The Sisters

A Novel

Nancy Jensen

St. Martin's Griffin

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Family secrets reverberate for generations in one of the "Best Novels of 2011" (Kirkus Reviews)

Growing up without a mother in hardscrabble Kentucky in the 1920s, Bertie Fischer and her older sister, Mabel, have only each other—with perhaps a sweetheart for Bertie waiting in the wings. But on the day that Bertie graduates from eighth grade, good intentions go terribly wrong, setting off a chain of misunderstandings that will change the lives of the next three generations.

What happens when nothing turns out as you planned? From the Depression through the second world war and Vietnam, and smaller events both tragic and joyful, Bertie and Mabel forge unexpected identities that are shaped by a past that no one ever talks about. Gorgeously written, with extraordinary insight and emotional truth, Nancy Jensen’s brilliant first novel, The Sisters, illuminates the far-reaching power of family and family secrets.

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June 1927
Juniper, Kentucky

IT WAS A LOVELY DRESS, soft and pink as a cloud at dawn. Bertie admired the way the chiffon draped from her neck in long, light, curving folds, seeming to narrow her square shoulders, and it pleased her to imagine how the skirt would swish around her calves when she walked to the stage to get her eighth-grade diploma, but she was most fond of the two buttons, small silver roses, that fastened the sleeve bands just below each elbow. Two months Mabel had worked for the dress, going into Kendalls an hour early

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Praise for The Sisters

“You’ll be drawn into the arms of The Sisters as if these women were your own family. You’ll want to hold them, warn them, betray their secrets. But this is a novel, one that is fresh and vibrant and complex. You cannot live the sisters’ lives, but only share in their joy and heartbreak and ultimate triumph. A remarkably powerful book.”
—Sandra Dallas, author of Prayers for Sale

“Nancy Jensen has the natural storyteller’s ability to command attention, but with sophisticated psychological understanding and beautifully crafted writing. The Sisters is a needed novel that will become a very popular classic.”
—Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Ahab's Wife

“A beautiful and touching novel about the events and choices that shape not only our lives but the lives of generations to come. Nancy Jensen takes us on an epic yet intimate journey through eighty years, ultimately revealing the flawed but lovely landscape that makes up a family. Her characters will stay with us long after the book’s final pages.”
—Brunonia Barry, author of The Lace Reader

In the Press

The Sisters - By Nancy Jensen - Book Review -
In this first novel, two sisters lose their relationship over a miscommunication.
- The New York Times

THE SISTERS by Nancy JensenKirkus Book Reviews
Read the Kirkus Review of THE SISTERS . A single tragic event shapes four generations of American women in this accomplished and poignant debut.
- Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads


About the Author

Nancy Jensen

NANCY JENSEN is an award-winning graduate of the MFA in Writing Program at Vermont College whose short stories and essays have been published in such literary journals as Northwest Review, Other Voices, and The Louisville Review. She teaches English at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, KY. A national bestseller and a #1 Indie Next Pick in hardcover, The Sisters is her debut novel.

Nancy Jensen


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Available Formats and Book Details

The Sisters
A Novel
Nancy Jensen

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
St. Martin's Press
St. Martin's Griffin
October 2012
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312548414
ISBN10: 0312548419
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 352 pages


St. Martin's Press
November 2011
ISBN: 9780312542702
ISBN10: 0312542704
Rough Front/Deckel Edge
6 1/4 x 9 1/4 inches, 336 pages

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
St. Martin's Press
November 2011
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429988056
ISBN10: 1429988053
336 pages

From The Publisher

St. Martin's Griffin

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