The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
I think I was destined to read this book. Let's see...dysfunctional sister relationships, a father who teaches Shakespeare, and a mother battling cancer...what doesn't connect with my life??
Eleanor Brown's first novel is a winner. It's smart, sassy, thought-provoking, and well-written. The story revolves around the relationships between and amongst three sisters - Rosalind (As You Like It), Bianca (Taming of the Shrew), and Cordelia (King Lear). Told through both real time and flashbacks to their childhood, we see the history of their relationships, not only with one another, but with their parents as well. All three have some similarities with their Shakespearian namesakes. And while the entire family likes to throw out quotes from the plays at random, it is not necessary to be familiar with Shakespeare, or even to like him. It's just another facet of this quirky family.
The sisters are well into adulthood and are drawn back home, a small college town in Ohio, as their mother battles breast cancer. Rosalind, the eldest, is the organizer who must decide about her own romance, Bianca is the 'wild one' who brings major issues home from New York with her, and Cordelia is the 'lost' youngest child, trying to figure out how she fits into this new world. There's no mystery to be 'discovered' here; it's compelling to keep reading, just to find out if the sisters figure out who they are meant to be. The mother's battle with cancer doesn't pull any punches either - it's a pretty accurate look at how much cancer sucks. The family dynamics are richly drawn - I read this book in about three days - I would highly recommend it.