14 September 2011

Book Review: The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

Title: The Weird Sisters
Author: Eleanor Brown
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN: 978 0 00 739372 5
Format: Paperback
353 pages
Genre: Fiction
Source: Publisher

The Weird Sisters is a charming story told with a fun, tongue-in-cheek style.

Rosalind, Bianca, and Cordelia are The Weird Sisters, so-called because of their names and because of their father's obsession with Shakespeare's work. When a family crisis compels the three sisters to return to their childhood home, they eventually learn a life-changing secret about each other.

Rosalind (Rose), thirty-three, is the oldest and known to always take charge when there's any problem. She never strays far from the family home and now cheerfully takes charge when her parents need her but is it at the expense of her own happiness? She's in love but uncertain about leaving her hometown. Will she allow her head to overrule her heart?

Bianca (Bean), thirty, is the middle sister - and unlike her older sister - Bean couldn't wait to leave the small town they grew up in. Bean eagerly moved to New York City where she expected to lead an exciting life but discovered it wasn't that easy. To outward appearances, she has it all so why does she suddenly seem keen to stick around her small hometown?

Cordelia (Cordy) is the youngest sister. Aged twenty-seven, she is a free-spirit, never staying in one place for long, and enjoying a life without any ties to anyone or any place. Her simple lifestyle suited her until now. It looks like she has come home to stay but why?

The Weird Sisters is a refreshing story told with a unique slant. The author chose to narrate the story using the combined perspective from the three sisters but alternating at times from one or two sisters at a time. It takes a while to get used to the narrative style but I thought it added to the feeling of how strong sisterly connections are. The author also throws in witty asides aimed directly at the reader, which made me chuckle.

It's about sibling rivalry and about growing up and learning how to choose the direction you want your life to take, even if that path may not be the one you originally chose. It's about taking responsibility for mistakes and making tough decisions.

The story is set in Ohio, in a small town called Barnwell - also known as "Barney" - and I enjoyed all the little details about growing up in a small town where everyone knows everyone else and they look out for each other but also where secrets never stay secret for long.

I adored the characters and thought the way the sibling rivalry is portrayed is spot on. The author is the youngest of three sisters, so no doubt this helped her to create such convincing situations and sharp dialogue. The way the sisters speak to each other made me smile knowingly. It's very believable - and yes, I have a sister.

The connection to Shakespeare's works is an important theme to the story,and the way the characters think and converse by frequently using quotes from Shakespeare, is very cleverly woven into the story. They are also a family of dedicated bookworms which is a very appealing feature for anyone who loves to read.

I thorougly enjoyed reading The Weird Sisters and I'm very grateful to the publisher, HarperCollins, for sending me a review copy. It was a joy to read, and I can see why it is a New York Times Bestseller. Congratulations to the author, Eleanor Brown, for writing such a brilliant first novel. I loved it.

I highly recommend The Weird Sisters.


  1. Hi Maureen,
    I'm glad I did some exploration tonight and found your blog. I'm always looking for new authors.

    The narrative style that is used here is like that found in The Poisonwood Bible. Have you read it?

  2. Hi Marianna,

    I'm so pleased you found my blog!

    Yes, I've read The Poisonwood Bible - it's one of my favourite books! The Weird Sisters uses the first-person plural narrative but it is similar to The Poisonwood Bible because of the alternating points of view.