The Canterbury Sisters by Kim Wright

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Visit XOXO After Dark to read an entertaining article from author Kim Wright! 
She discusses how traveling the Canterbury Trail on a research whim actually led to long lasting memories, spontaneous adventures and a few unexpected characters!

Che Milan’s life is falling apart. Not only has her longtime lover abruptly dumped her, but her eccentric, demanding mother has recently died. When an urn of ashes arrives, along with a note reminding Che of a half-forgotten promise to take her mother to Canterbury, Che finds herself reluctantly undertaking a pilgrimage.

Within days she joins a group of women who are walking the sixty miles from London to the shrine of Becket in Canterbury Cathedral, reputed to be the site of miracles. In the best Chaucer tradition, the women swap stories as they walk, each vying to see who can best describe true love. Che, who is a perfectionist and workaholic, loses her cell phone at the first stop and is forced to slow down and really notice the world around her, perhaps for the first time in years.

Through her adventures along the trail, Che finds herself opening up to new possibilities in life and discovers that the miracles of Canterbury can take surprising forms.
4.5 stars

Every now and then you just get lucky and pick up a book that absolutely resonates with you in a very personal way. And, that is what happened when I read this one. I had the pleasure of living in the UK for a few years and while I was there I had an addiction to rambling through the English countryside. I loved it... there was always a surprise around every corner. So, yes, this book appealed to me mostly because of the fond memories it stirred up as I walked along this journey with Che and a group of Broads from Abroad doing a pilgrimage from London to Canterbury Cathedral.
I loved how this book highlighted the importance of just sitting in silence. How often do we do that nowadays? Are we even brave enough to toss aside our cell phones and take that challenge? Well, Che didn't think she was, until she lost her phone and had to go on a five day journey with little to no access to the device that defined her existence. And, I think she discovered a little something about herself as a result.
I absolutely loved the challenge these ladies made. On the 5 day journey they each had to tell a story about love or more specifically a confession. I loved getting to know each of these characters as they slowly shared little pieces of themselves. And, I was quite surprised where the conversations led. Definitely good for a chuckle or two and sometimes it was very emotional.
One thing that stood out for me in a big way with this book is the idea that you really should never judge a book by it's cover. Everyone has a story, and most of the time their stories surprise you. If you judge people by only the way they look, you are missing the very best parts of that person.
Che was definitely at a crossroads in her life. Middle aged, single, no children, and she just lost her very eccentric mom. She's questioning everything, looking back and having to re-evaluate her life. Being middle aged myself, I know from experience that it's that time of life where we start to look back and wonder if we have been living life fully. We start to realize all the many mistakes we've made. It's also a time to re-group and change your life if need be. Because we can't change the past, but we can learn from it... right?? I thought the author did an amazing job portraying these emotions with this story.
Che had an unusual mother and was obviously very conflicted about how she was raised. But, I admired her for honoring her mother's wishes for her ashes to be carried to Canterbury. It was like her mother's final stab at teaching her daughter an important life lesson. And, I think it worked. By the end of the journey, she was stronger and better prepared for the big life changes she was facing.
This is a wonderful story for fans of Women's Fiction. But, it will probably stand out more for those who have some life experience under their belt. It's about the tight relationships formed between mother's and daughters and it's about sisterhood! I always love these kinds of books.... 

I received a copy of this book from XOXO After Dark as a member of the XOXperts Street Team! 

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