Book Review: The Sister Season by Jennifer Scott
Secrets and Lies Can Come Wrapped in Pretty Paper
To say that The Sister Season should be classified as women's fiction is false. This is a novel which would include men, but author Jennifer Scott uses three sisters in her debut novel.
Beginning on Dec. 21, Elise Yancey is in the Christmas spirit by decorating her family's farmhouse from top to bottom in anticipation of the arrival of her three daughters. It's something she does every year but none of them ever come home. Her husband, Robert, just shrugs it off as one of Elise's fantasies.
This year the girls will be home but not for Christmas. They'll be coming back for the funeral of their father.
All three daughters are scattered throughout the country and the first to arrive is Claire. She's been away from the Missouri home for the last decade after a public blowup with her father and a scandalous family rumor has also kept her away. She's not looking forward to being at the homestead but is also running away from a situation back home in Los Angeles.
Next to arrive is the oldest, Julia, along with her teen aged son, Eli. Julia's the brains in the family tree and lets her mother know they would have been there earlier but along the way Eli was having issues. As a college professor she can deal with her students but not her own son.
The last group to arrive is middle child Maya and her family (consisting of husband Bradley and their two under 10 year olds). Maya has always strived to be the perfect wife and mother, but not the perfect sister to Claire in later years.
Quite frankly, the girls are upset that their deceased father has brought them together as they would all be better off leading their own lives without even thinking of being home. Each carries their own set of baggage and grudges towards one another that it seems as though a planted bomb is ready to go off at any second.
Elise tries to ignore the tension amongst the siblings and wants to make this the best Christmas ever. The girls notice Elise's actions and are concerned since she hasn't shown any sign of grief. She just wants everyone to be happy.
As the story unfolds day by day, secrets begin to come out and there's also a secondary story which involves Eli. His story ends each day and then the story picks up again in the morning with the main characters.
Mostly told in narrative (something I'm not a big fan of, but author Jennifer Scott does such a fantastic job that you really don't notice it) and when dialogue is used its pure dialogue. Nothing is left out to confuse the reader as both narrative and dialogue push the story forward. Another thing Scott uses are multiple flashbacks which further enhances the story.
Secrets, lies and you name it come home for Christmas and as this story is played out on the printed page similar stories are being played out in real life.
The Sister Season is truly a work of remarkable writing and not only are you drawn into the characters lives, but I wouldn't be surprised if you start to find yourself reflecting back on your life.