In her eleventh novel, Mary Sheldon delivers a stirring exploration of the relationships between husbands and wives, mothers and daughters, and, most especially, sisters. Set against the vibrant landscape of Los Angeles, the book revolves around Emily, Tara and Clare, three sisters in their thirties, the daughters of a prominent Hollywood producer.
Emily, the oldest, is an affluent personal shopper, married to a difficult husband, and the mother of two children she adores but does not always understand. Tara, the second sister, is a former child actress, determined to recapture her past success by making her daughter Stella into an ice skating champion. And the youngest, free-spirited Clare, is searching for love, for herself, and for answers about her past. Neither Emily nor Tara seems to dwell on Lillie, but Clare can’t stop thinking about the baby sister who disappeared from their lives so long ago.
The Sisters Etcetera is a story of a year in the lives of these women and their families – a year fraught with change and epiphany. Emily falls suddenly and shatteringly in love with her young son’s drama teacher, Tara’s ambitions for her daughter lead to dangerous consequences, and Clara loses the one touchstone of her life. And then, when their mother reconnects with a man from her past, all their lives are irrevocably changed.
The Sisters Etcetera is a touching, resonating story, a novel about coming to terms with the pull of the past and the dangers of dreams deferred, and arriving at an understanding that happy endings – although maybe not quite “Hollywood” happy endings – can exist.