, and the ties between the sisters are tested like never before…all on the serene shores of Butternut Lake.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


I’ve been devouring this series lately. This is the third book in the Butternut Lake Series that I’ve read in the past few weeks, and so far they’ve all been like the very best of sweet summertime/comfort reads. The Space Between Sisters is the fourth book in the series, and while it comes after several others it can easily be read as a standalone.

Win and Poppy are sisters. Win is the super-organized one (to a fault, really) and Poppy is the fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants one. The sisters used to spend every summer together at their grandparents cabin at Butternut Lake, and they have the very best of memories there. Now the cabin belongs to Win. As the book begins, Poppy shows up at the cabin, where Win is staying for the summer – she’s a teacher, out on summer break – with all of her belongings, having just quit her latest job. Poppy is hoping that surprising Win will make her want to spend the summer together, just like old times, and that the two can find a way to reconnect. Win doesn’t really care for surprises, but of course, she invites Poppy to stay.

Right away, I could see a little bit of myself in both Win and Poppy. I could also see a little bit of my relationship with my own sisters in their fictional relationship. I have fallen quite hard for the way that Mary McNear writes her character relationships in this Butternut Lake Series, so it was not surprise to me that I would love this one as well.

Reconnecting would be much easier if the sisters were each healthy and well, for lack of better words. However, Win is having some trouble moving on from the death of her young husband only a few years into their marriage – cancer. And Poppy has a big secret of her own that is eating away at her. Before the two can connect in a purely healthy and productive way with themselves and with other people, they must confront these issues in the face. This is tricky, sure, but this is one of the things that Ms. McNear writes so, so well: dealing with the past in order to move on, and then getting another chance at life. This is actually something that I’ve noticed as a theme in her books and I love it, because doesn’t this happen so often in life, that we need to deal with junk so we can brush it off and move on? YES. And really, even though this story has some depth to it, it is so easy to read and the characters are fun. This really is a great summer read.

Over the course of this series, I’ve grown to love Butternut Lake and the town of Butternut, and the people that live there. I’ve noticed that so many are reading Ms. McNear’s work for the first time with this book and it makes me so happy! I genuinely hope everyone goes back to the beginning of this series and starts at the beginning. I absolutely adore her character-driven stories and the way she really has a knack for penning people in a well-rounded and developed way, so it feels like I know them when I’m reading them.

So, yes, this book is a winner to me! As a sister with an “opposite-of-me” sister, I loved this story about two “opposite” sisters – and I loved that they are able to come together and reconnect and work through their own internal stuff…and end up better off individually and together, as family. I recommend The Space Between Sisters by Mary McNear to readers that enjoy contemporary fiction and books with sibling relationships. I also recommend this book to readers that enjoy (companion) series with a great small-town setting and like interests.


About Mary McNear

Mary McNear Author Photo

Mary McNear, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Butternut Lake series, writes in a local doughnut shop, where she sips Diet Pepsi, observes the hubbub of neighborhood life, and tries to resist the constant temptation of freshly made doughnuts. Mary bases her novels on a lifetime of summers spent in a small town on a lake in the northern Midwest.

Photo by Amelia Kennedy


About Asheley

Asheley is a Southern girl. She loves Carolina blue skies, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and NC craft beer. She loves all things history but prefers books over everything.

You can find her somewhere in North Carolina, daydreaming about the ocean.

Find Asheley on Litsy @intothehallofbooks!


2 responses to “Review | The Space Between Sisters by Mary McNear

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