A family saga, The Sisters: A Novel sweeps the reader forward from 1927 through the year 2007, depicting the branching out of a family tree that was torn asunder through missteps, misunderstandings, and horrific secrets that seemingly set the tone for many more secrets and misunderstandings. Almost as if errors, missteps, and wrong choices were written into their genetic code, the two Fischer sisters seemingly leap into an unseen future without one another and not knowing why.
As mysterious as all this sounds, suffice it to say that when Mabel Fischer, the older sister, sets a plan in motion, she has high hopes that she is saving her sister Bertie. On the other hand, Bertie only sees betrayal and spends the next several decades covering her tracks and severing all ties.
Meanwhile, each sister carries on separate lives for the generations to come.
But as each sister nears the end of her journey, her thoughts will be with the other, remembering and seeking to fill in the void that would have been their familial bond.
I could not stave off the sadness that rippled through me as I read this story. Like tossing a stone into the stream and then watching it as it floats away, these characters could seemingly do nothing to right the wrongs in their lives. Each sister told pieces of her story to her daughters, but without the missing perspective, the other side of it all, there was no resolution. No mending of the torn fabric of their lives. The characters seemed doomed to continually make errors within their individual families, repeating mistakes and failing to correct the old ones. The seeds of this dysfunction were planted long before, when a dangerous secret set the tone for the rest of their lives and the lives to come.
As much as I connected to the characters and their stories, I felt frustrated by the inability of any of the characters to set things right. Yes, they went on with their lives and did the best they could—but without any kind of closure. I would recommend this story for those who do not mind long, detailed stories that seemingly go nowhere, with loose ends that do not come together. Four stars.