The Andreas family is one of readers. Their father, a renowned Shakespeare professor who speaks almost entirely in verse, has named his three daughters after famous Shakespearean women. When the sisters return to their childhood home, ostensibly to care for their ailing mother, but really to lick their wounds and bury their secrets, they are horrified to find the others there. But the sisters soon discover that everything they’ve been running from-one another, their small hometown, and themselves-might offer more than they ever expected.
What’s in a name? Do our names shape who we are, or are we able to overcome the stigmas associated with what we’re called?
The patriarch of the Andreas family is a well-known expert in Shakespeare among scholars and the matriarch allowed him to name their three daughters after women in Shakespeare. There’s Rosalind (Rose) from As You Like It, Bianca (Bean) from Taming of the Shrew, and Cordelia (Cordy) from King Lear. From Shakespeare, Rosalind is one constantly looking for her happily ever after, Bianca wants male attention and is a bit flighty, and Cordelia is her father’s favorite but mistreated by her sisters.
But those are the Shakespearan counterparts. Does that actually describe the sisters?
They don’t really recognize it in themselves, but the narrator certainly does.
Speaking of the narrator, it was written in a collective third-person voice, like all three sisters with one voice telling the story. It was very strange at the beginning, but I got used to it once I figured who was speaking.
Back to the plot. Rose, Bean and Cordy all converge on their childhood home when they find out their mom is sick. Really though, Rose never left, Bean has to leave where she was previously in a hurry and Cordy has no place else to go. Their decision to move back home has very little to do with their mother.
Over the course of the book, the focus switches between the sisters, giving us their backstories, thoughts and feelings. And as they figure out what they want from life, you are drawn into their story. It’s a common theme: What am I doing? What should I do now? Where am I going to end up? Everyone feels that at some point, so it’s easy to connect with each sister in this regard.
They’re not without their faults. Eleanor Brown does not gloss over the ugly parts of life or how they’ve messed up in the past, which makes this book very realistic, which I tend to like when reading a contemporary story.
Overall, I liked this book. I was fully expecting something else entirely when I read the title – like it might turn out to be supernatural – but regardless of my misconception, I enjoyed it. I’d recommend this to people who want a good sisters/friendship read.