Thursday, 20 February 2014

Review: Two Sisters by Mary Hogan

Mary Hogan’s powerful and poignant debut novel about two sisters—opposites in every way—plus their mother and the secrets and lies that define them all.

One family, two sisters, a lifetime of secrets . . .

The third child in a family that wanted only two, Muriel Sullivant has always been an outsider. Short, dark-haired and round, she worships her beautiful blonde sister, Pia, and envies the close bond she shares with their mother, Lidia. Growing up in their shadow, Muriel believes that if she keeps all their secrets—and she knows plenty, outsiders always do—they will love her, too.

But that was a long time ago. Now an adult, Muriel has accepted the disappointments in her life. With her fourth-floor walk-up apartment and entry-level New York City job, she never will measure up to Pia and her wealthy husband, their daughter, and their suburban Connecticut dream home. Muriel would like nothing better than to avoid her judgemental family altogether. One thing she does quite well.

Until the day Pia shows up to visit and share devastating news that Muriel knows she cannot tell—a secret that will force her to come to terms with the past and help her see her life and her family in unexpected new ways.

Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Expected publication: March 4th 2014 by William Morrow 

Kristine's Thoughts:

* I received an advanced readers copy of this book from William Morrow Paperbacks via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.*

Two Sisters is the story of more than just two sisters. It is the story of Muriel's struggle to accept and understand why she was always an outsider and disappointment to her entire family. It weaves back and forth between her present and past and paints the picture of her less than perfect life. It also tells the story of her parents and how they ended up together which plays a very important role in how her life plays out.

This book is definitely a family drama and details Muriel's insecurities about growing up with a perfect sister and a mother who doesn't love her. She coped with her past by avoiding her family until her perfect sister delivers shocking news that has her re-evaluating her childhood and questioning everything she thinks she knows. Can things be fixed and is it possible to repair her relationships with her family? Can she learn to love herself when it seems that no one else can?

Hogan writes in a beautifully honest way and captures Muriel's emotions perfectly. I loved the way she wrote what the characters were thinking in their heads, what they wanted to do in any given situation versus what they actually did. I related to her style because I often do the same thing. Who hasn't wished that they could sneak out a bathroom window instead of dealing with something unpleasant?

This book is a somewhat sad and depressing story of a dysfunctional and complicated family. If you are looking for something fast paced and filled with action, this is not the book to read. If you are looking for an honest family drama about family, mending fences and forgiveness I think you will find this book to be an enjoyable read.

Mary Hogan
Mary has published seven young adult books and Two Sisters is her first adult novel.


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