Note: I’m excited to be able to give away a free copy of The Bird Sisters with a bookplate signed by Rebecca! Just leave a comment on this post before midnight, Friday, April 15th to enter. I’ll choose a name at random and announce the winner on April 16th.

cover of The Bird Sisters“On a particularly low morning…”

This simple phrase near the beginning of Rebecca Rasmussen’s debut novel, The Bird Sisters, released to fly tomorrow, captures the almost fairy tale “once upon a time” quality of a place and two time periods and two unforgettable women. We first meet Milly and Twiss as elderly sisters, living together in the house where they grew up in Spring Green, Wisconsin. As the story unfolds, we journey back and forth through time on the wings of their memories.

Books give us this luxury of time travel and are valuable reminders that people are always more complex than they appear, that they are who they are for reasons we may never know, at least not in real life.  Just when we think we know a character and begin to judge his or her actions, we are taken by the hand to witness an old wound or a forgotten victory, a decision made for love or self-preservation, a long-held regret or grudge or sense of accomplishment, and we realize that we rarely know anyone at all, not really, maybe not even ourselves. And we become more compassionate in our lack of understanding.

Some random thoughts: The scene that touched me the most was one where Twiss finally gets “exactly what she always wanted.” The aspect of the writing that I admired the most was the dialogue, always fresh and unpredictable. Often, in novels, characters have endless meaningful and engaging conversations that bear little resemblance to our experience off the page. Milly and Twiss, however, talk with wit and candor to and at and past each other as siblings often do.

In this and other ways, The Bird Sisters is a story that manages both to be grounded in reality and to transcend it. When I turned the last page, I looked forward to returning to the beginning, eager to meet the elderly sisters all over again, this time having known them from the beginning, and, in turn, to meet the young girls, now knowing the women they would become. I wasn’t disappointed. Like the characters in fairy tales, Milly and Twiss, once you meet them, will never leave you. The Bird Sisters is a book to read and re-read.

Read and watch the author, editor, and publicist discuss the novel.

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