Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyPainful sibling rivalry and the legacy of a dysfunctional family are the focus of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Franks's sensitive, affecting first novel. The death of strong-willed matriarch Lydia Woolsey forces her daughter Augusta to leave her job at a Los Angeles talent agency and return to the Hudson River Valley to save the family's failing apple orchard. Nellie, her insecure and passive sister, both resents Augusta's sudden appearance and welcomes Augusta's forceful energy. Complicating matters is the presence of William Hurley, who broke Augusta's heart in high school and is now Nellie's confidant. While Augusta worries about whether she's illegitimate, William fights his attraction to both sisters, and the family discovers that the farm's misshapen apples are due to the illegal dumping of chemicals by an electronics company. Eventually, it is Lydia's words, posthumously read in her diaries, that heal Augusta and Nellie by showing that their wounds are caused not by their own inadequacies, but by the distorted myths and harmful legends passed on through the generations of their overbearing family. Franks earnestly and perceptively confronts real emotional situations, rendering the sisters' relationship in highly credible fashion. (Sept.)
Library Journal - Library JournalTwo sisters struggle to overcome a crippling past in Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Franks's first novel. Augusta is the golden girl, attractive and successful; Nellie the clownish, awkward sister who never left home. When mother Lydia dies, Augusta returns to the family's historic home in the Hudson Valley. Lydia's legacy of 40 years' worth of diaries sends the sisters on a treasure hunt through the past in an attempt to come to terms with the secrets that have warped their lives. The truth offers them a chance to finally grow up. Augusta and Nellie are quirky, strong, well-realized characters whose transformation gives the novel real mo mentum. Vivid prose makes the skillfully evoked childhood memories hauntingly real, giving the story added depth. A mov ing and rewarding novel. Recommended. Literary Guild selection.-- Beth Ann Mills, New Rochelle P.L., N.Y.
- HarperCollins Publishers
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