May 082021
The Sweeney Sisters: A Novel

The Sweeney Sisters by Lian Dolan

Maggie, Eliza, and Tricia Sweeney grew up as a happy threesome in the idyllic seaside town of Southport, Connecticut. But their mother’s death from cancer 15 years ago tarnished their golden-hued memories, and the sisters drifted apart. Their one touchstone is their father, Bill Sweeney, an internationally famous literary lion and college professor universally adored by critics, publishers, and book lovers. When Bill dies unexpectedly one cool June night, his shell-shocked daughters return to their childhood home. They aren’t quite sure what the future holds without their larger-than-life father, but they do know how to throw an Irish wake to honor a man of his stature.

But as guests pay their respects and reminisce, one stranger, emboldened by whiskey, has crashed the party. It turns out that she, too, is a Sweeney sister. When Washington, DC-based journalist Serena Tucker had her DNA tested on a whim a few weeks earlier, she learned she had a 50 percent genetic match with a childhood neighbor – Maggie Sweeney of Southport, Connecticut. It seems Serena’s chilly WASP mother, Birdie, had a history with Bill Sweeney – one that has remained totally secret until now.

Once the shock wears off, questions abound. What does this mean for William’s literary legacy? Where is the unfinished memoir he’s stashed away, and what will it reveal? And how will a fourth Sweeney sister – a blonde among redheads – fit into their story?

By turns revealing, insightful, and uproarious, The Sweeney Sisters is equal parts cautionary tale and celebration – a festive and heartfelt look at what truly makes a family.

I really wanted to read (listen) to this book because I’ve seen so many reviews that were positive and also read that the book was hilarious. It wasn’t, at least to me.

The overall storyline was different and I like different, I just never felt connected to any of the sisters and I wasn’t listening as fast as I could which is something I usually do. Also, I sometimes found my mind wondering and then I had to backtrack. I did like the sections on their dad. Wow, he was completely different than my dad.

I thought the book was ok but it just didn’t grab me like I thought it would, especially since I love stories about sisters. The narrator did an amazing job of all the voices, all the sisters sounded very different from each other, so it was easy to keep track of who was saying what.

I may give this book a re-read sometime because this is the type of story I usually love. I think maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood and that I would like it more the next time. So, I may do that, not sure yet.

This was the first book I’ve read by this author and even though I’m only giving it 3.5*’s I would try another book by her.

 Posted by at 5:03 PM

  12 Responses to “The Sweeney Sisters by Lian Dolan”

  1. I’ve heard of this one too and I think I’d give it a try. I love the idea of a new family member coming in and all of a sudden the sisters’ question their family history.

  2. I was thinking of the audio for this one but, maybe I’ll try the print instead. Thanks for sharing and have a Happy Mother’s Day Vicki.

    • Happy Mother’s Day to you too!

      The audio was great Diane. The story was ok but my mind kept wondering. I think I just wasn’t in the right mood for this story.

  3. I enjoyed this but was surprised to see it mentioned as hilarious. It’s been awhile but I really don’t remember anything funny about it – definitely not one I’d label hilarious. I can see going in with that expectation could skew your thoughts reading it. Honestly, I did like this one but I’m not sure I’d label it as a must read and I don’t think it made my top 10 list for the year.

    • Yes Katherine, you said it way better than I did! I was expecting a book that was going to make me laugh all the way through, and I don’t think I did even once. But I may listen to it again sometime now that I won’t be expecting to laugh. Thank you!

  4. I gave it the same star rating, Vicki. I liked it but didn’t love it.

  5. The premise of this book sounds good so it’s sad to hear that it didn’t work for you.

  6. I had heard that it was funny as well. I am glad you told me it wasn’t. The whole Connecticut setting grabs me, sisters… eh, could be interesting.

    • I kept waiting for something funny but it never came. I think that had a lot to do with why I didn’t love the book as much as I thought I would.

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