Margaret Dilloway's latest novel, Sisters of Heart and Snow, is due to be released in April, and is a women's fiction book that reminds me a bit of Amy Tan's work.
Sisters Rachel and Drew Snow have never been close. Rachel was kicked out of the house when she was just sixteen, and Drew was only twelve. Over twenty years later she is happily married, living a suburban housewife's life. Despite her rough teenage years, her life has always seemed easy to her younger sister.
Drew has always felt a bit inferior to Rachel. Her life seems so put together, while Drew is struggling to make ends by using her musical talent to make a living.
Rachel narrates much of the story, which centers around the sisters reuniting to deal with their mother's dementia. When their mother tells them about a book she owns, the sisters retrieve it from their childhood home and take it to a Japanese translator.
What he translates is a story about a female samurai. This story causes Rachel and Drew to wonder a bit more about their mother's life before she came to America from Japan.
Dilloway's novel is complex. In addition to Rachel's narration, alternating chapters are set in the twelfth century, providing the story of Tomoe, a samurai in long ago Japan.
The sisters relationship is a focus of this story, but their own problems - with children, dating, and finding themselves are also explored. In addition, Rachel reveals a great deal about her past and her father which explains a lot about Drew and Rachel.
Although I was not entirely engaged in samurai story, Dilloway does a good job of creating this thread that develops throughout the novel and tying it in with Rachel and Drew's mother's past.
This is the third novel I have read by Dilloway; each one is a story I have enjoyed and become engaged with.