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Kirkus Reviews Two sets of sisters reunite tensely on a Mediterranean island to honor their dead patriarch. Constance arrives at her family's dilapidated house in Santerre brandishing her new boyfriend Jim, hoping that his presence will improve her rank in the household. She's always watched her older sister Isabelle garner all the compliments and is surprised when the intriguing next-door neighbor takes a liking to her instead. Isabelle is on the prowl, wounded from publicly losing her famous and charismatic husband to a younger fling. She butts heads with her English stepsister Lucy, another beautiful, strong-willed woman who grew up longing to usurp Isabelle for the role of her father's favorite daughter. Even as an adult, she refuses to believe he could ever have wronged them. Lucy's younger sister, the sensitive Jane, also smarting from losing her lover, knows better. The man in the middle of all this is the late Ross Wright, a schemer who went down in his heavily mortgaged plane, leaving his family literally to pay the price for his poor investments. His third wife, Odette, certainly feels the burden. Forced to leave their New York apartment and move back to her native France, she too finds herself on the island, privy to the familial and culture clashes. Newcomer McAndrew realistically relays sibling love and tension as the sisters bicker with and comfort one another in the days leading up to their father's memorial service. The narrative takes some crazy turns that might seem preposterous in any other story, but McAndrew's skill is such that you buy every minute of the partner swapping, surprise appearances, quirky locals, and discovered treasure that pop up on the way to epiphanies about dear old dad, relationships, and life in general. A smooth, engrossing debut.
Newsday Masterful...If you're reminded of the novels of Diane Johnson, then you're on the right track...a wry, comic voice and a sharp eye.
Entertainment Weekly Perfectly formed characters...their couplings and uncouplings make for a fun French farce.
Posted March 13, 2010
Very fast read about a stepfamily who converge on a French island to spread their patriarch's ashes. As they gather, the author slowly unfolds the offbeat personalities of each: four grown sisters and their partners, their mother and her husband, the father's second wife and a young niece. These characters come from very different backgrounds and it feels like the author just throws them together to verbally spare, snipe and annoy each other. Each woman seems desperate as she juggles for attention, power and to have her own selfish desires met. At times this book plods along slowly, concentrating too much on the petty spats and silly arguments but then the book takes an unexpected turn as two sisters accidentally trip over their father's secret life. When he died, he left some loose ends which forces the daughters to do business with dangerous and deadly thieves. This part adds a nice detour away from the otherwise self-absorbed characters. The end of the book is silly and ridiculous. A follow-up epilogue tells how the sisters ultimately end up and provides a quick wrap-up to the book. It felt to me like the author had to meet her deadline, so she just slapped together this conclusion. Overall, I would NOT recommend this book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 28, 2004
This book was such a waste of time - none of the characters (or the writing, for that matter) were appealing AT ALL. They all got on my nerves and confused me with their lightning-quick changes in attitude, personality, etc. I would NOT recommend this book to anyone.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 24, 2004
When family patriarch Ross Wright died in a plane crash, he left behind plenty of debts for his extended families to cope with. Still, the gathering of his female offspring from several marriages arrives at the Mediterranean island of Santerre to pay tribute to him in a special memorial............................. Constance hopes that her boyfriend makes her look good with her family though she doubts she will attain the bar of Isabelle, her older sister. Isabelle is filled with resentment since her famous spouse dumped her for a younger model. Stepsister Lucy still competes with Isabelle for the role of departed dad¿s favorite by insisting that Ross was the greatest father and would never harm them. Isabelle only half fights to keep her throne because she is seeking a new stud, preferable the guy next door. He seems shockingly interested in Constance. Lucy¿s younger sister Jane hurts from the end of a relationship, but that and her dad¿s death do not color her reality as she sees that he left them to clean up his mess. Ross¿ four adult children pay their respects by arguing, fussing, and fighting with some comforting as only sisters can do...................................... Though the plot meanders, the strength of author Megan McAndrew lies in her ability to have the reader believe that all the male swaps, brawls, and hugs are normal family relationships. The sisters and key supporting players including dear departed dad seem so real that readers will believe that they are there to pay respect to Ross. This is a fabulous debut from a writer who has created a powerfully interesting character study of four ferocious females fighting at their father¿s funeral........................ Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.