By Nancy Jensen
(St. Martin's Griffin, Paperback, 9780312548414, 352pp.)
Publication Date: October 2, 2012
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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Family secrets reverberate for generations in one of the "Best Novels of 2011" (Kirkus Reviews)
Growing up without a mother in hardscrabble Kentucky in the 1920s, Bertie Fischer and her older sister, Mabel, have only each other—with perhaps a sweetheart for Bertie waiting in the wings. But on the day that Bertie graduates from eighth grade, good intentions go terribly wrong, setting off a chain of misunderstandings that will change the lives of the next three generations.
What happens when nothing turns out as you planned? From the Depression through the second world war and Vietnam, and smaller events both tragic and joyful, Bertie and Mabel forge unexpected identities that are shaped by a past that no one ever talks about. Gorgeously written, with extraordinary insight and emotional truth, Nancy Jensen’s brilliant first novel, The Sisters, illuminates the far-reaching power of family and family secrets.
NANCY JENSEN is an award-winning graduate of the MFA in Writing Program at Vermont College whose short stories and essays have been published in such literary journals as Northwest Review, Other Voices, and The Louisville Review. She teaches English at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, KY. A national bestseller and a #1 Indie Next Pick in hardcover, The Sisters is her debut novel.
- There are many secrets in The Sisters, beginning with Mabel’s decision not to tell Bertie about Jim Butcher. In trying to understand her sister’s behavior, fourteen-year-old Bertie wonders if “the things she didn’t know were what kept her safe.” What secrets do other characters keep, and how do you think the secrets ultimately help or hurt their loved ones?
“You’ll be drawn into the arms of The Sisters as if these women were your own family. You’ll want to hold them, warn them, betray their secrets. But this is a novel, one that is fresh and vibrant and complex. You cannot live the sisters’ lives, but only share in their joy and heartbreak and ultimate triumph. A remarkably powerful book.”
—Sandra Dallas, author of Prayers for Sale
“Nancy Jensen has the natural storyteller’s ability to command attention, but with sophisticated psychological understanding and beautifully crafted writing. The Sisters is a needed novel that will become a very popular classic.”
—Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Ahab's Wife
“A beautiful and touching novel about the events and choices that shape not only our lives but the lives of generations to come. Nancy Jensen takes us on an epic yet intimate journey through eighty years, ultimately revealing the flawed but lovely landscape that makes up a family. Her characters will stay with us long after the book’s final pages.”
—Brunonia Barry, author of The Lace Reader