cover image Tea Cups & Tiger Claws

Tea Cups & Tiger Claws

Timothy Patrick. Country Scribbler, $15.99 paper (435p) ISBN 978-0-9893544-0-0

In Patrick's uneven novel, the lives of triplet girls born in 1916 take very different paths after a wealthy woman adopts daughters Abigail and Judith from poor, earthy Ermel Railer and her husband, Jeb. The third sister, Dorthea, is not as lucky—and eventually she ends up in a work camp. However, over the next half-century, the sisters' paths cross as Dorthea embarks on a relentless and increasingly vicious quest for the life her sisters obtained. While the book's theme of true merit versus apparent virtue is fascinating, the novel suffers from poor plotting and underdeveloped characters. Additionally, the story's climax is implausible, melodramatic, and drawn-out. In the end, these deficiencies will prevent readers from becoming fully engaged in the sisters' story.