The Weird Sisters – Eleanor Brown

Rosalind (Rose), Bianca (Bean) and Cordelia (Cordy) have much in common; their parents; their Shakespearean character names; their father who when he talks or writes  to them, peppers it with lines from the Bard’s plays; their love for each other; their dislike for each other and their ability to be weird. But are they really weird?

The Weird Sisters is a book which can offer the reader so much. It can be a simple tale of three sisters who having spent a number of years living apart are suddenly through differing circumstances, brought back together in their quiet sleepy academic town. As adults some of their traits have not changed, but they begin to see much in each other as they do in themselves. Their common bond to start off with is the illness of their mother, Rose has been the one who never went far from home and followed her father into academia although avoiding Shakespeare at all costs. Bean and Cordy have come back, their lives not as organised, structured and happy as Rose seems to be.

Through the book, you see the sisters start to interact with each other, with their parents and with themselves as they discover what they do want in life. The humorous anecdotes of past misdemeanours between them, past fights, past clothes are throughout the book. It brings a kind of pathos for the present circumstances of these three women. The relationship of these three was interesting, who was the more dominant, the more motherly, and the more independent or are all three all of these and these strengths come out when faced with whatever life throws at them.

Cleverly told in first person narrative by the sisters. You never know which sister is ‘talking’ it seems to move between all three, but not in a jarring manner, you just carrying on reading.  It might take a bit of getting used to begin with and I did perhaps think the voice was a fourth person, but it is a combination of all of them. It works so well, that I felt that these sisters were new friends to me and I was learning so much as I read.

This book will also appeal to those who have a love of books themselves and Shakespeare. The quotes throughout, and the use of the Bard as the definitive reference in life for these three women and their parents makes for amusing reading but also challenges the reader, to remember the Shakespeare or at least prompt them to think more about what he wrote and how relevant it was then as it is now. The love of books is a family theme which the sisters draw strength on. Television was not an option, books were and are scattered throughout the house. Pick one up half started in the kitchen and then finds another one in an adjoining room, half finished. The sisters seek solace in books and many readers will certainly relate to this, and books in various different genres become the turning point for at least one of the sisters.

All of these themes tie in so well together, perhaps as others have send the ending was a bit rushed but it is still a fantastic read. A must read for 2011. A book with so much to offer and one that you will also get so much out of.

Thank you very much to Amazon Vine for allowing me the opportunity to read this book. 

There is so much more I could write about this book, but to do so would probably give away so much. It reminded me of my days as an A Level student having to tackle Shakespeare, not my finest hour some might say. But actually I am rather fascinated by it all and enjoyed films and plays of his work and especially how much of his language and phrases of the time are common now in the everyday language. 

The other thing that was fascinating was the whole relationship between the sisters, fascinating for me as I am an only child. I do not understand siblings and the love as well as the competition. This book really let me see into that world with the three sisters,  it was a bit like being able to watch from the sidelines. Not that I ever wanted a sister, I always wanted an older brother, it took me a while to grasp that that would not happen, but a little girl could dream. 

The narrative of the book is so clever, and as I say in my review above I was slightly bothered by it and really did believe that a fourth sister was going to appear and create another storyline but I was so wrong once I realised all the Shakespeare references, the Weird Sisters could only be three (The Three Witches in Macbeth). This is a debut novel from Eleanor Brown and I think she is an author to watch out for, if this is the calibre of work she produces. 

Anyone else read this book? What did you think? Let me know. 

Please do check out Jane’s review here