Summary: Four sisters are gathered at the 70h birthday of their uncle, after a 20 year separation.
Uncle Edward is missing, the day before his 70th birthday.
His housekeeper and niece Ellie does NOT need the stress of looking for him, what with all the party-planning and the arrival of her three other sisters in addition to all the out-of-town guests. Beautiful Babe is an middle-aged movie star married to an even older movie star, and both of them are obsessed with their comeback. Amanda is struggling under her mountain of debt and Manhattan lifestyle after just finding out her husband is having an affair. Then we have Carleen. No one speaks of her, but what she did twenty years ago is still affecting people today.
Ellie is responsible for greeting the guests, dealing with her guests and Amanda's family's arrival. Carleen does arrive and after being rejected by both Amanda and Babe (what exactly did Carleen do?) decides to leave again. Events unfold so quickly that it was almost, but not completely implausible, that things turned out the way they did. Is Carleen stealing from Ellie? Is Edward flying down from a helicopter? Is Edward's long-term lover a murderer? Ellie escapes to the island and finds a noose hanging from a tree! She freaks out, wondering if Uncle Edward is planning to commit suicide.
The book flips back and forth between the girls' childhood and teen years quite well, revealing just enough about Carleen's "crime" to keep me reading, but also uncovering reasons why Edward might decide to go missing. While this book dealt with extreme situations, the reactions and thought processes of each person were explained in such a loving, understanding way that no one character was a true villain or hero. The relationship between the sisters actually seemed the weakest part of the book, but I quite enjoyed the entire book.