Blog-Tour: The Sweeney Sisters

Hey everyone! Today we have a review of a book I am very excited for, The Sweeney Sisters. Make sure to check out the rest of this post and my Instagram for a giveaway, too! Here is the rest of the tour!

An accomplished storyteller returns with her biggest, boldest, most entertaining novel yet—a hilarious, heartfelt story about books, love, sisterhood, and the surprises we discover in our DNA that combines the wit of Jonathan Tropper with the heart of Susan Wiggs.

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 fifteen 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% 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 blond 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.

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Lian Dolan is a writer and talker. She’s the author of two Los Angeles Times best-selling novels, Helen of Pasadena and Elizabeth the First Wife published by Prospect Park Books. Her next novel, The Sweeney Sisters, will be published in 2020 by William Morrow. She’s a regular humor columnist for Pasadena Magazine and has previously written monthly columns for O, The Oprah Magazine and Working Mother Magazine. She’s also written for TV, radio and websites.

Lian is the producer and host of Satellite Sisters, the award-winning talk show she created with her four real sisters. On Satellite Sisters, she’s interviewed everyone from Nora Ephron to Madeleine Albright to Big Bird. Satellite Sisters began life as a syndicated radio show and is now a top-rated podcast for women. The recent book by the Satellite Sisters, You’re the Best: A Celebration of Friendship, is popular with book clubs.

A popular speaker who combines humor and heart, Lian has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Sunday Morning and The Today Show and many local TV stations. She’s been a featured speaker at the LA Times Festival of Books, the Santa Barbara Celebrity Authors Lunch, the Literary Guild of Orange County Festival of Women Authors and dozens of other events at libraries, book stores, schools and women’s organizations across the country. In 2020, she’ll be on the faculty of the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop.

Lian graduated from Pomona College with a degree in Classics. She lives in Pasadena, California with her husband, two sons and a big German shepherd.

So, needless to say, this is a very exciting book to be a part of the tour for! My mom has been a fan of The Satellite Sisters podcast for years, making them bonafide legends in our house. So, getting to be a part of the blog tour is quite exciting!

The Sweeney Sisters follows the story of four very different women, and the ways their story are intertwined. Liza, Tricia, and Maggie, the three daughters of William Sweeney, and Serena, the unexpected (and illegitamte) fourth sister.

This book was not your stereotypical plot heavy lit fic; it was a wonderful kaleidoscope of stories about people, and the ways their stories are intertwined. The story jumped from point of view to point of view on each page, every character getting a chance to tell things how they saw it, even for just a few sentences. This is something that is hard to pull off; Usually, I am not one for shifting points of view (I have a strange loyalty to the first person who speaks in a book, don’t ask me why), but in this case, it really worked. It added to the connection to each character, making it very immersive and human. Dolan gave us little vignettes of each sister’s life, allowing us to see how all of their choices and actions affected one another.

“She felt like she regained years of her life every time he wandered into the gallery at the end of the day…She felt adventurous, thrilled.”

Like I said, the story is very character driven. After William Sweeney passed away, the three Sweeney sisters are left to pick up the pieces of his life. They all adored and idolized him in their own way, and as the book progresses, we see them put together the pieces of what their father was really like. There was no big “plot twist” moment, it was a slow progression of realization that accompanied their grieving–grief for the loss of their father, and for what they thought there family and childhood had been.

On the sidelines of this, we see Serena, the girl next door who had always envied the family she had seen in the Sweeney house. As she watches this family, her family, grieve what they thought they had, she slow gets what she has always wanted; the be a part of it all. Instead of being the Lillian in this story, Serena is someone who shoulders some of the sister’s grief, as we watch them all become a family again.

“…Serena had walked into rooms with..war lords, Nobel Peace Prize laureates…But nothing had quite prepared her for this moment, knowingly meeting her three sisters for the first time. “

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It isn’t something I would usually pick up, so I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It was a wonderful story about the connections between people, and family, as well as as a raw and humble depiction of human nature and grief.

Stay safe and healthy, everyone!


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