Sunday, April 26, 2020

The Sweeney Sisters

The Sweeney Sisters by Lian Dolan
HarperCollins; 4/28/20
eBook review copy; 304 pages

The Sweeney Sisters by Lian Dolan is a recommended novel about sisters, a recently deceased famous father, and family secrets.

When Maggie, Eliza, and Tricia Sweeney receive the news that their father and famous author Bill Sweeney has unexpectedly died, the three sisters all return to Southport, Connecticut to plan the funeral, wake, and press release.  Their poet mother, Maeve, passed away fifteen years earlier, leaving the girls with just their father. While he wasn't a perfect father, he is all they had. Liza. the oldest, is married with two children, still lives in Southport, and runs an art gallery. Maggie is an artist and free spirit who struggles with responsibilities. Tricia is a fierce, pragmatic lawyer in New York City.

After the wake, when Bill's best friend and lawyer, Cap, talks to the sisters about the estate he has two immediate concerns: the whereabouts of the memoir Bill has written and an even more shocking secret concerning the half-sister they didn't know about. There are numerous personal and legal ramifications involved with both of these concerns. It seems that six months earlier Washington, DC based journalist Serena Tucker had her DNA tested and the results said she was a 50% genetic match to Maggie Sweeney. The shocking revelation means that Serena, who grew up as a next door neighbor in Southport, was Bill's child too. Can the three Sweeney sisters add a fourth to their ranks and how will this new sister fit in?

The sisters are all depicted as very different individuals who have worked out their interpersonal relationships and the roles they all play when dealing with each other. They all have their own challenges to face, but they also seem to follow and perpetuate their assigned roles and their position in the family. The sisters are all developed characters and eventually experience some growth but still remain in their assigned family roles. This includes Serena, who views their roles while finding what could be her niche in the dynamics between the sisters.

This is a slow paced, predictable, breezy, sometimes provocative novel that is the epitome of a summer beach read - or perhaps currently on a porch or by an open window. The writing is descriptive and Dolan moves her plot along at an even pace. The story is told through alternating points-of-view, so you are privy to what each sister is thinking. There is not a lot of drama in the narrative, but there is an oscillating loyalty and some cunning schemes between the sisters. In the end, The Sweeney Sisters is a very enjoyable novel, but perhaps not remarkable or unforgettable.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.

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