Three sisters have returned to their childhood home, reuniting the eccentric Andreas family. Here, books are a passion (there is no problem a library card can’t solve) and TV is something other people watch. Their father ~ a professor of Shakespeare who speaks almost exclusively in verse ~ named them after the Bard’s heroines. It’s a lot to live up to.
The sisters each have a hard time communicating with their parents and their lovers, but especially with one another. What can the shy homebody eldest sister, the fast~living middle child, and the bohemian youngest sibling have in common? Only that none has found life to be what was expected; and now, faced with their parents’ frailty and their own personal disappointments, not even a book can solve what ails them…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eleanor Brown’s writing has been published in anthologies, magazines and journals. She has an M.A. in literature and lives in Colorado with her partner, J.C. Hutchins, a writer.
I. Loved. This. Book. At the end. That’s how I know I’ve read a good book, the end comes and I think Wow, that was worth the effort and, trust me, parts of this book were an effort to get through. Shakespeare, anyone? I admit to being a little put off by all the quotes Gosh, I avoided reading Shakespeare in high school and college so I don’t really want to read him in my novels but as I got deeper into the story, I realized the quotes were integral to the story and a dominant feature of the family culture. And, truth be told, my sisters and I have a habit of quoting lines from two particularly bad 80s romance movies, so who am I to talk?
The girls were interesting and believable. The way the fell into roles prescribed to them by their namesakes and their parents’ benign neglect, was a revelation in the sense that it made me question myself and how I interact with my own family. Each of the sisters reacted to given situations in ways that the family expected them to act, even though they considered acting in a totally opposite way. I thought about my own family, relatives expect me to say and do certain things, so I do them even though I don’t necessarily feel or think that way. So, I wonder, are we conditioned to remain in our roles or can we ever really break free?
One of the things I found most interesting was the voice Brown used for writing this novel. Rather than writing from one person’s point of view, she wrote from all three sisters’ points of view, melding them into one. In the end, I felt like I was seeing the world through all three women’s eyes and experiencing it with one heart.
This book would make a great read book club read, there are so many themes to explore: familial ties, birth order theories, the impact of illness on family members, escaping our pasts, confronting our futures, etc.
Sisters keep secrets.
Because sisters’ secrets are swords.
LEAST FAVORITE SENTENCE(S)
Is this what we’d become? We’d inherited our father’s genius to squander it on food service and academic peripateticism and librarianship?