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The Sister Season by Jennifer Scott
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The Sister Season

by Jennifer Scott

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This was my first time reading a book by Jennifer Scott. I loved her style of writing and the story. Excellent. ( )
  dddale | May 18, 2015 |
This was my first e-book by author, Jennifer Scott and look forward to reading her next book, “The Accidental Book Club” (5/6/2014). First, the cover was a huge draw and started it one day and had to finish it the next.

The Sister Season is very intense and at times there was a lot of dysfunction (similar to Jodi Picoult) subject matter; however, Scott did a fantastic job combining the lives the sisters, mother, and how they related to the Eli. For me the book centered on the mother and father and each of their problems began with their father.

The father was a very abusive man (there are many women who are afraid to leave such relationships which blows my mind). The mother has had enough of this as Robert, her husband has ruined the lives of their daughters and the mother-daughter relationship, due to his behavior.

It is Christmas time and the Yancey sisters have been called home for more than Christmas-their father has died. No one likes him and there is a secret to his death. They all come back to the family farm from different parts of the country and this home place does not hold very many pleasant or fond memories.

Claire, the youngest-a free spirit who lives in California and is afraid of commitment. Julia, the eldest-a college professor with a teenage son and a not so happy life. Maya, is the middle child who tries to be the perfect mother and wife.

During the week together, there are many old conflicts and much tension in the air, secrets, and pretty much a miserable week. As they wait until an old friend returns to bury their dad, the true test of family and sisterhood develops.

I really liked the book even though it was dark at times with thoughts of suicide from the teen, cancer, loss of marriage, sarcastic comments, fighting and memories and emotional problems due to this dysfunctional and abusive father (none of them are sad about his dying).

Ellie, the mother struggles with memories of what her romantic early relationship was like and how her husband turned into such a monster. Ellie now wants more than anything to rebuild her relationship with her daughters. During the entire book until the end do you find out the truth about the death of her husband, Robert?

Very well written, I look forward to reading more from this author! It is movie worthy and would make an ideal Christmas story to depict the reality of families which are not so perfect with a nice takeaway!

http://judithdcollins.booklikes.com/post/885063/thesisterseason ( )
  JudithDCollins | Nov 26, 2014 |
In the first pages of THE SISTER SEASON, we are confronted with scandal, drama and secrets. Your jaw will drop and you will want to keep reading to find out more about the Yancey family. Elise, the mother, has spent the last forty-seven years in an abusive marriage. Her three daughters are forced to come home for Christmas to attend their father's funeral. In THE SISTER SEASON, we spend six days with Elise, her three daughters, and their families. But, in those six days, we experience a lifetime of secrets, betrayal, and love through their memories.

Julia is the oldest of the Yancey sisters. She is a college professor who is more of a parent to her students than to her teenage, suicidal son, Eli. Her second husband is too busy working on his research project to notice Eli's warning signs and his real father, Dusty may fight Julia for custody to make sure he is taken care of.

Maya, the middle daughter, is married to Bradley, the constantly cheating husband. They have two children, Will and Molly. When the four of them arrive at the Yancey farm, their secrets and the past history with Maya's sister Claire may be too much for all of them to handle.

Claire, is the youngest of the sisters. She left home at the age of eighteen, moved to California and never looked back. She hasn't spoken to her sister, Maya at all and hasn't been home since she left. Claire is worried the incident that made her leave and her long-time battle with Claire will make this Christmas the worst one yet.

On top of all the sisterly drama, there is still a Christmas to celebrate and a funeral to attend. Elise wants to make this Christmas one she has never been able to create for her family. Going over the top with decorations and making all her favorite foods, she is hoping she can create a sense of home and family. What she doesn't realize is that what they all need is forgiveness and love.

As one of three sisters, I am always drawn to stories around sisters. The pages of this novel were full of raw, honest emotions. The vivid descriptions of the Missouri farm, the memories of the brutal abuse, and the emotions the sisters were reliving were riveting and powerful. Two of my favorite quotes from the book showcase the level of emotions in the story:

"...the knowledge that you weren't safe from love even in an abusive relationship
was almost the bleakest thing Maya could imagine." Page 150

"...it's like there are two cancers eating me, you know?
One on the inside and one on the outside and it's a race to see which one swallows me first." Page 160

So often stories of abuse focus on the wife or girlfriend of the abuser. In this story, we learn not only the effect on the wife, but on their three daughters and how the years of abuse have affected them as adults in their careers, their marriages, and in their parenting. The ripple effects of the father's abuse were dynamic, but there is hope for healing and love in their future.

My book club felt equally positive about the book and we had a full discussion about the characters and their personal dilemmas. There are discussion questions at the end of the novel, but you won't likely need them as there is plenty of story lines and drama to discuss. You will be sure to talk about your shock at Elise's secret, your hatred of Bradley and his behavior, and your sadness over Eli's suicide attempts. Even though the novel ends with an epilogue of the family a year later, you will still want to discuss and wonder how the sisters and their family turned out. ( )
  Staciele | Mar 21, 2014 |
Abuse leaves scars that don't always show. It breaks people down and affects them forever, even long after they have escaped the abuse or the abuser. As generations of families who have lived it show, it taints members' relationships, destroys their ability to trust, and is terrifically difficult to overcome in order to develop a healthy life. In Jennifer Scott's first adult novel, The Sister Season, the three Yancey sisters and their mother Elise have endured years of abuse at the hands of father and husband Robert but now they are all gathered, just before Christmas, to bury, if not mourn, the man.

The sisters haven't been home in ten years, not only because of their father's abusive alcoholism and their mother's sad enabling, but because they fled from each other as well. Now they are all home and even though Robert's death is the reason, Elise is hoping that they can have a regular, happy family Christmas, of the kind they never once had while Robert was alive. But each of the three sisters has returned home harboring a secret and clinging to the tension and dysfunction of ten years prior. Julia, the sister they call Queenie for her regal ways and the way that nothing ruffles her, has brought her suicidal teenaged son Eli with her and left her uber-busy, work-obsessed second husband behind at home. Maya, the middle sister, arrives with her two young children and her serial philandering husband Bradley. And Claire, the family wild child, who is assumed by Maya, and perhaps Julia and Elise too, to have slept with Bradley ten years ago despite her constant disavowals of the accusation seems to flit lightly home but she too is carrying a well camouflaged distress with her. All three of them are hiding something but what they don't bother to hide is their antagonism, making Elise's dream of a happy, peaceful Christmas impossible.

The narrative shifts between a focus on each sister and Elise, with increasingly explicit teasers about the secrets each of them have in their live. Julia's suicidal son Eli also narrates short sections as he tries to choose the perfect time and day to kill himself. Through his narration, the excessive dysfunction of the Yancey family is exposed as he sees things almost from the perspective of an outsider. As each sister's full story is revealed, it is clear the many ways that these women are physical survivors of abuse but that they are still emotionally trapped and affected by what they experienced and witnessed for so many years. They are all emotionally fragile in different ways, detached from relationship, and distrustful. Being uninvolved or channeling perfection or staying at arm's length has been the sisters' coping mechanisms and must be what they face in themselves as they try to come back together and make connections now in the wake of Robert's death.

This is not a heartwarming Christmas tale complete with healing at the end. It is a tough and painful emotional journey. The characters are a bit one dimensional and because of the major issues facing each sister, it sometimes seems as if it is a dismal bog-wallow. Things go from bad to worse for this family all through the holiday. The ending is quite tentative and maybe the tiniest bit hopeful but the time jump from Robert's funeral after Christmas to the following year means that the reader is told about the sisters' healing and change, having it presented as a fait accompli. Overall a very quick and easy read, it definitely tackles some difficult issues. ( )
  whitreidtan | Jan 7, 2014 |
The Sister Season is just not my cup of tea. I like happy, light-hearted reads and this book is anything but happy and light-hearted.

It is well written and includes great characters. The characters were dimensional and certainly realistic. The underlying tone is what I consider dark for a story that is set around Christmas, but the situations are real life situations that lots of people are having to deal with regardless of the time of year. Some may find some of the scenes intense as the book deals with domestic abuse and suicide — but both are written about in a very delicate manner and never in any extremely violent detail. It is a pretty quick read as the story flows and there is so much going on you what to know what happens next.

Overall, it is well-organized with great characters, but the whole book just lends itself to emotional overload. This is definitely not a fun light-hearted Christmas read, but if you want deep soul-searching, heart-wrenching family drama at its best this is your book.

Rating: 3

Heat Rating: None

Reviewed by: A. Lyn

Courtesy of My Book Addiction and More ( )
  MyBookAddiction | Dec 3, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451418816, Paperback)

Sometimes coming home for the holidays isn’t as easy as it seems….

It’s December 21, and the Yancey sisters have been called home. When the girls were young, holidays at their family farm meant a tinsel-garnished tree, the scent of simmering food, and laughter ringing through the house. But as the years unfolded, family bonds fractured, and the three sisters scattered and settled into separate lives. Until now. The Yancey sisters are coming to spend the holidays with their mother. They’re also coming to bury their father.

Claire, the youngest, a free spirit who journeyed to California, returns first. Then comes Julia, the eldest, a college professor with a teenage son of her own. And finally there’s Maya, the middle child, who works so hard to be the perfect mother and wife. 

During the sisters’ week together, old conflicts surface, new secrets emerge, and the limits and definitions of family are tested. And as the longest night of the year slips by and brightening days beckon, the sisters will have to answer one question: When you’re a sister, aren’t you a sister forever?

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(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:47 -0400)

"It's December 21, and the Yancey sisters have been called home. When the girls were young, holidays at their family farm meant a tinsel-garnished tree, the scent of simmering food, and laughter ringing through the house. But as the years unfolded, family bonds fractured, and the three sisters scattered and settled into separate lives. Until now. The Yancey sisters are coming to spend the holidays with their mother. They're also coming to bury their father. Claire, the youngest, a free spirit who journeyed to California, returns first. Then comes Julia, the eldest, a college professor with a teenage son of her own. And finally there's Maya, the middle child, who works so hard to be the perfect mother and wife. During the sisters' week together, old conflicts surface, new secrets emerge, and the limits and definitions of family are tested. And as the longest night of the year slips by and brightening days beckon, the sisters will have to answer one question: When you're a sister, aren't you a sister forever?"--… (more)

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