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The Weird Sisters
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The Weird Sisters

3.6 511
by Eleanor Brown

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This is the "delightful" (People) New York Times bestseller that's earned raves from Sarah Blake, Helen Simonson, and reviewers everywhere-the story of three sisters who love each other, but just don't happen to like each other very much...

Three sisters have returned to their childhood home, reuniting the eccentric Andreas family.


This is the "delightful" (People) New York Times bestseller that's earned raves from Sarah Blake, Helen Simonson, and reviewers everywhere-the story of three sisters who love each other, but just don't happen to like each other very much...

Three sisters have returned to their childhood home, reuniting the eccentric Andreas family. Here, books are a passion (there is no problem a library card can't solve) and TV is something other people watch. Their father-a professor of Shakespeare who speaks almost exclusively in verse-named them after the Bard's heroines. It's a lot to live up to.

The sisters have a hard time communicating with their parents and their lovers, but especially with one another. What can the shy homebody eldest sister, the fast-living middle child, and the bohemian youngest sibling have in common? Only that none has found life to be what was expected; and now, faced with their parents' frailty and their own personal disappointments, not even a book can solve what ails them...

Editorial Reviews

The three Andreas sisters grew up in the cloistered household dominated by their Shakespearean professor father, a prominent, eccentric academic whose reverence for the Bard left its imprint on his daughters' names: Rosalind (As You Like It), Bianca (The Taming of the Shrew), and Cordelia (King Lear). The siblings eventually left home and escaped their ponderous monikers with nicknames, but their mother's medical maladies brings them back. Before long, their unwelcome reunion reveals that they all have problems: Rose is force-feeding a troubled relationship; Bean is entangled in a big city case of embezzlement; and unmarried Cordy is pregnant. Eleanor Brown's first fiction has justly won praise as "thought-provoking... poignant... sparkling and devourable."

Publishers Weekly
You don't have to have a sister or be a fan of the Bard to love Brown's bright, literate debut, but it wouldn't hurt. Sisters Rose (Rosalind; As You Like It), Bean (Bianca; The Taming of the Shrew), and Cordy (Cordelia; King Lear)--the book-loving, Shakespeare-quoting, and wonderfully screwed-up spawn of Bard scholar Dr. James Andreas--end up under one roof again in Barnwell, Ohio, the college town where they were raised, to help their breast cancer–stricken mom. The real reasons they've trudged home, however, are far less straightforward: vagabond and youngest sib Cordy is pregnant with nowhere to go; man-eater Bean ran into big trouble in New York for embezzlement, and eldest sister Rose can't venture beyond the "mental circle with Barnwell at the center of it." For these pains-in-the-soul, the sisters have to learn to trust love--of themselves, of each other--to find their way home again. The supporting cast--removed, erudite dad; ailing mom; a crew of locals; Rose's long-suffering fiancé--is a punchy delight, but the stage clearly belongs to the sisters; Macbeth's witches would be proud of the toil and trouble they stir up. (Jan.)
Kirkus Reviews

In a debut about growing up, secrets and failures are predictably resolved when a family crisis reunites three bright but unhappy siblings.

As the daughters of a Shakespeare scholar, the Andreas girls are no strangers to the Bard. Oldest Rosalind (known as Rose) is named after the heroine of As You Like It, Bianca (Bean) has the name of the tamed shrew's sister and daddy's girl Cordelia (Cordy) bears the name of King Lear's devoted youngest. Their "weird"ness refers to Macbeth, although the three are far from witch-like, just averagely bookish women grappling with their unusual upbringing and some dubious adult choices. Drawn home to Barnwell, Ohio, because of their mother's breast cancer, the sisters reassemble uneasily in their parents' house—footloose Cordy, now pregnant; self-hating, morally dubious Bean, sacked after embezzling from her New York employers; and overly dutiful Rose. Quirky and perky, Brown's narrative uses light comedy to balance the serious life issues. The family's habit of quoting Shakespeare at every turn is less amusing, and there's also the curious plural narrative voice—"our sister," "our parents,"—seemingly the collective point of view of all three daughters. The story itself is a lengthy account of the women facing their demons, assisted by saintly parents, friends and neighbors who offer jobs, reassurance and romance. All's well that ends well.

Readable, upmarket, non-mold-breaking escapism.

Ron Charles
A family drama, gracefully costumed in academic garb and lit with warm comedy, 'tis a consummation devoutly to be wished…if you know a Stratfordian who's always quoting the Bard, get thee to a bookstore…Brown is such a clever writer, and she's written such an endearing story about sisterly affection and the possibilities of redemption, that it's easy to recommend The Weird Sisters.
—The Washington Post
The Boston Globe
The Cleveland Plain Dealer
Brown writes sweetly of the transition so many adults struggle to make before their parents' eyes, from children to caretakers themselves.
-The Boston Globe
-Library Journal
"Lovely...This novel should appeal to Shakespeare lovers, bibliophiles, fans of novels in academic settings, and stories of sisterhood. The narration is a creative and original blending of the three 'Weird Sisters' as one."
-The Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Brown writes sweetly of the transition so many adults struggle to make before their parents' eyes, from children to caretakers themselves."
From the Publisher
"Irresistible." — The Boston Globe

"Lovely...This novel should appeal to Shakespeare lovers, bibliophiles, fans of novels in academic settings, and stories of sisterhood. The narration is a creative and original blending of the three 'Weird Sisters' as one." — Library Journal

"Brown writes sweetly of the transition so many adults struggle to make before their parents' eyes, from children to caretakers themselves." — The Cleveland Plain Dealer

Library Journal
Sibling love and sibling rivalry are the keys to Brown's (www.eleanor-brown.com) debut novel, which revolves around three sisters each named after a Shakespearean character—Rose (Rosalind), Bean (Bianca), and Cordy (Cordelia)—who simultaneously return to their childhood home, ostensibly to care for their ailing mother. While there is some predictability, the characters are complex enough to give the novel depth. Brown employs multiple narrative methods to tell each woman's story, sliding in and out of the third and first person with admirable skill. Actress/narrator Kirsten Potter controls these shifts well and brings the town and people of Barnwell to life. An entertaining book recommended for all fiction lovers. [The Amy Einhorn: Penguin hc was recommended for "Shakespeare lovers, bibliophiles, fans of novels in academic settings, and stories of sisterhood," LJ 10/1/10.—Ed.]—Joyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo

Product Details

Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

Nancy Pearl
"Here's what I adored about this book: the first person plural narrative voice (I can still hear it in my head), its realistic take on the pleasures and pangs of sisterly relationships, and a cast of complex, three dimensional characters who love reading but find that real life sometimes doesn't fit neatly - or can't be solved - within the pages of a novel.” --(Nancy Pearl, author of BOOK LUST and BOOK LUST TO GO)
From the Publisher

"Even if you don't have a sister, you may feel like you have one after reading this hilarious and utterly winsome novel. Eleanor Brown skillfully ties and then unties the Gordian knot of sisterhood, writing with such knowingness that when the ending came, and the three Andreas sisters—who had slunk home for a rest from themselves only to find to their horror their other two sisters there as wel—emerge, I sighed the guilty sigh of pleasure and yes, of recognition."
– Sarah Blake, best-selling author of The Postmistress

"At once hilarious, thought-provoking and poignant, this sparkling and devourable debut explores the roles that we play with our siblings, whether we want to or not. The Weird Sisters is a tale of the complex family ties that threaten to pull us apart, but sometimes draw us together instead."
– J. Courtney Sullivan, best-selling author of Commencement

"The Weird Sisters is a chronicle of real women, because it tells the truths of sisters. Eleanor Brown has written a compelling novel about love, despair and birth order—the themes the Bard himself had claimed and burnished."
– Min Jin Lee, author of Free Food for Millionaires

"Brown's knockout debut about the ties that bind us, the stories we tell ourselves, and the thorny tangle of sisterhood was so richly intelligent, heartbreakingly moving and gorgeously inventive, that I was rereading pages just to see how she did her alchemy. Brilliant, beautiful, and unlike anything I've ever read before."
– Caroline Leavitt, author of Pictures of You and Girls in Trouble

Meet the Author

Eleanor Brown's writing has been published in anthologies, magazines, and journals. She holds an M.A. in Literature and works in education in South Florida but will be living in the Denver area, Colorado at pub date.

Customer Reviews

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The Weird Sisters 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 511 reviews.
crazyladyteacher More than 1 year ago
I tell my students all the time that one of their rights as a reader is to not have to finish a book that they are not enjoying. I am invoking that right for myself. I have made it to page 82, and I feel like I am forcing myself to pick this book up and read a couple more pages at a time. Rose is a word I can't type into this review. Bean is selfish. Cordy is just showing up in the story after her introduction in chapter one, and at this point, I don't care about her or her hairy legs and dirty feet. I keep waiting for some complex interplay between the sisters that makes their relationship interesting, but I'm not finding it. Honestly, I found the junior high read The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet a much more interesting Shakespearean connected read. Ignore the hype and pass on this one.
bookgirl1965 More than 1 year ago
I was so excited to get this one. The blurbs and reviews made it sound so good, yet I was disappointed to say the least. If there was a climax to this story, I missed it. The ending was flat and left me with a ho hum feeling. Wasted money.
NoseInABookLA More than 1 year ago
I fell in love with this book from the start. Eleanor Brown is an artist with words, conveying gorgeous images that bring each of her main characters to vivid life. I loved spending time with the Andreas sisters, and their story was so beautifully compelling that I know I'll dive back in again and again. I recommend this without reservation -- what a wonderful book!
BLUEEYEBE More than 1 year ago
I felt connected to the characters from the beginning. I'm usually drawn to books that are about readers or writers or authors so this one was right up my alley. I related to the three sisters' love of reading and how they lost themselves in a good book and enjoyed the sad stories of each and how they managed to overcome and succeed in a better life. The three sisters had different outlooks on life, three different attitudes and differed in their opinions on every debatable subject which made it interesting and real. Their mother needed them in a crisis of battling breast cancer so they all moved home where they bonded and learned much and shared memories in the loving flashbacks. This is a heartwarming story about love, family, lessons we all learn in life and bonding. I recommend highly for all.
Cheryl Simpson More than 1 year ago
Great story, excellent writer, I did not want it to end!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book! The characters are easy to relate to, and the story kept me going. I found to be good from beginning to end. I hope we see more from this author!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautiful writing, compelling characters, vivid imagery--I loved this book. I was so sad when it ended--wanted to linger in it longer!
bookchickdi More than 1 year ago
There is nothing more delightful than reading a new author and falling in love with her novel. Amy Einhorn Books, published by G.P. Putnam's Sons, a member of Penguin Group, has a fabulous track record of introducing me to such new authors as including Kathryn Stockett (The Help), Mark Mustian (The Gendarme), Sarah Blake (The Postmistress) and Kelly O'Connor McNees (The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott). The newest release from Amy Einhorn Book from Eleanor Brown, The Weird Sisters, and she emerges as one of the brightest new voices in literature. The tag line of the novel is "See, we love each other. We just don't happen to like each other very much." That line alone on the cover just grabs the reader right away. Rosalind (called Rose) is the eldest daughter, a math professor who has finally found love after many years alone. Her fiance is living in England temporarily for a teaching position, so Rose is living at home in their small town in Ohio, taking care of her mother who has just been diagnosed with cancer. Rose is the dutiful daughter, the one who had always kept the entire family in line. Bianca, (called Bean) the glamorous middle daughter, was living in New York City and slunk home after her employer caught her stealing money from them. The youngest free spirit daughter, Cordelia (called Cordy), also turns up home with a secret after years of living from hand to mouth, traveling the country following itinerant bands. Their father is a Shakespeare professor, thus the girls names. He is pretty much the absent minded professor, and I loved the fact that his character functions as almost a Greek chorus, tossing in Shakespearean quotes to comment on the plot. You didn't need to know Shakespeare to appreciate this book, and most of the quotes will be familiar to anyone who read it in high school (ie- all of us). Early on in the story, Bean's boss says to her after he catches her stealing, "You may have lost your way more than a little bit, but I believe you can find your way back. That's the trick. Finding your way back." And that is the theme of this amazing book- the Weird Sisters finding their way back. (The Weird Sisters were the name of the witches in MacBeth). The sisters spend the summer figuring out how they got where they are, and how to get where they should be. Rose has to decide if she can leave the only home she has known to be with the man she loves. Will her family survive without her holding them together? Bean left the excitement and loneliness of the big city; can she admit her shame and start over? Cordy has always been the baby of the family; can she take responsibility for her own life? Brown's does a terrific job with her characters. She describes the mother as "capricious, likely to be struck by a whim to prepare a four-course meal on an ordinary Wednesday, and then struck by equally strong whims to wander off in the middle of that preparation and take a soothing bath, or pick up the book that she had been reading earlier and involve herself in that world for a while until the pasta water boils away and the smoke alarm (hopefully) brings her back to reality." The sisters are the best drawn characters, but even the minor ones- the coffee shop owner, the professor Bean has an affair with, Rose's fiance, the pastor- all are well developed. Sometimes in novels like this, the male characters are stock, but not here. Care is taken with each of them. The wri
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book and bought it, intrigued by the Shakespeare twist and the relationships. And at first it was good, they had a whole chapter written like a play...but it all went downhill. It seemed like nothing really happened, and they seemed to say more about their intelligence and how much they read then show it. I found the family relationships extremely contrived and unrealistic, they didn't resonate with me at all. In the end I wanted to throw the book in a shredder, or at least bury it so it couldn't pollute literature. Buying this book is regretful, and I'm sorry that it continues to sit on my shelf, and I hope that people don't buy this and feel the same regret.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book not only had a depressing story line, the characters were very flat, led by the father who obviously was not able to speak in anything but bard (which got REALLY annoying by the end of the book). There were no family dynamics - each person seemed to have their own agenda. Would not recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderfully, beautifully, artistically written! I savored every word of this book. The three sisters were such dynamic characters and I could relate to each of them. A fabulous read, highly recommended!
happyhamster More than 1 year ago
Excellent character development and an inciteful view into the complex relationships of sisters and families. A compelling storyline. I'm looking forward to Ms Brown's next effort.
TEST NOOKUSER More than 1 year ago
I loved every moment of this book. Not only is the story beautifully told, but the characters are relatable. Simply wonderful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I waited 6 months to get this book on a library hold list. It didn't take me long to discover that I needn't have ordered at all. The main thing I've felt in trying to read this frivelous unrealistic book is "the trivialization of important issues." The sisters and their parents deal with cancer, criminal behavior, unplanned pregnancy and a host of missed communications with an aplomb to be envied, if it were not so shallow in its treatment of life's real problems. To say it's a beach read is to flatter this very silly book. The front fly leaf carries this message: "There is no problem a library card can't solve." Be forewarned!
Tribute_Books_Reviews More than 1 year ago
If realism in fiction is an art form, then characterization is the piece de resistance. Getting it right is oh so hard to achieve. Stereotyping is a common pitfall, one-dimensional personalities are abundant. But when the essence of a flesh and blood person is transferred to the page, the result is pure magic. Make no mistake, a fully actualized character does not have to be likeable. In fact, how many people are completely honorable when it comes to dissecting a real life? Would the sum total of anyone's actions, desires and motives pass such a litmus test? In Eleanor Brown's The Weird Sisters, a trio of adult women are brilliantly captured as living, breathing human beings - snarky moments, bad decisions and all. Perceived failure permeates the psyche. All three sisters feel that they are not living up to expectations. Over the course of a summer, they all return home seeking refuge from the world only to find that their mother is battling for her life. Her illness may bring them under the same roof, but they have a lot of individual issues to resolve before they can come together in any meaningful way. Rose is terrified of change. She becomes immobilized when confronted with the dilemma of bravely starting a new life with her fiance or clinging to the safety of the familiar. She still lives and works in the same hometown as her parents, and her obstinate loyalty in remaining close to them hinders her ability for growth. Her dedication, while selfless, leaves her stifled. She would rather accept the consistency of a humdrum existence rather than push the envelope. Will she seize the opportunity for love and happiness or let it slip through her fingers? Bianca, a.k.a. Bean, is a Manhattan socialite in retreat. Her designer handbag didn't contain the cash needed to maintain her expensive lifestyle. Drowning in debt, she leaves everything behind succumbing to depression. She pulls the covers of her childhood bed over her head in disgrace. Small town life does not sit well with her and her pride is further wounded when she ventures out to the local watering hole alone with disastrous results. While trying to keep her financial predicament a secret, she goes on to betray the trust of a longtime friend. Will she sink deeper into immorality or will she find the inner strength to rally and pull her life together? Cordelia is the free spirit. Sometimes she doesn't wash. She is known to take off for months at a time with no one knowing her exact whereabouts. She's a wanderer, a drifter. Freedom is her religion. Being tied down isn't for her, until she realizes she is pregnant. Her new found sense of responsibility pricks her conscience. She's alone, and she's scared. For the first time, she wonders if she can make a sustained commitment to anyone or anything. Will she run again or will she finally put down roots - in of all places - her hometown? Literary buffs will appreciate the varied allusions to Shakespeare throughout. From the girls' names to their father's frequent outpourings of soliloquy, the Bard, himself, is cast in a supporting role. His immortal words intertwined with Brown's modern approach fuse together forming a literary style all its own. Overall, reality is anything but weird.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i have weird sisters Toooooooooooooo From:nyrmak^_^
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This author knows how to appeal to a woman's heart. And how to toy with her emotions! Very relatable and enjoyable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If my father talked to me in quotes like that all the time, I'd have left home as soon as I blew out the candles on my 18th birthday cake.   Such a weak plot, awful characters.  It was like it was written by a 7th grader with an over active imagination  OK, maybe an 8th grader.  I try  always to finish a book even though I don't like it.   This one was really hard.   But I did it.   Don't think I would have if I had another book waiting for me.   Save your money. . 
K_Barr More than 1 year ago
The Weird Sisters is a book about self-acceptance, self-awareness and growing up. I feel like I grew up a little bit more from reading it. The main characters, Rose, Bean, and Cordelia, are all flawed, unpleasant, and hard to get to know. But Brown shows readers more than the warts. She also shows us their pain, their guilt, and their strengths.  This is an honest and compassionate book. I highly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Eleanor Brown's The Weird Sisters is a deeply engaging debut novel. The narrator of the audiobook did a fabulous job bringing the characters to life. The voice of the story is compelling. I must admit that I was not sure which sister was telling the tale or if the perspective changed from time to time as I listened rather than read the book (and I tend to do other things while listening to audiobooks). A tale of relationships between siblings is not a new concept, but Eleanor Brown's take on these three sisters, t heir ethereal parents and life in a college town was unique. Rosalind, Bianca, and Cordelia, are named for Shakespearean heroines by their eccentric, Shakespearean professor father. These women may look alike, but they are very different. While they don&rsquo;t seem to like one another much (or perhaps too easily see one another's faults), they do truly care for each other and their parents.  The sisters return to their childhood home on the pretense of caring for their sick mother, but they are really hiding from the shambles they've made of their lives. The small, boring town they return to provides them with the support system they need to get their acts together. The sisters seem to define themselves in relation to the other siblings--the smart sister, the beautiful sister, the flakey sister--and they learn how to build a relationship with one another outside of those labels, let go of old rivalries and find their paths. I loved that the father was perpetually addressing the family in iambic pentameter and using Shakespeare quotes to answer their questions. Book junkies will revel in the scene where Bianca explains to an ex-boyfriend that she has plenty of time to read because he doesn't sit for hours in front a TV mindlessly watching. She always has a book on her so that way when she's at line in the store or in a waiting room she can just pull out her book and start reading.
DearTrillium More than 1 year ago
I love the voice in this story. The book is written in first person plural. Which creates a unique voice for the story progression.  I have been craving for another book like this one since  I finished it. 
Mittymitt More than 1 year ago
Decent read! I Could kind of relate to the story and it's characters.  Quick read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago