Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Sisters Mortland by Sally Beauman

It's taken me awhile to write my review of this book. It's very difficult to categorize or even summarize for that matter. It takes a number of unexpected turns and frankly I wasn't sure I liked it while I was in the middle of it. By the end however it was a very satisfying read.

The Sisters Mortland is actually the title of a painting of three sisters. A painter comes to do their portrait one summer and it there that that story begins. We meet the sisters one by one. There is Julia who is seemingly the stereotypical "pretty one", Finn the "brainy one" and Maisy the "odd one". Maisy is the narrator of the first third of the book but as you get to the next section you find she is not exactly what she seemed to be. The bulk of the story is told by Dan, the Roma boy, who in his way loves them all.

The story is for the most part tragic but it is told well and doesn't get mired in the darkness of it's story. I was put off by some of the intial turns but I couldn't put it down which to me is always the mark of a good book. The author only gives you enough information to keep you moving along. Letting the story unfold slowly. In the end the biggest secret of the book was the least expected and in my opinion the most real. It seemed as if there was some horrible dark thing that would explain all the events leading up to the end but the secret revealed was a very commonplace one. This made a somewhat ethereal story come back down to earth.

I highly recommend it!

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