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The Reel Sisters is a novel about friendships created through a fly fishing hobby. The novel has many lessons on friendships, love, giving, and kindness. Author Michelle Cummings is a flyfisher herself and her aknowledgment of her ‘soul sisters’ in the beginning reveals the quintessence of the books foundation. Reel on the title could be an interpretation for ‘soul’.
A group of women fly fishers from different demographics come together every fall for an escape. Their main activity during the vacation is fly fishing. They lodge in a small cabin built by Rose and his late husband. Rose becomes the main teacher and wiser elder for the group. Everyone’s commitment to the other, and like-mindedness means they also support eachother outside of fly fishing, navigating through life together.
The novel is set in Colorado. The author uses first-person narration with each character, making them equal characters besides the stronger character Rose. Rose (above 60) is depicted as the strong elder who has experience and wisdom to pass on to the ladies. Sophie (above 40) owns a farm and runs a vegetable business through her greenhouse and also empowers people. Veronica (30) is married and transforms business leaders. Amanda (23) is a wife to a military officer, a mother of two and a teacher, and Melody (19) is a photographer and a blogger. I love the pace of the novel because it is gingerly built up. There is no one conclusion the story leads to because the novel depicts the lifestyle of each of these women, however there is a shocking twist towards the end of the novel that readers should look forward to. It left me saddened and confused. Yet I felt the sacrifice was necessary even though the characters in the novel felt like time was not fair on making that decision.
I love how real the story felt. There were also some moments that made the story feel unrealistic especially when someone narrated their own voice during their death. The author went as far as writing down the character’s last thoughts which was off because I would have liked for the novel to have kept the same feeling of realness 100% throughout the novel. The novel is divided into sections 1, 2, 3, and right through to 10. Each starts with fly fishing quotes extracted from different fly fishing authors. Each quote is relevant to the type of ending or lesson to be learned from the section by both the characters and the reader. Fly fishing is also a sport that has many life lessons and the author wants readers to connect with the characters through the characters’ experiences. For instance, when fly fishing you use the knowledge and skills learned. However you need confidence, focus and trust to be able to catch the fish. Amanda had trouble missing her husband who had been deployed for a while. Sophie had troubles with feelings of loneliness. Both Sophie and Amanda would focus on their troubles and would’nt be a able to catch any fish. When they focused on fixing their attitude they had better chances at catching fish. I loved catching on to these lessons as intended by the author.
I loved that the story was not confusing even though there was a plethora of events and experiences the author took us through. I did not get bored as the book was a page turner with concepts that were easy to read and grasp. The author even went as far as educating readers on entomology and revealed its importance and role in flyfishing. You can’t be a fly fisher and not have insight on entomology. I also learned about tying, using flies that are in season for fishing and reeling, even though some information got lost on me due to my lack of technical know-how and fly fishing imagination. Throughout the novel there is plenty of humour, wittiness and profanity. Words like ‘ sh*t’ and ‘f**k’ were used more than 10 times and I disliked that because more often than not I found such words unfitting to the tone of the book and unnecessary to the context of what was said as well. I found no errors in the book. Despite these minor frustrations I give the Reel Sisters a 4 out of 4 and would recommend it to women of any demographic. Michelle Cummings provided a wealth of information on where to find resources for fly fishers and women who would like to learn the sport.
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