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Her Sister's Shadow
     

Her Sister's Shadow

4.2 4
by Katharine Britton
 

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An emotionally powerful debut about two sisters who reconnect after nearly forty years of estrangement.

Renowned painter Lilli Niles is at home in her North London flat when she receives an unexpected call from her elder sister, Bea, who's at the family homestead in Whitehead, Massachusetts. Bea's husband has just died, and she'd like Lilli to fly home

Overview

An emotionally powerful debut about two sisters who reconnect after nearly forty years of estrangement.

Renowned painter Lilli Niles is at home in her North London flat when she receives an unexpected call from her elder sister, Bea, who's at the family homestead in Whitehead, Massachusetts. Bea's husband has just died, and she'd like Lilli to fly home to attend the funeral. There are reasons Lilli moved all the way to England to escape her older sister, reasons that have kept them estranged for decades. But something in Bea's voice makes Lilli think it's time to return to the stately house in New England she loved as a child, to the memory of the beloved younger sister they both lost. With Bea more fragile than Lilli remembered, maybe she can finally forgive Bea for a long-ago betrayal that has simmered between them for nearly forty years.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Shifting between present day and the late 1960s, two sisters confront their tragic past in Britton's touching debut. Successful artist and gallery owner Lilli Niles is living her dream in Hampstead, England, when her older sister, Bea, calls from White Head, Mass., their childhood home, with bad news: Bea's husband, Randall Marsh (who Lilli has secretly loved her whole life), has died unexpectedly. Although Lilli and Bea have been estranged for 40 years, Lilli returns to the states to accompany her sister to the funeral. Being back home leads her to confront events and decisions from her youth, revealing long-buried secrets and forcing everyone to reconsider not just the past but their entire lives. Britton seamlessly alternates between the two eras to unravel a tale of rivalry, tragedy, love, and the corruptibility of truth. Setting her tale against the lush beauty of coastal New England (a location that Britton tries a bit too hard to bring to life), Britton creates a touching, intricate account of painful memories that radically shape lives. (June)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780425241745
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/07/2011
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
1,360,592
Product dimensions:
5.05(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.86(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Katherine Britton teaches at Colby Sawyer College in central New Hampshire. She has a master's degree in creative writing from Dartmouth College and lives in Vermont.

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Her Sister's Shadow 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
RtBBlog More than 1 year ago
Review by Judy:Her Sister's Shadow, Katharine Britton's debut novel, will strike a familiar chord in the hearts of readers who have struggled through life hiding family secrets and nursing grudges and resentments that should have been put to rest years earlier. Lillie Niles, third of four daughters of a widowed mother who cannot deal with the realities of her life, shakes the dust of White Harbor from her feet but not from her mind. Unable to view Bea, her oldest sister, as anything but controlling, she considers Bea's marriage to the man she (Lillie) adores to be the final betrayal. Guilt stemming from her own act of betrayal, as well as shattering tragedies for which she feels somehow responsible, sends Lillie spiraling upward to the pinnacle of lonely success. Forty years later, when a now-widowed Bea asks her to come home, Lillie makes a reluctant pilgrimage to a place where happy memories were too soon overshadowed by dark ones. Ms. Britton has woven past and present into a seamless study of the human heart and its resilience in finding hope where none existed, understanding where a tangled web of lies prevailed, and strength to rebuild despite a determination not to do so.
MisfitGeek More than 1 year ago
This is a great book.  It started a bit slow for me but soon I was pulled into the story and engrossed in the family mystery fairly quickly.  It was obvious that there was a great deal of tension and hostility between Lilli and Bea and I was anxious to find out about the cause.  The chapters go back and forth in time and the story is “revealed” masterfully.  It is not fast paced but it is definitely a riveting tale.  I found that not everything was as obvious as I had assumed. The characters in the book are wonderfully complex.  It is told mainly from Lilli’s point of view but the author gives us tiny glimpses of the other sisters thoughts at key points.  Their relationships are realistic and just as complex as the characters themselves.  Their diversity added plenty of depth to the story. I would recommend this book highly.  It is a meaningful look at family dynamics and the unique bond of sisters.  The ending is surprising and satisfying.  You will not be disappointed in the time invested in reading this book.  Fantastic debut.  I will look forward to reading more from Ms. Britton.
Reviews-By-Ann More than 1 year ago
Her Sister’s Shadow is a lovely read. Britton’s prose felt effortless, the setting like an extra character, and the people so real I could almost feel them breathe. Bravo. The story delves deep into the sisters’ motivations and emotions and delivers a sense of truth and satisfaction to the reader. Britton’s debut has set the bar high. I look forward to her next book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago