Almost Sisters: A Novel by Joshilyn Jackson (William Morrow, $26.99, 352 pages)
Every family has secrets that persist over generations. When a family happens to have its roots in a small town in Alabama, long-standing Southern mores bring added depth to its history. Author Joshilyn Jackson has written a family tale worthy of high praise, The Almost Sisters. Her main character, cartoonist Leia Birch, is the family outlier. Her stepsister, Rachel, is the conventional, perfectionist Southern wife who resides in a faux-Tara home with her husband, Jake, and daughter, Lavender.
Leia Birch is not just a cartoonist; she’s the artist behind a DC Comics limited series, Violence in Violet. The success of the series brought Leia to a comic-book convention in Atlanta where she was the featured artist. Months later Leia has a secret that she knows will only be met with acceptance by her beloved grandmother, Miss Birchie.
Miss Birchie has her own secrets; although, if she can’t stay quiet in church, at least half of Birchville will find out. The town, founded by her family, retains many vestiges of the old South. There is the white neighborhood and the colored one. People have their places in society and the ridged structure rarely bends to accommodate modern beliefs from outside.
Leia not only has a secret, she has a contract to write and illustrate the prequel for her Violence in Violet series. The pressure is on as she drives to Birchville to confide in her grandmother. Little does she suspect that what awaits her may be beyond what she’s able to handle. There is more than one set of sisters.
Readers will be drawn into the fascinating threads of Author Jackson’s tale. This book may be fiction but it could also be drawn from real life. Ms. Jackson is that good at conveying the humanity of each of her unforgettable characters.
A review copy was received from the publisher. Almost Sisters was released on July 11, 2017.