The last Cathy Lamb book I read was "The First Day of the Rest of My Life" back in 2011. I did not like it. There was way too many things crammed into that book and I started to get sick of reading Ms. Lamb's characters having the same weird quirks and voices from book to book. I picked up "If You Could See What I See" because it was available via the Amazon Kindle Unlimited. Good thing I didn't pay for this book because I found this just as disappointing as the last book I read.
This newest offering centers around Meggie O'Rourke and her family's lingerie business. Meggie has recently returned home to help her grandmother's struggling lingerie business in Oregon. She is still recovering from her marriage and husband's death and is doing her best to draw her two sisters' in closer. Her sisters Lacy and Tory both work for her grandmother's company and have left things go into a tailspin since they are still embroiled in childhood drama even as adults. Meggie's grandmother Regan is still a sexy in control woman in her eighties but she now wants her granddaughters to step up and help save the family business.
Though the plot didn't exactly feel me with excitement I hoped that it would be more along the lines of "Henry's Sisters" and "Julia's Chocolate". I can deal with some quirkiness with my characters but if the whole thing reads as a weird pacific northwest Gothic fiction novel I am just not interested. Sadly the more I read, the more I realized that I was right to pass up on her last book before this one.
We get some insight into Meggie's character but it takes a lot of time and reading before you find out what is going on with that character and how her husband died. I really wish that things had not been spoon-fed to the reader a page or two here and there since we would read a bit and go back to Meggie dealing with her sisters, or taking care of the menagerie of pets Regan (her nephew) kept bringing over. I was sympathetic to Meggie once I read the whole back-story and felt for her and found myself getting frustrated and annoyed with the love interest for her in this book (by the way Ms. Lamb does not do subtle, as soon as Meggie meets the character you know this is only going one way) because of the ham-fisted way he kept treating her. I felt upset on her behalf and honestly wanted her to just say to him:
"Based on my past I am allowed to act this way and just because you want X, Y, Z from me does not mean it is going to happen on your speed."
I don't want to get too spoilery in this review but there was legitimate reasons why Meggie was hung-up the way she was about starting something new. It makes me really annoyed when an author sets up a reason why a character would be reacting the way they are whether it is due to a past abusive relationship, rape, etc. and the male character is all but I love you so that is all that should matter. Um no, not in real life. Even in romance or other books I read, I still read for realism and to something I can relate to. There was some realism in this book but often it gets overshadowed by silliness and quirkiness that I just got tired of real quick.
For example, the character of Lacy has three kids that I swear could have come out of central casting. For example, Lacy's son, Regan is sweet and cries at a drop of a hat but also is phenomenal in sports and reminds me so much of Lance from "Such a Pretty Face" that I had feelings of deja-vu anytime that character spoke. Her daughter Cassidy is a slut. It's okay though since she is such a great baker and cook. No I am not kidding about this and no I don't run around calling characters that either, but her aunt and her own mother call her that several times and several times say it so that she can actually overhear. I was just flabbergasted. Lacy's other son Hayden is going through wanting to have surgery to become a girl. I definitely feel for those who are going through being transgendered and all that it entails but besides one or two show-downs with people who have problems with it who of course are just total caricatures of every racist and bigot out there we don't get much insight into the character of Hayden. This is probably because there are a lot of moving parts to this novel that Ms. Lamb had going on and she did not have sufficient space to tell a truly compelling story about any character since she was trying to jam fit so much in one book.
Meggie's two sisters' are just shallow characters we don't get much insight into except that Tory is just selfish as the day as long and I got tired of reading her tirades about everything.
The story wraps things up clumsily and then the ending just kind of happens. I can say that I was most disappointed with the ending to Meggie's storyline and leave it at that. The other characters I really didn't care that much about either way. I would suggest passing on this.
Please note that I received this novel via the Amazon Kindle Unlimited program.