What’s it like living in the shadow of your father, a genius Shakespearean scholar and professor in the prestigious, yet small town institution of Barnwell College? How do you overcome the stereotypes and seemingly predestined sisterly roles of eldest, middle, and youngest? When is it time to admit that you’re a failure, go home, and start over? Probably about the time your mother discovers she has breast cancer and could use help and support of family.
As I’ve said before, I really love reading sister fiction. I’m blessed with a very close relationship with one of my sisters and don’t really know my other all that well. But still, there’s this…weird bond. Sisterly relationships are endlessly fascinating to me. Nurturing, competitive, mentors, rivals, friends, and so much more. The sisters at the heart of this novel are all those and more, as well.
All the sisters are named after Shakespearean women, given their father’s singular obsession with the Bard. Eldest is Rose (Rosalind from As You Like It), three years younger is Bean (Bianca, The Taming of the Shrew, and three years younger than her is Cordy (Cordelia, King Lear). My Shakespearean buff ex-husband would’ve probably been better apt to pinpoint the Bardic mistakes that other reviews have picked at, but I mostly found the peppered references either innocuous or well-placed.