Monday, December 8, 2014

Julie's Review: The Story Sisters

Author: Alice Hoffman
Series: None
Publication Date: June 1, 2010
Publisher: Three River Books
Pages: 352
Obtained: purchased
Genre:  Mystical Realism
Rating: 4.5/5
Bottom Line: A heartbreaking story about what lengths sisters go to protect each other
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Summary: Her new novel, The Story Sisters, charts the lives of three sisters — Elv, Claire, and Meg. Each has a fate she must meet alone: one on a country road, one in the streets of Paris, and one in the corridors of her own imagination. Inhabiting their world are a charismatic man who cannot tell the truth, a neighbor who is not who he appears to be, a clumsy boy in Paris who falls in love and stays there, a detective who finds his heart's desire, and a demon who will not let go. What does a mother do when one of her children goes astray? How does she save one daughter without sacrificing the others? How deep can love go, and how far can it take you? These are the questions this luminous novel asks. At once a coming-of-age tale, a family saga, and a love story of erotic longing, The Story Sisters sifts through the miraculous and the mundane as the girls become women and their choices haunt them, change them and, finally, redeem them. It confirms Alice Hoffman's reputation as a "writer whose keen ear for the measure struck by the beat of the human heart is unparalleled".  

Review: Whenever I pick up an Alice Hoffman novel I am immediately transported to this world but only more magical. In The Story Sisters, the magic exists to block out the bad. It exists so that they can escape their troubles. It is Elv who is lost and who stays lost for most of the novel. She is troubled and we are given glimpses of why but it is never fully revealed. Ms. Hoffman doesn't have to spell it out to her readers, we can figure it out on our own. It is also Elv who is the most brave of the sisters. She is the one who protects Claire until it is Claire who tries to protect her.

Meg is the pragmatic sister, who ends up protecting Claire from Elv as she slips further and further away from her family. She is the one who ends up opening their mother's eyes to Elv's misdeeds. The misdeeds and aftermath will have lasting effects on her life.

My favorite character was Claire. She was the glue that kept the sisters together until she couldn't. She was the sweet, innocent one that knew there was evil in the world. She was the sensitive one. As she grew up, she withdrew into herself. It was art that saved her. It was within art that she found her voice.

Besides Claire, I loved their Ama, Natalia. She was always there for her daughter and her granddaughters. She was also very elegant and wise.

Ms. Hoffman always writes a novel that immediately pulls you in. She creates a world that you want to curl up in and get lost in. Her writing is poetic and lyrical. If you haven't read her, you should. I will be reading more of her books in the future.

The Story Sisters is about love, redemption and forgiveness. It is about figuring out who you are and who you are meant to be. It is about the bond of sisters, that can't be broken; even when it is.

Alice's Review



Asheley T. December 8, 2014 at 8:59 AM  

I've never read a book by this author but I've always considered her books and then NOT picked them up at the time, for some reason. I like the idea of this one because of the sisters (I have two myself) and like a lot of us, I love stories that feature sibling relationships. I recently read The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown, which sounds a little bit similar but without the thread of the magic -- I enjoyed it. I'd forgotten about this one, so thanks a lot for reminding me of it. (:

Beth Hoffman December 8, 2014 at 1:10 PM  

Terrific review, Julie. I love Alice Hoffman's work and thought I'd read everything she's published, but for some reason I missed this book. It's going on my list right now.

Julie December 8, 2014 at 3:38 PM  

Asheley, The Weird Sisters was a wonderful novel but The Story Sisters is definitely different even without the magic.

Beth, I have a lot of her books left to read. Any favorites?

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