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A Tale of Two Sisters

ISBN: 0525949739

By Anna Maxted

Review by: Beth Lindsay

01/01/07

In this well-written chick lit novel, Anna Maxted presents the story of two sisters, Cassie and Lizbet, who are as different as two sisters can be, yet are extremely close. Maxted lets both sisters tell parts of the story. Their voices are unique and distinct, yet the novel reads seamlessly as it moves between the two narrators.

Lizbet works in publishing, but is stuck in a low level position at a magazine for young men called Ladz Mag, where her editorial talents are wasted on articles about cars and sex. She is in a long-term relationship with the steady, smart, funny, kind Tim. Cassie is everything Lizbet is not polished, a successful attorney, driven, and married. She and her husband George, who is written as a total contrast to Tim, have only one problem they cannot conceive a child. As the novel opens, Lizbet and Tim endure a vacation from hell where they babysit their godson, and soon after returning from the trip, Lizbet learns she is pregnant.

The fact that Lizbet has succeeded in the one area where Cassie has not causes considerable tumult, but soon after the grand announcement and Cassies litany of bad behaviors, Lizbet suffers a miscarriage. The novel is about family and motherhood, focusing on how Lizbet and Cassie work to repair their most important relationship, the one they have with each other, while exploring their past, their desires for the future, and how their experiences and their parents have shaped them.

Maxted writes about family ties and foibles with a keen sense of humor and pathos. While certain plot elements are reminiscent of other novels in this genre, and Maxted does deliver the expected happy ending, the solid writing, humor and well-drawn characters make this a very enjoyable, satisfying read.

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