Title: The Almost Sisters
Author: Joshilyn Jackson
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: July 11, 2017
With empathy, grace, humor, and piercing insight, the author of Gods in Alabama pens a powerful, emotionally resonant novel of the South that confronts the truth about privilege, family, and the distinctions between perception and reality – the stories we tell ourselves about our origins and who we really are.
Superheroes have always been Leia Birch Briggs’ weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comics convention, the usually level-headed graphic novelist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman.
It turns out the caped crusader has left her with more than just a nice, fuzzy memory. She’s having a baby boy – an unexpected but not unhappy development in the thirty-eight year-old’s life. But before Leia can break the news of her impending single-motherhood (including the fact that her baby is biracial) to her conventional, Southern family, her step-sister Rachel’s marriage implodes. Worse, she learns her beloved ninety-year-old grandmother, Birchie, is losing her mind, and she’s been hiding her dementia with the help of Wattie, her best friend since girlhood.
Leia returns to Alabama to put her grandmother’s affairs in order, clean out the big Victorian that has been in the Birch family for generations, and tell her family that she’s pregnant. Yet just when Leia thinks she’s got it all under control, she learns that illness is not the only thing Birchie’s been hiding. Tucked in the attic is a dangerous secret with roots that reach all the way back to the Civil War. Its exposure threatens the family’s freedom and future, and it will change everything about how Leia sees herself and her sister, her son and his missing father, and the world she thinks she knows.
This story had romance, comic books, and a murder mystery. It was so good!
I loved the comic and geeky references in this book. Leia (who is named after Princess Leia in Star Wars) was a graphic novel artist for DC, Marvel, and Dark Horse. She made lots of references to different comics. Her one night stand at a fan convention is what sparks the events in the story. These kinds of references aren’t usually in books categorized as Women’s Fiction, so this was a nice surprise.
Race relations were a big part of the story. Leia is pregnant with a baby who will be half black. Her grandmother lives with her best friend, who is a black woman. The town that her grandmother lives in is divided in many ways between black and white people, including the churches they attend and where they live. It was problematic in many ways. This is an important part of the story.
I really enjoyed this story!
What to read next:
Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson
Have you read The Almost Sisters? What did you think of it?