Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Henry's Sisters by Cathy Lamb


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Ever since the Bommarito sisters were little girls, their mother, River, has written them a letter on pink paper when she has something especially important to impart. And this time, the message is urgent and impossible to ignore—River requires open-heart surgery, and Isabelle and her sisters are needed at home to run the family bakery and take care of their brother and ailing grandmother.

Isabelle has worked hard to leave Trillium River, Oregon, behind as she travels the globe taking award-winning photographs. It's not that Isabelle hates her family. On the contrary, she and her sisters Cecilia, an outspoken kindergarten teacher, and Janie, a bestselling author, share a deep, loving bond. And all of them adore their brother, Henry, whose disabilities haven't stopped him from helping out at the bakery and bringing good cheer to everyone in town.

But going home again has a way of forcing open the secrets and hurts that the Bommaritos would rather keep tightly closed—Isabelle's fleeting and too-frequent relationships, Janie's obsessive compulsive disorder, and Cecilia's self-destructive streak and grief over her husband's death. Working together to look after Henry and save their flagging bakery, Isabelle and her sisters begin to find answers to questions they never knew existed, unexpected ways to salve the wounds of their childhoods, and the courage to grasp surprising new chances at happiness.

Poignant, funny, and as irresistible as one of the Bommarito sisters' delicious giant cupcakes, Henry's Sisters is a novel about family and forgiveness, about mothers and daughters, and about gaining the wisdom to look ahead while still holding tight to everything that matters most. (From B&N)

My Review

Even though the Bommarito sister's, Isabelle, Janie and Cecelia are close emotionally, they've all moved away from Trillium River, except for Cecelia. That is until they receive one of their mothers infamous pink notes beckoning them home. She's having surgery and needs the girls to come home and take care of their grandmother and mentally challenged brother, as well as run the family bakery. Each sister has her reasons for not wanting to return home. But the one reason they all have in common is the very reason they are asked to return - their mother River. River is, well, a bitch. She is cruel and mean and spiteful. No one wants to be around her. But the women all realize that while they may not want to help their mother, their brother and grandmother need them.

Isabelle (Cecelia's fraternal twin) lives a lonely, dark, depressing, self destructive lifestyle. Well known for her award winning photographs, she doesn't let anyone "in". Living a life full of traveling to third world countries, drinking Kahlua for breakfast, and hanging out her loft window naked (who cares if the people in the other building can see), she is afraid to commit and spends her nights with one night stands. One of which may just might get her killed.

Janie is a famous mystery author who leads a life alone on her houseboat. She hates going out and will only do so when necessary. She also has OCD and her rituals are very important to her. When Isabelle comes to discuss the pink letter from their mother, she forces her to walk out and come back in because she did not have a smile on her face when she came in the first time. Sweet, loving, quiet Janie spends her day thinking of the most gruesome ways in which to kill people in her books. Ideas that fill her head day and night. Janie is afraid that if she returns home to the harshness of her mothers tongue she will further retreat into her self as opposed to the centered calm self she is while on her houseboat. And what happens when poor frumpy Janie faces the potential of falling in love?

Cecelia is a bitter, harsh kindergarten teacher who has remained close to the family home to help care for her family. She also is not even close to being afraid of speaking her mind. Often hitting below the belt with the venom she spews. She's extremely overweight as she continually shoves food in her mouth to compensate for the hurt she is feeling. The hurt from a father that left them when they were young, and the hurt of a ass of a husband who is cheating on her with a bimbo. She also has two beautiful daughters. One who spends each month "trying on" different religions, and one who is so unsure of her self, pulls her hair out a strand at a time.

Henry is beautiful. While he is mentally challenged, he doesn't have a care in the world. He loves the work he does at the bakery, the shelter and the church. He is the light of his sisters lives. They will, and have, fought for him. Both physically and emotionally. There is nothing they wouldn't do for them.

The Bommarito sisters, along with their brother Henry, had harsh childhoods. From their Vietnam vet father leaving them to their mother struggling to keep them in food by stripping, that is when she wasn't in bed with her depression. The girls ended up helping keep the family afloat by baking during these times. Although it was just never enough. Several times they were placed in foster care, providing them the first sense of stability they've had in a long time while at the same time causing one of them an extreme amount of pain.

Will coming home to Trillium River be the wake up call that this family needs? Will they be able to finally deal with the trauma's of their lives and finally find peace and happiness? Will they once and for all get the answers that they've unknowingly been searching for? But just when things seem as if they are finally turning around they get the most crushing, heart breaking news they could ever get. They are faced with something that they are not willing to deal with and could very well destroy any of the progress that they've made. It is now time for them to put everything else aside and come together as a family.

A beautifully written tale of one families struggles and triumphs. Of how they overcome adversity and figure out a way to move on with their lives. Of how to love and trust again. Of forgiveness and family. Full of laugh out loud moments and heartbreaking scenes, scenes that will have you crying as you read them, Henry's Sisters is one story that you will regret not reading.

Release date: July 21, 2009


1 comment:

Wendy said...

Hi Lori!

An Award for you:

http://mindingspot.blogspot.com/2009/06/heartfelt-award.html

Congrats! Wendy