The Almost Sisters
“Superheroes have always been Leia Birch Brigg’s weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comic-book convention, the usually level-headed graphic novel artist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman. She remembers he was tall, black, and an excellent French-kisser–but not much else. It turns out the Caped Crusader has left her with more than just a fond, fuzzy memory. That pink plus sign on the stick isn’t wrong; she’s having a baby–an unexpected but not unhappy development. She always wanted to fall in love and have a child, but as a young woman, she learned exactly what betrayal felt like. Now she’s thirty-eight and dead single, having walked–no, run–away from every man she might have married, trying to avoid more loss, more regrets. Before Leia can break the news of her impending single-motherhood (including the fact that her baby is biracial) to her conventional lily-white southern family, her perfect stepsister Rachel’s marriage implodes. Leia wants to help, but Rachel is married to the very man who broke her heart all those years ago. Worse, she learns her beloved ninety-year-old grandmother, Birchie, has been hiding her rapidly progressing dementia with the help of her lifelong best friend, Wattie. Birchie is Leia’s only living paternal relative, a proper yet fierce woman who has long lived by her own rules in Birchville, Alabama, the small town her family founded generations back. Now this grande dame has started a row at the church fish fry that has set every tongue wagging, pitted neighbor against neighbor, and made it plain to Leia that her grandmother needs some serious looking after. Heading seven hundred miles south, Leia plans to put Birchie’s affairs in order, clean out the big Victorian that has been in the Birch family for generations, and break the news of her blessed event. Yet just when Leia thinks she’s got it all under control, she learns that illness is not the only thing Birchie’s been hiding. Tucked away in a trunk in the attic is a dangerous secret with roots that reach all the way back to the Civil War. Its exposure threatens the family’s freedom and future, and will change everything about how Leia sees herself and her sister, her unborn son and the possibilities of his absent father, and the warm and friendly–yet deeply flawed and contradictory–world she thinks she knows.”
I loved the characters in this book! They are all so full of life, well developed, and realistic. Each of the characters has a great voice; I loved that there was some spontaneity, a few flaws, a bunch of secrets, and lots of love to go around. Leia is probably the character that I relate to the least; graphic novels are definitely not my forte. The great thing is that it didn’t really matter because she has such a great voice that I found myself caring about her and the sudden drama surrounding her family. And there’s drama. Definite drama. Birchie is hilarious and yet so complex all at the same time, and her friend Wattie is such a great side-kick character. Rachel and Lavender both add to the story as well. The plot of this book is full of twists and turns, and is a great ride. It’s definitely a page-turner! The relationship between Birchie and Wattie is so sweet, yet so sneaky. I loved the two of them together. I could just picture them plotting to take over the world while rocking in their rocking chairs on their Southern front porch. Birchville is the perfect setting for the book; the town square with the church and the shops comes alive with Ms. Jackson’s excellent descriptions. I couldn’t put this book down. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Rating: R (This book is not appropriate for younger readers. There is some profanity, including a few “f” words, and there is some minor violence. There are a couple of “intimacy” scenes, and lots of talk about “intimacy” and body parts are named as well.
Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.