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The Key to Happily Ever After
BY Tif Marcelo

Gallery Books
May 14, 2019/ ISBN 9781501197581

Reviewed by Elise Cooper

The Key to Happily Ever After by Tif Marcelo is a light-hearted look at sisterhood. Three sisters are given the family business by their parents, each with an equal share. Anyone with a sister will go through the trials and tribulations of these siblings as they struggle to understand how to run the family business and get along without their parents to mediate.

While the focus is on the sisters and their new responsibilities, they also search to find their own happy endings. Weaved throughout the story is the family life and the Filipino culture. Besides the sister dynamics, readers will enjoy the scenes with the brides and the wedding scenarios.

“I put in the wedding angle because a lot of folks in the military have had more than one wedding. Sometimes there is a situation that requires people to get married right away. I, myself, had two weddings. My first one was when I was in college, and it had to be thrown together in a month. My future husband was a year ahead of me, and we wanted to get stationed together. My mom still talks about the wild ride. Later we did the Church wedding. Everyone was in their military uniform and came over during lunchtime. Ever since then, I have been obsessed with weddings and why people choose what they want."

People will sympathize, laugh, and take a journey with the three sisters: Mari, Jane, and Pearl. Each personality fits their birth order. Mari, the oldest sister, is used to calling all the shots, a type-A personality. She's very organized and a rule follower. Jane is very even-keeled as most middle sisters are, and becomes the mediator between Mari and Pearl, the youngest sister who is always doted upon. Each sister brings something vital to the business and of course the story.

I wrote all three sisters coming from a place of goodness and love. They had communication issues. I based it on my “sister military spouses” who all have a certain way of communicating, which can be different than where other people are coming from. Both the fictional and actual sisters rely on one another for their particular strengths. Because their parents are not around, the sisters must sit down and talk it through.”

The Key to Happily Ever After is an appealing and charming tale with strong family ties. This is a lively and touching story examining the importance of family, friends, trust, and the formidable and beneficial bonds of sisterhood.

Reviewed 2019