The Bird Sisters is Rebecca Rasmussen’s debut novel and what a debut it is! I’ve been looking forward to reading Rebecca’s novel for quite a while now and it was well worth the wait. I also have to mention the cover because I think it’s unique and beautiful and really fits with the story. I would describe The Bird Sisters as a tall drink of ice tea on a really hot day – deeply satisfying. Rebecca’s beautiful writing of this story of two sisters who remain faithful to each other throughout their lives will resonant in your soul long after you turn the final page.
The story opens with Milly and Twiss, two elderly sisters living alone in Spring Green, Wisonsin. They are known as the bird sisters because Twiss tends to injured birds while Milly tends to the people who bring them in by listening to their stories. Their lives are pretty sedate now with Twiss, if she’s not tending to an injured bird, wandering their land and Milly wandering the house; both living in their memories of the past. The story itself weaves seamlessly between the past and the present giving us insights into how the sisters end up alone and together for all of their lives.
Milly has always had dreams of a family – she wanted a husband and children. She even had names picked out for them along with a boy she has set her sights on. Milly is a really sweet character, always trying to please people. She loves to bake for everyone as it is something that will make a person smile and be happy. She is also described as being very pretty; a girl who could have her pick of boys if she wanted. There was never a doubt that Milly would marry.
Then there was Twiss, a few years younger than Milly, who I have to say was my favorite character. She is full of spunk and sassiness as a young girl; a classic tom-boy. Twiss spends most of her days out on the golf course with her golf-pro father and she loves it. If she’s not doing that then she’s off looking for trouble somewhere else.
Then comes the summer of 1947 and everything changes for them. Milly and Twiss are teenagers. Their father has an accident that puts a distinct end to his golf career and he moves himself into the barn, refusing to live in the house anymore. Their parents are at odd ends and the girls try their hardest to bring them back together. Then cousin Bett comes to stay for the summer. She’s different from anyone else the girls have known and ultimately she turns their lives upside down before the end of the summer arrives in ways that they never could have expected.
So you, as the reader, know how the story will end with the sisters as spinsters with only each other for company. It is the heart wrenching journey that the author takes you on to get to that point that will tug at your heart and have you fully invested in these woman’s lives. As with all of our lives it is the events that take place and the decisions that we make that ultimately shape our lives and bring us to where we are. Rebecca weaves this story in such a captivating way that we are hanging onto every word as we learn the single most devastating event that changes the lives of these girls forever.
Rebecca Rasmussen artfully recreates life in a small town and that of the sisters living on a farm. The novel is full of quirky, unique characters and Milly and Twiss will no doubt find a way into anyone’s heart and the way these two sisters give up everything for each other will forever touch you. The writing is absolutely beautiful and I found myself rereading several passages just to experience them again. The Bird Sisters goes onto my keeper shelf. I’m sure I will revisit this beautiful novel and Milly and Twiss again in the future. I would recommend this novel to anyone who loves a good, well written story that will allow you to escape for a while into a different time and place.
To finish off, I’m going to leave you to enjoy the book trailer…
The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen released on April 12/11 and you can pick up your own copy of it here in the US and here in Canada. You can visit Rebecca Rasmussen’s website and blog and find her on Facebook and Twitter as well. Be sure to check back next week when Rebecca joins us here at Peeking Between the Pages with a guest post and just maybe a copy or two of her wonderful novel to be given away!
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My copy of The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen was received from the author and publisher.