cover image The Girls Club

The Girls Club

Sally Bellerose. Bywater/Bloody Brits (, $14.95 trade paper (296p) ISBN 978-1-932859-78-2

In her debut novel, Bellerose deftly tells the story of Cora Rose, Marie, and Renee LaBarre, a trio of working-class sisters in small-town Massachusetts who are best friends, mortal enemies, and forever loyal to each other. Told from youngest sister Cora Rose's perspective, the story begins in the late 1960s and wends through the 70s as the sisters each graduate from high school and come to terms with a number of difficult issues%E2%80%94ranging from teen pregnancy to parenting to health issues to coming to terms with their sexuality, all liberally seasoned with a healthy dose of Catholic guilt. Throughout, the sisters%E2%80%94as well as their boyfriends, husbands, and girlfriends%E2%80%94muddle through with hope and love. Bellerose's sympathetic characters are all the more appealing and realistic for their lack of perfection. No matter what one's view of sexuality, the portrayal of Cora Rose, a lesbian struggling to deny her realities to everyone including herself, is riveting and at times heartbreaking. A fast-paced, well-written tale with characters who will linger in the reader's memory long after the final page is turned. (Sept.)