In the tradition of Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping and Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge comes a dazzling debut novel about the family bonds that remain even when they seem irretrievably torn apart.
Growing up in hardscrabble Kentucky in the 1920s, with their mother dead and their stepfather an ever-present threat, Bertie Fischer and her older sister, Mabel, have no one but each other—with perhaps a sweetheart for Bertie waiting in the wings. But on the day that Bertie receives her eighth-grade diploma, good intentions go terribly wrong, setting off a chain of misunderstandings that will send the sisters on separate paths and reverberate through their daughters' and granddaughters' lives.
What happens when nothing turns out as you planned? From the Depression through World War II and Vietnam, and smaller events both tragic and joyful, Bertie and Mabel forge unexpected identities and raise daughters—and sisters—of their own, learning that love and betrayal are even more complicated than they seem. Gorgeously written, with extraordinary insight and emotional truth, Nancy Jensen's debut novel illuminates the far-reaching power of family and family secrets.