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New Release: The Weird Sisters

41x7oeCi7KL._SL160_By Eleanor Brown
Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam | 336pgs
Release Date: January 20, 2011

Summary:
Sisterly love comes to the fore in Eleanor Brown’s debut novel The Weird Sisters. When their mother is diagnosed with breast cancer, three sisters unite at their childhood home to help care for her. The girls, all named after Shakespearean characters by their father, a Bard scholar, each bring their own personal baggage back to their mid-western homestead. The oldest sister, Rose (named after Rosalind in As You Like It) has remained in their small town of Barnwell, pursuing a career as college math professor. But, the comfortable, structured life she has carefully built becomes threatened when her fiancé is offered a job in England. Middle sister Bean (named after Bianca in The Taming of the Shrew) is escaping a disastrous life in New York, where she was recently fired from her job and accused of embezzlement. Baby sister Cordy (named after Cordelia in King Lear) has been living a free-spirited vagabond life, until she finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, without any real idea of where to settle down or how to raise a family. Dealing with their ailing mother, their eccentric father who communicates primarily in Shakespearean verse, and their own inner turmoil brings the sisters closer together and cements not just love, but a genuine liking and respect for one another.

What the critics are saying:
Overall critics have been enthusiastic about Brown’s freshman novel, which is narrated in a unique first-person plural voice. Though, there are a few chinks in The Weird Sisters armor. “The first third of the book moves slowly, with too much explanation of who the sisters are…and a sort of bulky setting-up of their rather implausible situations…enough, already! Get the story moving!” writes Laurie Hertzel in a review for the Star-Tribune.

Despite the book’s imperfections, most critics agree that Brown has done well in crafting a very enjoyable read. “The Weird Sisters…is equal parts clever and heartfelt. As a discourse on sibling dynamics, the book very much succeeds. While each sister’s story of self-improvement is fairly predictable (again echoing Shakespeare: all’s well that ends well), Brown nails the sentiment conveyed by the book’s tag line: ‘We love each other. We just don’t happen to like each other very much,’” concludes Michelle Wiener’s review for the Associated Press.

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