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The Sisters: A Novel (Reading Group Gold) (edition 2012)

by Nancy Jensen

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1742468,238 (3.4)12
Member:cnpofohio
Title:The Sisters: A Novel (Reading Group Gold)
Authors:Nancy Jensen
Info:St. Martin's Griffin (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
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The Sisters by Nancy Jensen

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Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
Wonderful book. Sat down to start reading this one and found myself completely absorbed in the lives of the two sisters. I only found fault with the ending which I didn't care for. Can't really say how it could have been done differently other than it was just to fast and left the story with a feeling of being incomplete for me, perhaps that was the authors intentions. There were only one or two chapters that didn't keep me spellbound the rest I flew through. ( )
  justablondemoment | Oct 20, 2013 |
This book, though well written was an exercise in dysfunction, poor choices, critical spirits and ...did I say dysfunction?
A more unhappy group of women I have not seen . I slogged my way through to see if there was ever any resolution and there was NONE.
Not a satisfying read. ( )
  chickadee2 | Aug 15, 2013 |
I love stories that follow women's lives over not only their lifetimes, but even the lifetimes of their children. Not only does Jensen accomplish this within the pages of this book, but she also brings to life a third generation of the family. The story opens in Juniper, Kentucky, and the year is 1927. Bertie and Mabel are left living with their stepfather after their mother's passing and the sisters plan to get as far away from there as possible when the opportunity arises.

The stories alternate between perspectives of Bertie and Mabel, until their children become main characters and we see things from a whole new light. And then when these ladies grandchildren are introduced we are given a whole new set of problems.

Early on in the novel the girls are separated from most unfortunate circumstances sending their lives in different directions. They make the best of their lives, raising their families the best way they know how. Unfortunately, Bertie has harbored her anger for so long, this attitude seeps through her everyday life, and eventually rubbing off onto her children.

I really don't want to give too much of this book away, as it was enjoyable the way events unfolded. My main complaint about this book was the multiple characters we were introduced to. Between Bertie and Mabels' children and grandchildren it was tough to keep them all straight. The author did include a family tree in the beginning that was quite helpful, but while reading the Kindle version I probably didn't use this tool as much as others may have. I think I would have enjoyed knowing more about Bertie and Mabel, rather than having little snippets of multiple characters.

I did enjoy the novel overall and most of my book club did also. With themes of family, resentment, and truth, you may enjoy this book also. I don't hesitate in recommending this novel for either personal leisure or as a book club discussion. ( )
  jo-jo | Jul 13, 2013 |
I liked this a lot but unfortunately I was listening to the CD version and had to break up my listening times over a couple of weeks and I really had trouble keeping track of who was who as the families of the sisters evolved over time. Yes, certainly I could follow what was happening but I wished I had a little family tree to refer to! The ending, although somewhat expected, answered some earlier questions. A fascinating look at families over time, through generations. I particularly like and agree with what LukeS reviewer wrote (January, 2012) about how each of the women involved in the story, in each generation, seemed to have some sort of secret that she kept to prevent harm but keeping that secret managed to do more harm then good. ( )
  nyiper | Jan 17, 2013 |
The story of three generations of American women. Bertie and Mabel are sisters. It is 1927, their mother is dead and their father is to them a threatening presence.Mabel does not want what has happened to her to happen to sister Bertie so she sets up an elaborate escape scheme with Bertie's boyfriend that has profound repercussions and results in the separation of the sisters. The book then takes us on a journey through the lives of their children and grandchildren and we see how what happened to Bertie and Mabel impacts on their lives. ( )
  kiwifortyniner | Nov 19, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
"Set against the dramatic backdrop of American history from the Great Depression into the 21st century, this beautiful but disturbing debut novel, inspired partly by the author's own family history, will engage readers of well-written, thought-provoking women's fiction."
added by Christa_Josh | editLibrary Journal, Andrea Kempf (Nov 1, 2011)
 
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Epigraph
…I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
- W. B. Yeats

We always keep the dearest things to ourselves.
- James Joyce
Dedication
For my mother, my mooring
First words
It was a lovely dress, soft and pink as a cloud at dawn.
Quotations
Millions of years of human life, and still there was no more arduous battle than crossing the border into someone else’s heart. Or to stand aside and wave him across your own. Maybe it wasn’t possible to know another person, not entirely. Maybe it wasn’t possible to do more than show the desire to now, offering some sort of symbol, creating touchstone.
They had all been raised up on secrets, things never expressed but linked through time to all the other members. . . . the tangled secrets and what they had wrought.
Whatever we carry inside us shapes everyone we touch.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312542704, Hardcover)

 
In the tradition of Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping and Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge, a dazzling debut novel about the family bonds that remain even when they seem irretrievably torn apart

Growing up in hardscrabble Kentucky in the 1920s, with their mother dead and their stepfather an ever-present threat, Bertie Fischer and her older sister Mabel have no one but each other—with perhaps a sweetheart for Bertie waiting in the wings. But on the day that Bertie receives her eighth-grade diploma, good intentions go terribly wrong. A choice made in desperate haste sets off a chain of misunderstandings that will divide the sisters and reverberate through three generations of women.

What happens when nothing turns out as you planned? From the Depression through World War II and Vietnam, and smaller events both tragic and joyful, Bertie and Mabel forge unexpected identities that are shaped by unspeakable secrets. As the sisters have daughters and granddaughters of their own, they discover that both love and betrayal are even more complicated than they seem.  

Gorgeously written, with extraordinary insight and emotional truth, Nancy Jensen’s powerful debut novel illuminates the far-reaching power of family and family secrets.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:45:54 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Growing up motherless and under the thumb of a cruel stepfather in hardscrabble 1920s Kentucky, Bertie Fisher and her older sister, Mabel, are torn apart by a painful misunderstanding that reverberates through the lives of their daughters and granddaughters.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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