This is the story of two sisters, Mabel and Bertie. They live sort of at the turn of the century with their mother and stepfather on a farm. They are not wealthy. They all work hard. Mabel…the older sister…works harder than anyone to protect her little sister, Bertie. Mabel has given up school and has given up her purity to keep their stepfather from going near Bertie.
In those days no one talked about this issue and there seemed to be nowhere for Mabel to turn other than to devise a plan to keep Bertie safe. This plan has consequences that affect both of them for the rest of their lives.
This author has a way of weaving an amazingly sad and powerful story about the lives of these sisters. The actions of Mabel forever changed Bertie’s life. She was never as kind and loving and sweet because of what she perceived was done to her by her sister.
I loved this book and it was absorbing but it was also very sad…just so very very sad. Bertie was profoundly hurt and changed by Mabel. Mabel tried and tried to reach Bertie but it was no use. Bertie shut her out magnificently…she refused to read mail and lived with the belief that her sister betrayed her.
Each daughter within this family and then the granddaughters all seemed to have issues with the men in their lives. I had to ask myself if they were shaped subtly by the tragedies of their mothers and just had no way of making good choices in their lives. There are babies born out of wedlock and divorces and an intolerable amount of really mean men.
All of this made this book an interestingly tangled reading experience.
I truly enjoyed reading The Sisters but it was one of those experiences…for me…where I had to shake off the mistakes and sadness that many of the characters were caught up in. There was joy and delight, too…and eventually…contentment.
I loved the family timeline. I referred to it many times as I became engrossed in the lives of these strong characters.
A truly amazing first book.