Kiernan tests the bonds of sisterhood and goes to the well of family secrets and stunted connections in her easy-reading if maudlin debut. Sisters Estella and Connie grew apart early-Estella, a genius, began college at 12 and was the apple of their father's eye, while the younger Connie was blessed with good looks and a charming personality. Now in their 40s and after eight years of not speaking, the sisters are forced together to pack up their childhood home in Florida as their mother prepares to sell it. There are amends to be made and old wounds to be opened, and Kiernan handles the melodramatic moments with a light touch, though her prose can wander into purple territory (""It was as if we were both sunburned, flinching and shrieking at every touch, real or imagined""). Chapters that alternate between the sisters' perspectives reveal the miscommunication between them, and though Connie's self-deprecating humor keeps the novel from becoming too heavy, the climax is overdone and drawn-out. Still, it is a moving novel about forgiveness and the fragility of family.
Reviewed on: 03/05/2007 Release date: 03/01/2007 Genre: Fiction