Every once in a while it does seem that there are certain similarities in books published near the same time. 2011 is perhaps the year of sisters. First I read The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen. Then there was The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown and Sister by Rosamund Lupton . And now, there is The Sisters by Nancy Jensen.
The Sisters is a family novel, spanning generations of women within the same family. Bertie and Mabel are born in the early 1900s, living a hard life with their abusive stepfather after their mother's death. Their paths separate when Bertie feels that Mabel has betrayed her, and the two go on with their own lives. Both Bertie and Mabel narrate chapters, as do their daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters. Decades pass and Mabel and Bertie age, yet still remember the other, never knowing the truth behind the event that caused them to part ways.
Each generation of women faced their own challenges, and each struggle caused me to nearly groan in frustration with the decisions the women made. And while I was not happy with the choices the women made, I was also not surprised.
I love generational stories, and seeing how the choices made by one generation affects children and grandchildren in future generations. Eighty years pass within this novel, chronicling births and deaths, tragedies and happiness. The Sisters is a wonderful story of two sisters, but also of their families.