From Publishers Weekly
McInerney's sixth novel depicts the tensions that emerge between five sisters as they struggle to establish their own identities. The book opens in 1979, in Tasmania, Australia, just before the lives of Juliet, Miranda, Eliza, Sadie, Clementine and their father, Leo, are irrevocably altered by 16-year-old Clementine's announcement that she's pregnant. The sisters and widower Leo make a pact to raise the child until it begins elementary school. Despite their unyielding love for baby Maggie, the pact is an enduring challenge for the sisters (who range in age from 16 to 23), who each yearn for independence. Leo, however, sees Maggie's birth as the perfect excuse to keep all his daughters under the same roof. When Maggie is five, one sister's colossal error in judgment ruptures the tenuous familial bonds. The consequences play out as the novel fast-forwards 20 years, with the family fractured and Maggie living in New York City. McInerney (The Alphabet Sisters
; Family Baggage
; etc.) has written a sprawling tale, though the material is relatively light. Straightforward prose (leavened with spots of humor and upbeat, witty exchanges) keeps the narrative moving along. It should be a crowd-pleaser. (Sept.)
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With the arrival of baby Maggie, the Faraday household increases to six girls and one hapless father, yet there is a seventh Faraday woman whose absence is a keenly felt burden. That Tessa Faraday died too young, leaving her husband to raise their five daughters, was unbearable enough, but when teenage Clementine, the youngest, announces she's pregnant and that she intends to raise the baby with her sisters' help, Tessa's absence becomes overwhelming. Though they have been locked away since her death, Tessa's private diaries prove to be an irresistible lure to Sadie, who betrays the family trust by reading them in hopes that their mother, who had achieved iconic status in death, would reveal the secrets of perfect motherhood. What Sadie discovers, however, ends up shattering the family. Decades later, it falls to Maggie to put the Faraday clan back together again. Crossing the globe, from Australia to Manhattan to Dublin, McInerney's bewitching multigenerational saga lavishly and lovingly explores the resiliency and fragility of family bonds. Haggas, Carol