The Sweeney Sisters by Lian Dolan

When the news of William Sweeney’s fatal heart attack reaches his eldest daughter, Liza, she immediately calls her sisters – Maggie, the free-spirited artist and middle child, and Tricia, the disciplined lawyer who works for a big firm in New York and baby sister. The sisters convene in Southport, Connecticut to handle their father’s estate and soon realize that while they knew he was a famous writer who embraced ‘male writer bravado,’ they didn’t expect to learn that they had a sister. Furthermore, they certainly didn’t expect that sister to be Serena Tucker, who they’ve known their whole lives as the neighbor girl who was born two years before Liza.

Serena, who discovered the truth about her biological father through a mail-in DNA test she won at her company holiday party, is conflicted about how to engage the sisters. Grappling with the discovery of a new sister, the Sweeney Sisters try to locate the memoir manuscript their father finished before his death, hoping it will contain the answers they seek.

The writing is engaging and keeps the reader invested. The first half of the novel moves slower, but as more and more secrets reveal themselves, the novel’s pace increases. Considering how many characters there are, the novel is well-paced and the characters are authentic. Specifically, Bill Sweeney’s presence is felt despite the fact that he is only present through his writing and stories that the women tell about him. More generally, their childhood home becomes its own character and represents something unique to each sister. I loved that this story is layered with unresolved questions, questions about what we know about family, and forgiveness. Highly recommend for reads who enjoy novels about women and family.

The Sweeney Sisters has a little bit of everything – family drama, sisterly love, self-discovery, tensions over an inheritance, romance, and wit. I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Each sister was well-developed and I appreciated the way they could read each other in any situation, providing cover for each other where needed. I loved how their interactions with Serena transformed individually and believably for each sister. Considering how many characters there are, the novel is well-paced and the characters are authentic. Specifically, Bill Sweeney’s presence is palpable despite the fact that he is only present through his writing and stories that the women tell about him. More generally, their childhood home becomes its own character and represents something unique to each sister. I loved that this story is layered with unresolved questions, questions about what we know about family, and forgiveness. Highly recommend for reads who enjoy novels about women and family.

Thank you NetGalley and William Morrow Books for the e-ARC!

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