I should premise this review by saying that as a child, I trained toward the goal of concert pianist. Certainly not a child prodigy like our heroine, Claire, but I delved into that life enough that I understand the world she was thrown into at such a young age.
I found Claire's sweetness, the naivete and willingness to be knocked down over and over again in order to regain some semblance of relationship to her sisters VERY believable. Claire has existed in such a small world, the tentative connections she has with her sisters become so much more important to re-establish. Claire is determined to build herself a normal life, to be a normal person... and when she comes home, she's thrown into what I would say is prime sibling warfare. :)
Claire, Nicole and Jessie were sisters in every sense of the word. Bratty at times, unlikable at times, lovable at others, but eventually Claire and Nicole find a way to recognize their own pain in each other and learn that they weren't the only ones hurting. There is no bond quite like that of a sibling, and Susan Mallery is the master at showing the funny and not-so-funny sides of sibling rivalry.
As for the romance... Claire came home with a To Do list of things she wanted to do and experience, and fall in love was one of them. Nicole's close friend, Wyatt is everything she's never had...and Claire is an instant, somewhat unwanted attraction on his part. As Claire slowly builds a normal life for herself, Wyatt becomes a deeper part of that. Their love story is sweet, romantic and enjoyable.
I'm very much looking forward to the other two books in this series.