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Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson

The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson
Published by William Morrow ISBN 9780062682130
Hardcover, $26.99, 352 pages

I really enjoyed the last two books I read by Joshilyn Jackson- Somebody's Else's Love Story and The Opposite of Everyone. The characters pulled me in right away, and I love the setting of the stories in the South.

Jackson's latest novel, The Almost Sisters is also set in the South. Leia wrote a hugely popular comic book, Violence in Violet, a few years ago, a book with a decidedly feminist story. From that, she began a career illustrating other people's stories and became pretty much in demand.

At a comic convention, she meets a handsome "Batman" and has a one-night stand. That night results in her pregnancy. At the age of thirty-eight, this is not something Leia expected, and since she doesn't remember Batman's name, she can't even tell him about it.

Leia is summoned to her grandmother Birchie's home in small-town Alabama by townspeople concerned about Birchie's outburst at a church fish fry, an outburst that results in the church being turned upside down.

At the same time, Leia's perfect stepsister Rachel has just thrown her husband out of their home. Leia is shocked by this, as Rachel appears to have the perfect life. Rachel asks Leia to take her thirteen year-old daughter Lavender with Leia to Alabama while she tries to pick up the pieces.

Most of the story takes place in Birchie's small town, as Leia arrives to find her grandmother has a serious illness that effects her mental capacity as well as her body. Birchie's best friend and housemate Wattie has been hiding Birchie's illness from everyone, something that makes Leia very unhappy.

Fiction frequently uses secrets as a theme, and Jackson has a lot of them here- Leia hides her pregnancy, Rachel hides her marriage troubles, and Birchie and Wattie have more than a few secrets, including a whopper of a one that threatens to hurt many of them.

I love the setting of Birchville, a town founded by Birchie's ancestors. You get a real feeling of place here, and if you close your eyes, you can almost see Birchie's house, the church and the town square.

My favorite characters are Birchie and Wattie. I really wanted to know more about their younger days, how they got to be so close in a era when blacks and whites were not supposed to be friends, these two are closer than sisters. I would love a prequel to this story.

Fans of comic books (and other nerds as Leia frequently refers to herself) will have an added extra level of enjoyment here. Leia's comic Violence in Violet is dissected here in great detail, something I would have enjoyed more if I was into comic books. And Jackson's trademark Southern humor does shine through in Leia's character.

There is a lot here in The Almost Sisters- sisterly relationships, what makes a family, small town life, race relations in the South today and of course, the danger of keeping secrets. I can't say that I liked this one as much as her previous two books, but readers who enjoy a good family story set in the South will enjoy it.

Joshilyn Jackson's website is here.

Thanks to TLC Tours for putting me on Joshilyn Jackson's tour. The rest of her stops are here:

Tour Stops

Tuesday, July 11th: Book by Book
Wednesday, July 12th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Thursday, July 13th: bookchickdi
Friday, July 14th: Time 2 Read
Monday, July 17th: Tina Says…
Tuesday, July 18th: StephTheBookworm
Wednesday, July 19th: BookNAround
Thursday, July 20th: The Book Diva’s Reads
Friday, July 21st: Bibliotica
Monday, July 24th: A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, July 25th: Leigh Kramer
Wednesday, July 26th: Always With a Book
Thursday, July 27th: Ms. Nose in a Book
Thursday, July 27th: Wining Wife
Friday, July 28th: SJ2B House Of Books
Monday, July 31st: she treads softly

1 comment:

  1. I just put a hold on the audio version of this from my library - I'm looking forward to meeting all these characters!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.