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The sisters
Nancy Jensen
Adult Fiction JENSEN

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From Publishers' Weekly:

First-time novelist Jensen redeems her soap opera plot-tracing the lives of two sisters separated in their youth by a tragic misunderstanding-with an observant eye, adept characterization, and a keen grasp of social issues. When 19-year-old Mabel Fischer realizes that their predatory stepfather, who has repeatedly raped and humiliated her, has designs on her younger sister, Bertie, she escapes smalltown Juniper, Ky., in 1927, with Bertie in tow. The escape plan goes awry, sundering the sisters' lives and leaving Bertie with what seems like a double betrayal. Bertie marries, but her union is marred by bitterness and the coldness she shows to her two daughters. And Mabel, who doesn't marry, kidnaps and keeps a child who has been sexually abused. In alternating chapters, Jensen chronicles the difficult, often traumatic lives of four generations of women who descend from the Fischer sisters. There's plenty of drama, much of it illuminating the changing roles of women in society over a span of 70 years. Jensen nicely integrates history and themes such as the enduring ravages of war on men who fight. While the legacy of Mabel's courageous sacrifice and Bertie's barely suppressed anger is "a map of sadness and loss," it's brightened by their resilience and the promise seen in the youngest members of the family. (Nov. 8) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

All families have secrets, and those kept by the Fischer family are particularly shameful and life changing. In 1927, sisters Mabel and Bertie are separated for life when their stepfather commits suicide and Mabel runs off with Bertie's boyfriend. Following each sister, this multigenerational novel introduces readers to two strong matriarchal families. While the women in each generation fight with their mothers to follow their individual dreams, one granddaughter, aptly named Grace, finally learns most of the family history and creates a necklace that reunites the two clans in a work of beauty. VERDICT Set against the dramatic backdrop of American history from the Great Depression into the 21st century, this beautiful but disturbing debut novel, inspired partly by the author's own family history, will engage readers of well-written, thought-provoking women's fiction.--Andrea Kempf, formerly with Johnson Cty. Community Coll. Lib., Overland Park, KS (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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