BOOK TOUR REVIEW: Two Sisters by Mary Hogan
by Mary Hogan
Contemporary Fiction/Family Drama
One family, two sisters, a lifetime of secrets . . .
The third child in a family that wanted only two, Muriel Sullivant has always been an outsider. Short, dark-haired, and round, she worships her beautiful blond sister, Pia, and envies the close bond she shares with their mother, Lidia. Growing up in their shadow, Muriel believes that if she keeps all their secrets—and she knows plenty, outsiders always do—they will love her, too.
But that was a long time ago. Now an adult, Muriel has accepted the disappointments in her life. With her fourth-floor walk-up apartment and entry-level New York City job, she never will measure up to Pia and her wealthy husband, their daughter, and their suburban Connecticut dream home. Muriel would like nothing better than to avoid her judgmental family altogether. One thing she does quite well.
Until the day Pia shows up to visit and share devastating news that Muriel knows she cannot tell—a secret that will force her to come to terms with the past and help her see her life and her family in unexpected new ways.
Two Sisters is a powerful and poignant debut novel about two sisters—opposites in every way—as well as their mother and the secrets and lies that define them all.
MY THOUGHTS: 2.5 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
Although this book drew me in, I am not sure I could say exactly why. It took quite a long time for things to get rolling. I didn’t even find out the “shocking secret” until nearly halfway through the book, although I had an idea of what was coming. If I had known this book was going to be kind of like a Lifetime movie, I would have skipped it.
Muriel is the youngest daughter in a family with three children. Her older sister, Pia, has always been perfect and beautiful and just right for their mother. Her older brother Logan basically ignored her while he spent time with their dad. So Muriel is the odd girl out, and she’s always either overlooked or on the receiving end of cruelty–resulting in a pretty horrible childhood.
As an adult, she lives in Manhattan and is estranged from her siblings and parents. One day, Pia comes to her unexpectedly with some troubling news. Muriel begins to reflect back on her life and the relationships she has with her family members.
So much of this book made me cringe. As a mother and a sister, I could hardly believe the way Muriel was treated by her mother and sister. It was as if they actually hated her. The reasons were truly not clear to me. Muriel’s mother, Lidia, is a manipulative, selfish woman that always wants to convey that she’s in perfect control of her life, but in reality is just the opposite. Pia is unfortunately much like her.
The two sisters seemed to me to be written much older than their stated ages. Pia, as a grown woman, did something so stupid that probably led to the secret she reveals to her sister. I know this is a book, but I cannot see any woman with even a modicum of good sense to make the decision she did.
I liked the beginning where we got to know how the parents ended up together. It showed the first signs of how Lidia was as a person, and how her actions led to the way her life ended up and the way she raised her children. As the story went on, though, we got less of this interesting backstory, and the present was actually more boring to read about.
I’m not really happy with the way the book ended. I’m not sure that Muriel is making the right decision, but letting go of anger is always a good thing, I guess. I finished this book because I wanted to see if things got better, but it seemed to me that nothing really did.
About the Author
Mary Hogan is the NAPPA Award-winning author of seven young-adult books. Two Sisters is her first novel for adults. She lives in New York City with her husband, Bob, and their dog, Lucy.