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Reviewed by Jane Finch for Readers' Favorite
The Book Sisters by Hope Andersen tells the story of the Book family, husband and wife Vern and Valley, and their six daughters. Set in the wilds of Iowa during a period of unrest in the world around them, and having experienced horrors in the war that he cannot discuss, Vern and his wife settle down to an idealistic quiet lifestyle, growing corn and keeping a few animals. As their children start to arrive, their peaceful world becomes one of turmoil as each girl brings a different personality and a different view on their once gentle and peaceful life. The family tries to adjust to the varying characters of the girls, but after a tragedy that affects them all in different ways, Vern and Valley eventually succumb to the comfort of liquor, and their world crumbles around them. The girls each go their separate ways, some trying to leave their childhood behind, whilst others are reluctant to let go.
Hope Andersen has written a captivating family saga that manages to define each complicated character whilst at the same time painting a picture of a wild and dramatic, and sometimes cruel, landscape with a little farm struggling to survive in its midst. Although having eight complex characters in play, the writing approach enables the reader to follow the family trials and to empathise with Vern and Valley as they endeavour to keep their family together. Strong characters, excellent writing, and a fast pace combine to make this an exceptional read and certainly one to recommend.