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The Story Sisters Paperback – 27 May 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: William Collins (27 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007351526
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007351527
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.1 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 251,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'When it comes to blending magic and the mundane routines of life, there's no finer writer than Alice Hoffman - but even she has outdone herself with her latest novel. THE STORY SISTERS hearkens back to the classic fairy tale, where one must suffer fear and loss before stumbling upon a happy ending. Hoffman reminds us with every sentence that words have the power to transport us to alternate worlds, to heal a broken heart, and to tie us irrevocably to the people we love.' Jodi Picoult

'"Little Women" on mushrooms.' New York Times Book Review

'This bewitching novel explores the bonds of sisterhood like a haunting modern fairy tale.' Glamour

'The always dazzling Hoffman has outdone herself in this bewitching weave of psychologically astute fantasy and shattering realism….this is an entrancing and romantic drama shot through with radiant beauty and belief in human resilience and transformation.' Booklist (starred review)

About the Author

Alice Hoffman is the bestselling author of twenty-one acclaimed novels, including The River King, The Ice Queen, The Third Angel, Here on Earth and Practical Magic (made into a film starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman). She currently lives in Boston and New York.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Brida TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 21 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback
THE STORY SISTERS has long been on my wishlist. Hoffman's writing often feels very simple yet very beautiful. Her tales with a hint of magic realism have often captured my imagination, with me reading into the small hours. When I first became aware of THE STORY SISTERS, I truly felt that I would love the book. With the suggestion of fairy tale, I was instantly intrigued to dive into its pages. However, when I finally started to read this novel, I quickly discovered that I was not as gripped by it as I thought I would be.
I don't like to give up on books. If I start them, I try my best to finish them. And, some of the most rewarding reading experiences have been those that I have presevered with, finally finding the book unputdownable. Unfortunately, this did not happen this time. For some reason, I could not become immersed within the world that the Story sisters possessed. Elements of the book did interest me - for example, at the beginning of each section there is are very short stories which have a fairy tale quality to them. These were very well done. Also, I liked the fact that the sisters had created their own fantasy world, complete with its own language. But, after reading just shy of 100 pages and feeling as though hardly anything of significance had happened, I finally admitted defeat and turned to another book.

Hoffman is a good writer, and I will continue to read her work. It's just, for some reason, THE STORY SISTERS was not able to enthrall me as her other pieces have.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Zoe Brooks on 27 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback
This review is from the Magic Realism Blog (contains spoilers)

They say don't judge a book by its cover, but we all do, I certainly do. The cover would have put me off. As a mature woman I would have looked at the girl with young man behind her and thought "not for me." I probably wouldn't have noticed the moths. So I very much doubt that I would have read this book had it not been for this challenge, but I did and I'm glad I did. When this challenge is over I will read more Alice Hoffman. I'm not sure why, but I didn't fully engage with this book until about halfway through, when suddenly I could not put the book down.

The book is a modern fairytale, not a Hans Christian Anderson fairytale but a Grimm brothers' tale full of darkness, shadows and evil demons. Two of the three Story sisters share a terrible secret. One day the youngest Claire is grabbed by a man and dragged into a car, her oldest sister Elv saves Claire but is taken herself and kept prisoner for hours. When Elv returns she makes Claire promise not to talk about it. The book is about that event and the girls failure to talk about it.

The book is partly about stories. Elv creates a fantasy world to cope with the evil that she has encountered, but the fantasy is more real to her than normality. She draws her sisters into that world, creating a language which the sisters share and exclude their mother and the rest of the adults. Rebelling, cynical and hurting Elv spirals down into drugs and crime. Lorry, a young heroine addict and crook, enchants Elv with weird stories about his past. Elv is convicted of trying to con an old woman. The second sister escapes into books. The girls' grandmother and her friend Mrs Cohen also believe in the presence of demons.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marion Marchetto on 9 Dec. 2011
Format: Paperback
What would you do for the love of your sister or brother? Alice Hoffman takes us on a journey into the minds of three sisters who are so close as children that they have created a fantasy world where no others are allowed. This world is the creation of the oldest sister, Elv, who rescues her youngest sibling from probably child molestation by taking shoving her out of a moving car and taking her place. When she is released she keeps it all inside herself, vowing to keep both her sisters safe from the demons that inhabit the real world.

Elv and her sisters are the products of divorced parents. Annie, their mother, thinks she has a close bond with the girls but sadly knows nothing of their fantasy world and Elv's private hell.

Elv is driven to sex, drugs, and the dark side in her search for love. Claire, the youngest, who Elv rescued from being a victim, watches this downward spiral. She blames herself not only for Elv's fall but also for the deaths of people and animals she loves. Most importantly Claire blames herself for the death of their middle sister, Megan, and vows never again to love another being.

In the end, we watch the lives of the sisters drift apart before they reunite years later. It is a long, intricate journey but one that is skillfully woven by Ms. Hoffman. The characters are believable and vulnerable and I was anxious to see how they would fare. I would have enjoyed getting deeper into the feelings of Claire and learning more of the young Megan. Perhaps even learning about how the actions of the sisters caused their mother to do some of the things she did. Another aspect I would have enjoyed would have been the story of the girls' father and how he viewed his rebellious oldest daughter.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stepping Out of the Page on 17 Oct. 2011
Format: Paperback
This was a rather strange book - it was dark, mysterious and also enchanting as well as being a very difficult book to describe! The way that it is written is detailed and beautiful - I really do think that the writing style should be commended. Especially in the sections situated in Paris, I soaked up the atmosphere and felt as though I was there. The subjects that are faced in this book are pretty 'sinister' (Abuse, mental issues, drugs) and the book does seem dark, but not at all horrifying - I guess you could call it slightly eerie. This book is clever and quite psychological without getting too deep or confusing. Absolutely loads of things happen in this book and everything does seem significant in it's own way. There are several characters, each with a reasonably well formed personality and appearance.
The one thing that I believe could've been better dealt with was the world of Arnelle. It added a magical side throughout the beginning of the book but somewhat lost steam through the middle and end - I do think that it could have been focused on or developed more though I am glad that it didn't competely dominate the story.
Whilst I wasn't that compelled by this book at the beginning, once I became more accustomed to it, I began to enjoy it more. I appreciated this one a lot.
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