Amazon Exclusive: Luanne Rice on The Geometry of Sisters
Luanne Rice is a New York Times bestselling author whose moving novels of love and family have inspired the devotion of readers everywhere. Rice began her writing career. She is the author of twenty-six novels, most recently Last Kiss, Light of the Moon, What Matters Most, The Edge of Winter, Sandcastles, and Summer of Roses. Rice lives in New York City and Old Lyme, Connecticut. See more of her books in the Luanne Rice Author Store.
I grew up in a triangle of sisters, the oldest of three girls. Invisible lines stretched between us, never quite equidistant. Within our tight threesome, one always felt a little left out. We told each other everything, except the occasional deep, dark secret. And when one learned the other two had known, it was a knife in the heart.
The Geometry Of Sisters tells of three sets of sisters, the amazing and treacherous ways they love and protect each other. It’s set in a New England prep school, on a cliff in Newport, Rhode Island. Newport, because my sisters and I lived there the year after our father died, and prep school because...
My youngest sister was (and is) brilliant and the most sensitive girl on earth. My mother taught at our junior high. It was a rough school, and some kids gave us a hard time for being a teacher’s daughters. My middle sister and I survived, but I decided our youngest sister needed a different environment. My father was sick, my mother preoccupied with his illness, so I felt it was up to me.
I researched private schools at our downtown library, got lost in catalogues promising fine academics, graceful architecture, rolling hills, tradition passed down from class to class, a sense of safety and enclosure. I thought somehow, in a school like that, my sister would be protected from life’s pain and dangers.
She was accepted to Miss Porter’s School with a full scholarship. She spent four years there, a test for our triangle. My middle sister and I would drive her to school, take her to the Farm Shop for lunch, find ways to keep us all close.
When she went to Deerfield for “Winterim,” a month-long winter study opportunity, she asked my middle sister up for the weekend and a dance. This was one of my left-out times. I could have invited myself along, but such is the delicate sensibility of sisterhood--it’s the asking that counts. Equally, there have been occasions I’ve excluded one sister or the other, put her in the middle, known that she felt hurt; sisters feel the shards of each other’s pain.
Life has taught me that the visible connection among sisters is no more intense and permanent than the unseen one. Welcome to the geometry of families. Are you part of a triangle, a straight line, a parallelogram, a circle? Are you a single point? Family members exist in relation to each other, not in bloodless planes, angles and lines, but in love, joy, hurt, and sorrow.
My father died in April the year my sister graduated from Miss Porter’s. Death made us sad and wild. The three of us moved to Newport--we left home, but stayed together. My sisters worked at a boatyard; I wrote fiction. We spent evenings on Thames Street and at Bannister’s Wharf. I met a boy with deep-sea eyes. He lived in his family’s warehouse on a cobblestone alley; he painted boats. We took walks.
My sisters and I were far from the protected enclosure of a New England boarding school, but how safe had it been, anyway? My father had died while she was a student there. Nothing could bring him back, life would soon take the three of us in different directions, and all those racing yachts and Australian sailors were an obstacle course of sorts.
But that summer I had a boat-painting friend, and my sisters and I lived under the same roof, and the first seeds of the story that would become The Geometry Of Sisters were planted. --Luanne Rice
(Photo © Gasper Tringale)
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The prolific Rice contemplates class, family and math in this disappointing outing. After her husband dies and her eldest daughter, Carrie, runs away, Maggie Shaw moves her remaining brood—level-headed Travis and troubled Beck—from Ohio to Newport, R.I., where she will teach English at the prestigious Newport Academy, where the kids also enroll. Apathetic Beck strikes up an easy friendship with Lucy, who hopes her mathematical prowess will somehow help her bring back her own dead father. Rice's simple writing style suits the kids well, but doesn't work as well with Maggie, who has mixed feelings about reconnecting with her estranged sister. All the while, Maggie continues to search for the missing Carrie, who eventually steps onto the page to deliver her side of the story. Beck warms up as the narrative progresses, but the plot becomes increasingly and pointlessly convoluted, lending a soap opera feel to an initially promising setup. It starts strong, but falters and never recovers. (Apr.)
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