Thursday, June 05, 2014

Lilian Darcy: My Sister, Myself

I’m older, she’s younger by three and a half years. I’m a brunette, she’s a red-head. Her kids are all boys, I have boys and a girl. I’m creative and scatty, she’s efficient and practical. She lives in a warm sub-tropical climate, my lawn has frost on it.

You’re starting to get the picture. My sister and I are different in all those ways, and many more. As we were growing up, there was quite a bit of tension in our relationship at times, but in our twenties we became close and have stayed that way, despite the geographical distance between us.

I’m not sure if it’s because of this real-life sister relationship, but I’ve written a lot about sisters, and I loved reading about them, too. It’s a frequently used convention in romance mini-series to create a whole family of three sisters, or five brothers, or a gender mix, and then follow each of their stories as they find love. Right now, Tule Publishing has two of these mini-series going. C J Carmichael’s Carrigans of Circle C is about sisters.

Jane Porter’s Taming of the Sheenans is about brothers. As a reader, I’m loving both of these and hanging out for the next instalments.

My own River Bend series, also for Tule Publishing, has a strong sister theme to it. There’s a prequel novella called Late Last Night that doesn’t have a sister theme, and the third of the longer books doesn’t so much either – it’s more about daughters and choices - but The Sweetest Thing (out now) and After The Rain (which will be launching soon) both have very knotty and troubled sister relationships at the heart of them.

In The Sweetest Thing, what do you do when you discover that the big sister you’ve always loathed is actually your birth mother?

  And in After The Rain, how do you find peace in your heart when your difficult sister dies in her teens and you never had a chance to grow close to her?

Big questions, long journeys.

There are some challenging sister questions in two of my other women’s fiction titles, also. In Café du Jour, how do you learn to build a relationship with the beloved sister whose personality changed so much after her serious accident?

In All Dressed Up, what happens when your sister cancels her wedding the day before the big event, and you know exactly why, but the groom doesn’t have a clue?

 Both of these books are available now on Amazon, and All Dressed Up will be having a big re-launch later in the year.

Many other authors have tackled the sister theme in their women’s fiction, too. There’s Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper, Megan Crane’s Names My Sisters Call me, Kristin Hannah’s Between Sisters… too many to name.

And if we look to the classics, we find more sisters. The five Bennet girls in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and the two very different sisters in Sense and Sensibility, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, Alice Walker’s The Color Purple.

 And then there are those amazing Bronte girls, Charlotte, Emily and Anne, who didn’t write about sisters but lived a particularly tortured experience of sibling relationships, along with their troubled brother Branwell.

Maybe I’ve inspired you to pick up a sister-themed book today, whether it’s a classic piece of literature, a biography, a contemporary romance, or one of my own women’s fiction novels.


Janine said...

I love reading stories about sisters and their relationships. But, some times I come away a little sad because my family is not close and how I wish things were different and I did have good relationships with my sisters.

dstoutholcomb said...

I don't have biological sisters, but I have a lot of friends, and one very special cousin, who became my sisters by choice. I like to believe that friends are the family God lets one choose!