Title: Sisters and Brothers
Author: Fiona Palmer
Published: August 28th 2018
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Domestic, Life Lit
Rating: 4 stars
A poignant novel of heartbreak, adoption and family secrets
Emma, a nurse and busy mother of three, has always dreamed of having a sister.
Michelle, at 46, wonders if it’s too late to fall in love and find her birth parents.
Sarah, career woman and perfectionist homemaker, struggles to keep up with the Joneses.
Bill, 72, feels left behind after the death of his adored wife.
Adam can’t stop thinking about the father he never had.
These five very different people are all connected but separated by secrets from the past. Sisters and Brothers will both break and warm your heart in a way that only bestselling Australian storyteller Fiona Palmer can.
Last year, the author of Sisters and Brothers Fiona Palmer turned a corner when she moved away from rural romance and into contemporary women’s fiction. It was a successful move, as I absolutely adored Secrets Between Friends. Now Palmer is back with another winning life lit title, Sisters and Brothers. This time around, Palmer explores the slippery slope of adoption, family connectivity and secrets. Sisters and Brothers is a book that stresses the importance of connection to human life, personal wellbeing and familial relationships.
Drawing together five different character threads, Sisters and Brothers begins with Bill, now aged 72, as he faces the fight of his life and the shock of his life after the death of his beloved wife. Following Bill is Emma, a nurse and mother, who is issued with quite the surprise when she discovers the secret behind her true parentage. Then we have Michelle, a woman in her 40’s who is hoping that love and her birth parents will enter her life. While Sarah is a busy working woman striving to be the very best she can be, but a family secret may just change her outlook. Finally, Adam is a young man who is actively expanding his own family and in the process, he has been reminded of the absent father figure in his life. Although these five people are vastly different, they each share a family secret that unites them. When the past resurfaces, it will have implications for all five protagonists of Fiona Palmer’s tender new novel, Sisters and Brothers.
There has been rather a long list of highly anticipated reads for this booklover and as a loyal fan of Fiona Palmer’s work, I have been twiddling my thumbs for Sisters and Brothers to release. When I first started reading Sisters and Brothers, there was a real sense of coming home. Palmer’s writing style is open, embracing and warm. I thoroughly enjoyed this light touch story, which also covers some emotional themes. I am confident this is a story that will unite readers far and wide, due to the universal themes presented within the involving storyline.
First of all I loved travelling back in time with Palmer to the 1970s and following Bill, one of the central characters of the story. Palmer’s presentation of the past time period setting has a sentimental quality and I appreciated this aspect very much. Likewise, my favourite moments of the novel, despite the heartbreaking and emotional tone, concerned Debbie, Bill’s wife. Palmer approaches this segment of her book with forethought and sensitivity. The contemporary setting is also painted very well. I jumped for joy when I discovered by own suburb mentioned in this novel, along with plenty other local haunts. It created a greater connection to this novel.
Initially, I was a little apprehensive as to how Sisters and Brothers would read with five different character arcs. However, it took me by surprise just how quickly I understood and developed a relationship with each of these characters. Some I liked more than others, or I was able to empathise with certain protagonists above others, for different reasons. However, on the whole, Palmer should be applauded for her characterisation and the way in which all of these character stories manage to converge in the one cohesive tale. What I observed most from the character side of this novel, was how each character progressed with the interactions and the various testing scenarios they were presented with. There were some amazing coincidences and incidents in this novel that made me exclaim out loud in pure surprise!
There are a variety of themes that can be drawn from this connective tale. From romance, love, birth, family relationships, single parenthood, adoption, trust, mortality, loss, longing, serious illness, adoption and unity, Palmer covers many bases. Most importantly, Sisters and Brothers puts the spotlight on the family unit. Palmer examines families in the past and the present day. She also opens our eyes to how families are not always static entities, they can grow, lessen, change and adapt. However, our love for our family is unconditional, it is the key to the human spirit. What a great book message!
Sisters and Brothers filled my book bucket. It is with great pleasure that I endorse this new novel from one of my most prized Aussie storytellers. This novel carefully divides light sequences with deeper emotional and reflective moments. Sisters and Brothers has an all-encompassing feel that I am sure will draw in many readers.
Sisters and Brothers by Fiona Palmer is published by Hachette Autstralia. $29.99. Out now.
To learn more about the author of Sisters and Brothers, Fiona Palmer, visit here.
*I wish to thank Hachette Australia for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.
Sisters and Brothers, is book #114 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge