Friday, April 27, 2012

Guest Post + Giveaway: The Sister Queens

We're talking sister novels today with debut author Sophie Perinot! Join the conversation and enter to win a copy of The Sister Queens!

I absolutely loved The Sister Queens--a five star read for me and the best historical fiction debut I've read in a long time! (Click here to read my review!) I'm very excited to have Sophie on the blog today! Without further ado, please join me in welcoming Sophie Perinot!


I am a sucker for a good sister story. Always have been—way back to the March sisters in Little Women. If you are a sister, if you have a sister, how can you not be? There is something so unique, wonderful, maddening and complicated about the bond we share, woman-to-woman, with our female siblings. Our relationships with our sisters are a constant source of aggravation and amazement in real life so it is only natural we should seek to explore and understand them better through literature.

I use the pages of my debut novel, The Sister Queens, to look at the heart and soul of the relationship between two 13th century sisters – Marguerite and Eleanor of Provence – who just happened to be queens (France and England respectively). But lots of other authors have approached the bonds of sisterhood through fiction. So I decided to start a Goodreads list for “Sister Novels,” soliciting a little help from some of my equally book-addicted friends.


The very first title I added was Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I suspect lots of people view this novel as a story about couples and courtship but I’ve always seen it as a “Sisters Novel.” Jane and Elizabeth Bennet are two of my favorite sisters of all time. Why? Well, I will admit they remind me (strikingly) of myself and my own sister (I am Elizabeth by the way which offers me the chance to be the younger sister for once). But narcissism aside, the way these two Bennet sisters are portrayed—as caring, supportive, best-friends—offers a shining positive example of sisterhood at its best. I suspect that portrayal resonates with countless readers, because the majority of sisters I come in contact with love each other to death. They would lend their sister their last dollar. They are the sisters of Irving Berlin’s song, Sisters, Sisters:

Sisters, sisters
There were never such devoted sisters,
Never had to have a chaperone, no sir,
I'm there to keep my eye on her
Caring, sharing
Every little thing that we are wearing
When a certain gentleman arrived from Rome
She wore the dress, and I stayed home.

All kinds of weather, we stick together 
The same in the rain and sun
Two different faces, but in tight places
We think and we act as one
Those who've seen us
Know that not a thing could come between us
Many men have tried to split us up, but no one can
Lord help the mister who comes between me and my sister
And lord help the sister, who comes between me and my man
.

Other books currently on the “Sister Novels” list that portray sisters as “comforter in chief,” in times of trouble and “celebrant in chief” in times of triumph include: Little Women, Sense & Sensibility, and all the books from the Little House on the Prairie series. None of these books whitewash or over-simplify the complex relationship between female siblings. The sisters in each have their tiffs and their differences, but loyalty reigns supreme.

And then there are the dark sister books—the ones about bitchy sisters; sisters who steal each other’s boyfriends; sisters who are rivals first and fellow-family-members second (or not at all); and even sisters who ruthlessly sabotage a sibling’s happiness to secure their own. These can be a great read, and surely reflect real life as well. Personal favorites among dicey-sister-relationship books on my Goodreads list include: Michelle Moran’s Nefertiti (in which Nefertiti, for her own ends, is willing to cause her sister to miscarry her child) and The Other Boleyn Girl (I spent the entire book waiting for Mary to slap Anne and slap her good). These women are the antithesis of Katniss from The Hunger Games, or Kate Fitzgerald from My Sister’s Keeper (also on the “Sister Novels” list).

I started the “Sister Novels” list with 15 books. There are now more than 115. If you are a lover of sister-stories, it’s a reading list to drool over. (Click here to check it out!) But there is always room on the shelf for another good book probing the hearts and realities of life as a sister. What books do you think we missed? What are your favorite sister-stories and why? Inquiring fellow sister-story junkies want to know!

Want to win your own copy of
THE SISTER QUEENS?

All you have to do is leave a comment with a suggested title for Sophie's list along with your email address, and you're entered!

Earn an extra entry by sharing this post on your favorite social media site!

This giveaway is closed and the winner has been selected! Stay tuned for more great giveaways!

32 comments:

  1. Hi,

    so far i admit i have no idea about a sisters stories so i can't help you,sorry

    thanks you a lot for this international giveaway

    isabelle(dot)frisch(at)gmail(dot)com

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  2. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.
    Thanks a lot for the giveaway!
    by.evie at yahoo dot com dot br

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  3. sister's story, i dont think i ever read one :(


    eli_y83@yahoo.com

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  4. My favorite sister novel is The Sister Queens, natch! But one I'm reading right now is Hand Me Down by Melanie Thorne -- another sister novel and proving to be highly engrossing!

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    1. ooo how could I have forgotten Melanie's book!

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  5. I cannot remember off hand whether I have read an intimate sister's story other than the Boleyn one which was a good one with the two sisters fighting for the attention of Henry VIII. Please count me in for this one.

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  6. Oh, I used to sing "Sisters" to my girls when they got into tiffs growing up - we'd all end up laughing :)
    On sisters book that comes to mind is a contemporary romance by Kristan Higgins: Too Good To Be True. Very funny sister to the main character. Hooked me on Higgins' forever.
    Thanks for the giveaway chance!
    meah56(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  7. What a lovely guest post. I think it is wonderful that a list of sisters novels includes the children's series by Laura Ingals Wilder. "Sisters, sisters" - a great idea for a reading list. Thanks for the giveaway.
    lcbrower40(at)gmail(dot)com

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  8. Wonderful giveaway. A memorable sisters novel is I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  9. Enjoyable post which was thought provoking. Sisters books always entrance me with their uniqueness. One that was exceptional and unforgettable is Sisters of Glass. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  10. ME & Emma. I forget the author but it is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo good. I can't make that soo long enough to show you how good it is.

    Lindseyaylward@yahoo.com

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  11. Terrific suggestions! Keep em coming!

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  12. From the classics (and a bit of an oblique entry) how about Dickens' Bleak House? I'm talking about Lady Dedlock and her sister Miss Barbary. There's some hints of a dark past there.

    janesteen(AT)hotmail(DOT)com

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  13. The Last Boleyn by Karen Harper- thanks for the giveaway!

    Rachelhwallen@gmail.com

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  14. I haven't read it yet (but I want to!), but Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood is supposed to be about sisters.

    pherlaithiel (at) gmail (dot) com

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  15. I can only think of Little Women.

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  16. Great idea! I suggest Four Sisters, All Queens by Sherry Jones and The House of Women by Anne Brear. Thanks for the great post and the giveaway opened internationally.
    cyrano123@live.fr

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  17. Wow, internationally! I am so in cos I am very curious about this book.
    booksforlife01 {[at) gmail dot com

    Ok sisters, let me think...I have been staring at my shelves now and I got friends, but thta is mostly it. But then I finalyl found one! Christie Ridgway's series about the Baci Sisters
    Then he kissed me, You cna't hurry love

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  18. My suggestion is The Mitfords Letters Between Six Sisters by Charlotte Mosley. Also retweeted your tweet about the giveaway. Thanks!

    Margaret
    singitm(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  19. Little. WOMEN no better sisters!! Lomazowr@gmail.com

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  20. Little Women is always great, but another sister book...hmmm...I'll probably think of a dozen as soon as I walk away from the computer. The one that pops into my mind right now is Witches of East End by Melissa De La Cruz.

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    1. Oops. Forgot my email.

      jasmyn9[at]hotmail[dot]com

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  21. Just when I thought my "Sister Novel" TBR pile couldn't get any taller! Thanks for all the great suggestions!

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  22. Just realized this was my 500th post!!! It's good one too, huh?

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  23. What about:
    - The House at Riverton by Kate Morton
    - The Dashwood Sisters Tell All by Beth Pattillo (for Janeites!)
    - Romancing Miss Brontë by Juliet Gael (the story of Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë)
    - The Saint-James Sisters by Elle Leen
    - The Sisters Who Would Be Queens by Leanda De Lisle (the story of the three Grey sisters: Mary, Katherine and Lady Jane)
    - The king's mistresses by Elizabeth Goldsmith (the story of Marie and Hortense Mancini, mistresses of Louis XIV);
    - Royal Sisters by Jean Plaidy (the story of the daughters of James II);
    - Eve And Her Sisters by Rita Bradshaw

    Ah, sisters...!

    I will be happy to take part to the giveaway.
    chocolatesfan@hotmail.fr

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    1. Awesome list, Chocolate! I'm off to see if I can find that Goldsmith novel.

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  24. Here is another suggestion for the list: The Gilly Salt Sisters by Tiffany Baker.

    So many books about sisters!

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  25. I'm the only child in the family, so unfortunately I don't know all the pleasures of having a sister. And when I read Pride and Prejudice I really want to have one. However when I watch the Ringer series I highly doubt that:))
    I think the current title for your book list is one of the most suitable, allowing to understand at once what the books are about. Alternatively I could suggest titling it as "Friends or Rival by birth":)
    Thank you for the giveaway adn for making it international! I love historical fiction about queens and their courts, so I would love to read the Sister Queens.

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  26. I forgot about email:)
    oloore at gmail dot com

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  27. I like sister stories as well and one of my favorite is Little Women. There are so many personalities involved. Every relationship is different and yet special. True Colors has some sister relationships in there, along with some other family drama.

    Cambonified[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  28. There is one splendid book we have not mentioned yet that shows the damage a sister can make in a family: Atonement by Ian McEwan. An execellent read and also a superb film.

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