Rating:

Reviewed by Jennifer Jensen

Though each of the Story sisters is vastly different from the other, they had a bond with one another that seemed unbreakable. A day that was just like any other until the unspeakable occurred altered the lives of Elv (the eldest Story sister) and Claire (the youngest Story sister), haunting them as they grew older. Elv retreats into the fantasy world of Arnelle, which she once shared with her sisters Claire and Meg (the middle Story sister). Claire becomes frightened of the world and is afraid to open her heart to love. Meg, unable to share her sisters’ dark secret, is lost amidst the chaos.

Single mother Annie is unable to reach the girls, especially Elv, who acts out her torment in ways that could destroy her entire future. Natalia, the girls’ grandmother, reaches out to each of them throughout their lives, offering comfort, hope, and sanctuary. Through despair, heartbreak, love, and loss the Story sisters change for the better, ultimately redeemed for the mistakes they made in their adolescences.

After discovering the unique and haunting poetic prose of Alice Hoffman several years ago, I was eager to read The Story Sisters. In my limited experience with her works, I find her novels to be either hit or miss. In this particular case, The Story Sisters read like a modern Gothic fairy tale. I was swept up in the imaginary land of Arnelle, where Elv escaped to avoid the horrors of her captive situation. I could see why the younger Story sisters both revered and feared her. Even at her worst moments, Elv was still charming and seductive. Claire, who blamed herself for Elv’s day-long absence, chose to shut herself off from the rest of the world. If she did not let herself experience emotions, she would not be able to be hurt again. Unfortunately with Meg, I did not feel I got to know her at all. Her character to me has been entirely forgettable, as I am almost positive she was intended to be. I would have liked to have gotten to know her even half as much as I feel I know Elv and Claire.

Each of the sections of this novel were prefaced by a few short paragraphs that foreshadowed the events to come. These italicized paragraphs were headed with one-word introductions including Follow, Iron, and Swan. They read to me like snippets of fairy tales, and added greatly to my enjoyment of The Story Sisters. If you enjoy hints of magic, strong characterization, and beautiful storytelling, TThe Story Sisters is something you will not want to miss.

Rating: 4/5

Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She occasionally dabbles with her own fiction writing, particularly with the Young Adult and Paranormal genres. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and daughter.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Broadway. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.