From Publishers Weekly
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.
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Kiernan's debut novel tells the story of two all-but-estranged sisters, Estella and Connie, who grew apart after Estella was discovered to be a math prodigy at the age of seven. Now in their forties, the sisters come together to clean out their childhood home on the island of Big Dune. Connie, a married mother of two boys, has finally grown tired of her husband Luke's constant infidelity and is contemplating ending their marriage. Estella tutors college students in math and boards several of them in the house she shares with her boyfriend, Paul. Neither sister is looking forward to the task at hand, and when they arrive, they find things are just as strained between them as they feared they would be. Gradually they start opening up to each other, but as the rest of the family joins them on the island, Estella realizes that she has to make a confession that could end their newfound friendship. A warm, moving novel about the power of familial bonds. Kristine HuntleyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved