In her spellbinding novels, Alice Hoffman weaves magic and fairy tales into plots thick with today’s gritty realism. This combination is on dazzling display in her twenty-first novel, The Story Sisters, a heartbreaking yet redemptive family saga.
Elisabeth (Elv for short), Meg and Claire are the three beautiful, black-haired Story sisters, who live on Long Island with their divorced mother, Annie. Their close bond and happy lives are altered irrevocably one day when Elv and Meg share an encounter with a stranger that will change them forever. They swear themselves to secrecy and attempt to overcome the trauma as best they can. But Elv is more and more drawn into the fairytale world she creates. Annie doesn’t understand Elv’s suffering and by the time she does realize what is happening with her eldest daughter and tries to help it is too late. Elv will have to live with the choices she has made and the consequences of her actions, some of them tragic, will affect her entire family.
As the girls grow into young women they take separate paths. They turn for help and solace to their beloved grandmother, Natalia, who lives in Paris. It is in her loving home that Claire, rendered mute by the suffering of her family, finally finds her voice and a way to face the future. Slowly, the beauty of Paris, and the love of those closet to them – including a long-legged Frenchman and an innocent little girl – help the Story family find salvation.
Throughout the novel, the shimmering beauty of the natural world to which the girls are so attuned – bees, moths, flowers, trees, storms, birds, heat waves, snow and the night sky – along the rhythm of the changing seasons remind the reader of a realm beyond the human. It is a realm of the senses, of memory, of literature and story-telling, and of the power of true love.
There are few writers who capture the power and redemption of love as Alice Hoffman does. With The Story Sisters she remains in top form, spinning a masterful tale that will leave the reader stunned, yet hopeful and ever more aware of the fragility and beauty of life.