The Story Sisters – Alice Hoffman

When I picked up The Story Sisters in the supermarket I did so with the intention of it being a quick simple read, something to tide me through in-between more complex reads such as Welsh or Dickens. Instead I got something completely different, expecting a throw away novel that would be skim read and then posted to the nearest charity shop I actually experienced an amazing novel that grabbed me and pulled me into the world that belonged to The Story Sisters.
The sisters are Elv, Meg and Claire who grew up in a beautiful house with a hawthorn tree in the garden. They were teenagers when the book began and the youngest is around 30 when it ends. The girls have their own fantasy world dreamed up by Elv after a terrible experience changed her life.  They speak a language that no one else understands, not even their mother and they keep to each other, not having any friends outside their own group. The story follows them through difficult life experiences, when Elv goes off the rails and ends up in a boarding school for uncontrollable teenagers. The other girls learn that she is not who she seems and decide they only need each other, having no one else as the whole town believes their sister is cursed. The book follows Claire and Elv as the main characters but with insights to the other people as well.
I don’t want to spoil the ending for anyone as I believe that anyone who reads this should go out straight away and buy it. It will have you laughing, seething and crying. I love the descriptions of both the fantasy world that Elv creates and the real world that the girls live in. The descriptions of Paris, where their Ama (grandmother) resides as one of two homes, are incredible offering visions of beauty and colour. You can tell that the girls feel most at home in the open, with Elv taking to sitting in her hawthorn tree and Claire gazing longingly out of windows. It’s a trait they appear to have obtained from their mother who appears more in her garden than inside through most of the book.
It is an amazing book, with vivid descriptions and characters who are so close to heart, I believe anyone who has been a teenager and especially a sister, and probably a mother will relate to this book so much. I honestly do recommend it to everyone, even the guys, because if you have a heart you’ll feel for the characters in this book. I finished it ten minutes ago and I’m now going to see if I can find an envelope to post it to my sister!