Share 11 Novels that Explore the Beautiful and Complex Bonds of Sisterhood

11 Novels that Explore the Beautiful and Complex Bonds of Sisterhood

After several years in the Subsidiary Rights Department at Atria Books, Hilary Krutt now works as an editor at L&T, a brand publishing company. A former member of the Off the Shelf editorial board, Hilary continues to be an avid consumer (and sometimes reviewer) of contemporary fiction and memoir. She hails from Boston but currently calls Brooklyn home.

The concept of sisterhood has always possessed an almost mystical allure for me. Growing up with no sisters of my own, my brother served as a proxy, begrudgingly allowing me to dress him up in old tutus and playing along with my extensive collection of Barbie dolls. He eventually grew out of it, but I always cherished the time when he allowed me to project my girlish whims on him. Whether you’re from a clan of sisters or sisterless like me, here are eleven books about the joys and challenges of sisterhood.


The Silver Star
by Jeannette Walls

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls’ latest novel begins in 1970s California. When sisters Bean and Liz are abandoned by their free-spirited mother, they decide to take a bus to Virginia to live with their uncle. There, they learn the unsavory secrets of their parents’ past while harboring some secrets of their own.

The Silver Star
Jeannette Walls

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls’ latest novel begins in 1970s California. When sisters Bean and Liz are abandoned by their free-spirited mother, they decide to take a bus to Virginia to live with their uncle. There, they learn the unsavory secrets of their parents’ past while harboring some secrets of their own.

MENTIONED IN:

11 Novels that Explore the Beautiful and Complex Bonds of Sisterhood

By Hilary Krutt | June 23, 2015

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The Blind Assassin
by Margaret Atwood

In 1945, Iris’ sister, Laura, drives her car off a bridge. What ensues is a fascinating family drama brilliantly woven into a novel-within-a-novel—a science fiction story narrated by two nameless lovers. This winner of the 2000 Booker Prize is a stunning portrait of a dark and twisted family history.

The Blind Assassin
Margaret Atwood

In 1945, Iris’ sister, Laura, drives her car off a bridge. What ensues is a fascinating family drama brilliantly woven into a novel-within-a-novel—a science fiction story narrated by two nameless lovers. This winner of the 2000 Booker Prize is a stunning portrait of a dark and twisted family history.

MENTIONED IN:

11 Novels that Explore the Beautiful and Complex Bonds of Sisterhood

By Hilary Krutt | June 23, 2015

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The Poisonwood Bible
by Barbara Kingsolver

This family epic set in the Belgian Congo in 1959 is narrated by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, an evangelical Baptist missionary. Told over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa, it is the story of one family and one nation’s tragic undoing.

The Poisonwood Bible
Barbara Kingsolver

This family epic set in the Belgian Congo in 1959 is narrated by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, an evangelical Baptist missionary. Told over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa, it is the story of one family and one nation’s tragic undoing.

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Vanessa and Her Sister
by Priya Parmar

A spellbinding tale of the inseparable bond between Virginia Woolf and her sister, the gifted painter Vanessa Bell, and the real-life betrayal that threatened to destroy their family. Parmar’s enthralling debut exquisitely captures the aura of prewar London and the extraordinary lives of these remarkable artists.

Vanessa and Her Sister
Priya Parmar

A spellbinding tale of the inseparable bond between Virginia Woolf and her sister, the gifted painter Vanessa Bell, and the real-life betrayal that threatened to destroy their family. Parmar’s enthralling debut exquisitely captures the aura of prewar London and the extraordinary lives of these remarkable artists.

MENTIONED IN:

11 Novels that Explore the Beautiful and Complex Bonds of Sisterhood

By Hilary Krutt | June 23, 2015

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The Secret Keeper
by Kate Morton

Sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson witnessed a shocking crime that challenged everything she knows about her adored mother. Now reunited on their mother’s ninetieth birthday, Laurel and her sisters search for clues to illuminate the truth about that long-ago day. It is a mesmerizing novel of family secrets, murder, and enduring love.

The Secret Keeper
Kate Morton

Sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson witnessed a shocking crime that challenged everything she knows about her adored mother. Now reunited on their mother’s ninetieth birthday, Laurel and her sisters search for clues to illuminate the truth about that long-ago day. It is a mesmerizing novel of family secrets, murder, and enduring love.

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We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
by Karen Joy Fowler
The Cookes—Mother and Dad, brother Lowell, sisters Fern and Rosemary—are an ordinary middle-class American family, in all ways but one: Fern is a chimpanzee. Beautifully written, this is the tale of an unconventional family and the heartbreaking consequences of their good intentions.
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
Karen Joy Fowler

“WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY BESIDE OURSELVES is one of those completely absorbing books that makes the rest of the world disappear, while at the same time reminding us all too clearly of the world we come from and its occasional cruelty.”

Read the full review by Midge Raymond here.

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The Three Weissmanns of Westport
by Cathleen Schine

Betty Weissmann has just been dumped by her husband of forty-eight years. Exiled from her elegant New York apartment by her husband’s mistress, she and her two middle-aged daughters, regroup in a run-down Westport, Connecticut beach cottage.

The Three Weissmanns of Westport
Cathleen Schine

Betty Weissmann has just been dumped by her husband of forty-eight years. Exiled from her elegant New York apartment by her husband’s mistress, she and her two middle-aged daughters, regroup in a run-down Westport, Connecticut beach cottage.

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The Carriage House
by Louisa Hall

A carriage house has stood on the Adair property for three generations. When patriarch William falls sick, his daughters Diana, Elizabeth, and Isabelle rally to save their father by salvaging the condemned carriage house and all it represents. This beautifully wrought debut novel about the complex bonds of siblings, rebuilding lost lives, and the saving grace of love takes its cues from Jane Austen’s Persuasion.

The Carriage House
Louisa Hall

A carriage house has stood on the Adair property for three generations. When patriarch William falls sick, his daughters Diana, Elizabeth, and Isabelle rally to save their father by salvaging the condemned carriage house and all it represents. This beautifully wrought debut novel about the complex bonds of siblings, rebuilding lost lives, and the saving grace of love takes its cues from Jane Austen’s Persuasion.

MENTIONED IN:

11 Novels that Explore the Beautiful and Complex Bonds of Sisterhood

By Hilary Krutt | June 23, 2015

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The Weird Sisters
by Eleanor Brown

Bianca, Cordelia, and Rosalind are the book-loving and wonderfully quirky spawn of Shakespeare scholar Dr. James Andreas. When the three sisters return to their childhood home to lick their wounds and bury their secrets, they are horrified to find the others there. But the Andreas sisters soon discover that everything they’ve been running from might offer more than they ever expected.

The Weird Sisters
Eleanor Brown

Bianca, Cordelia, and Rosalind are the book-loving and wonderfully quirky spawn of Shakespeare scholar Dr. James Andreas. When the three sisters return to their childhood home to lick their wounds and bury their secrets, they are horrified to find the others there. But the Andreas sisters soon discover that everything they’ve been running from might offer more than they ever expected.

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A Reunion of Ghosts
by Judith Claire Mitchell

In New York City in the final days of 1999, sisters Lady, Vee, and Delph decide to put an end to their family curse. Funny, heartbreaking, and utterly original, this is a magnificent novel about three unforgettable women bound to each other through the blessings and burdens bestowed by blood.

A Reunion of Ghosts
Judith Claire Mitchell

In New York City in the final days of 1999, sisters Lady, Vee, and Delph decide to put an end to their family curse. Funny, heartbreaking, and utterly original, this is a magnificent novel about three unforgettable women bound to each other through the blessings and burdens bestowed by blood.

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How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents
by Julia Alvarez
In Julia Alvarez’s acclaimed debut novel, the Garcia sisters—Carla, Sandra, Yolanda, and Sofia—flee the Dominican Republic for New York with their parents in 1960. There, they occupy the liberating and excruciating space between the old world and the new. This is an intimate story of how four sisters came to be at home—and not at home—in America.
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents
Julia Alvarez

This brilliant, buoyant, and beloved novel gives voice to four sisters growing up in two cultures. The García family fled the Dominican Republic for New York City in 1960 when their father’s role in an attempted coup was discovered. In the wild and wondrous and not always welcoming USA, their parents try to hold on to their old ways, but the girls try to find new lives: forgetting their Spanish, straightening their hair, and wearing bell bottoms. How the García Girls Lost Their Accents captures how it is both liberating and excruciating to navigate the old world and the new.

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