Book Review: Sisters One, Two, Three by Nancy Star

Title: Sisters One, Two, Three
Author: Nancy Star
Published date: 1st January 2017
Genre: General Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Date read: 1st March 2017
Rating: 4 stars

After a tragic accident on Martha’s Vineyard, keeping secrets becomes a way of life for the Tangle family. With memories locked away, the sisters take divergent paths. Callie disappears, Mimi keeps so busy she has no time to think, and Ginger develops a lifelong aversion to risk that threatens the relationships she holds most dear.

When a whispered comment overheard by her rebellious teenage daughter forces Ginger to reveal a long-held family secret, the Tangles’ carefully constructed web of lies begins to unravel. Upon the death of Glory, the family’s colorful matriarch, and the return of long-estranged Callie, Ginger resolves to return to Martha’s Vineyard and piece together what really happened on that calamitous day when a shadow fell over four sun-kissed siblings playing at the shore. Along with Ginger’s newfound understanding come the keys to reconciliation: with her mother, with her sisters, and with her daughter.

At turns heartbreaking, humorous, and hopeful, Sisters One, Two, Three explores not only the consequences of secrets—even secrets kept out of love—but also the courage it takes to speak the truth, to forgive, and to let go.

Thank you to Netgalley, and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review


I’ll be honest, at first, the reason I wanted this book was because of the cover. But after I read the summary, well, I really want to read the book. I love books with family secrets, and estrange family members reconciling, or something.

Sisters One, Two, Three was told from Ginger’s point of view. The book was divided into two parts, where in part one, the chapters alternated between the present and the past. In part two, everything is in the present. I really like books like that, because we get to learn about the past while we read about all the drama in the present, and we get to learn about what shaped these characters, what made them what they are in the present time.

While reading this book, I told my sister, “This family is a train wreck”, and I kept on reiterating that throughout the book. When Ginger grew up, she was adamant to raise her child the way her mother did. She was a worrywart, and became kind of controlling because she worried too much, and because of that, she almost ruined her relationship with her daughter. It made me feel kind of sad for Ginger, to be honest.

Their mother, oh…I really don’t know what to think of her. I have mixed feelings when I thought about her. Despite how dysfunctional their family is, despite how much dissatisfied she seemed with her life sometimes, I could see that she really did love her family. She made mistakes, decisions that could probably (or probably not) make their lives turn out a little differently. I mean, come on! If things weren’t kept a secret, then people involved would be more understanding…they would know what they were dealing with, even if not immediately. I am very mad at Glory for all those secrets, but I think, if I put myself in her shoes, I could understand just a bit. But for all I’m mad at her, I also like her. I like her relationship with Callie, and I kind of like present time Glory’s personality, like she’s ‘living in the moment’. She was kind of amusing.

Callie… she made me feel so sad. Just…so sad. This human being that had been through all those trauma. As the secrets of the accident unfold, I literally felt goosebumps. It’s not surprising that Callie turned out the way she did after the accident. I’m not going to say more about it because the best thing about this book is to piece up what really happened.

 I think my least favourite character in the book has got to be Mimi. She kept on trying to sell the house, trying to force Callie to agree to move back with them. While I understand why she would want Callie to be closer, her intention of selling the house despite Callie saying “she lives there” makes me so annoyed at her. But just like Glory, I could see that she loves her sisters.

To sum it all up, I think this book is so beautifully written. The helplessness I felt knowing the train wreck of a life their living is their life—not a dream where they could just wake up from. I love the way the author managed to make the characters so real and flawed. Most importantly, the part I love the most is the reconciliation, and the forgiveness. I love that in the end, Ginger was able to let go. I think people who adored Monica McInerney’s House of Memories would also enjoy this book. Just like this book, I think House of Memories gave the same feeling of a “train wreck life”.

I give Sisters One, Two, Three a rating of 4/5 stars.

NancyStarAuthorPhotoAuthor’s bio:

Born and raised in Queens, New York, Nancy Star produced her first book-length story while attending Francis Lewis High School. The story was written on a roll of paper towels and given as a gift to her best friend. When her friend confessed the treasured scroll had inexplicably disappeared, Star vowed all future books would be published in a more enduring form.

Star started out in the movie business where her first job was scouting for books to turn into movies. She now divides her time between New Jersey and Martha’s Vineyard, which is where her newest novel, Sisters One, Two, Three—released on January 1, 2017—is set. Her works have been translated into multiple languages and optioned for TV and her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Family Circle and Diversion magazine.


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