From Publishers Weekly
There were never such devoted sisters, or ones so hilariously and heartbreakingly conflicted about loyalty and love as the ones in Gabriele's brisk second novel (Tempting Faith DiNapoli
). Thoughtful, married-mom Georgie Peachy Archer and big-city-girl Beth, her older sister, grow up on a Canadian farm with their hairdressing, Vietnam draft–dodging dad, Lou, and share the pain of their mom's suicide. But that's where the similarities end—until the sisters swap lives for a weekend. Walking in Beth's shoes around New York City, Peachy meets Beth's discreet doorman, snarky friends and disapproving ex-boyfriend, and gets a crash course in understanding what her brash sister's really about. Here is a charming, smart and honest story of two sisters who learn to embrace the lives they have. Gabriele's writing is sharp and her heart is pure gold. This honest tale of passionate, mixed-up and forgiving families is hard to put down. (Oct.)
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Quill & Quire
Accidentally pregnant, married, and settled on the family farm before she reached her mid-twenties, Peachy Archer has all the spontaneity of a coffee table. Now 28, she has two loveable boys, a long-abandoned partial degree in social work, and a marriage that’s dull but predictable. There are fissures in her life, but for the most part, Peachy leaves the family drama to her half-sister, Beth. That is, until the glamorous Beth brings her New York wildness home to the Southern Ontario farm. In a single moment – in which Peachy catches Beth having drunken sex with her husband – Peachy’s cultivated adoration for her half-sister unravels. Lisa Gabriele’s second novel pops with wit and humour, and even the book’s darkest corners are lit with the author’s bright wordplay. The bitter ruminations of the slighted Peachy, as she reminisces about her marriage and half-sisterhood, are as bold and hilarious as they are tragically confessional. Beneath the novel’s cheerful tone is the steady hum of more serious topics: the suicide of the Archer girls’ mother, the epilepsy that Peachy’s eight-year-old son, Sam, struggles with, and the constant spectres of alcoholism and domestic abuse. Through it all, Peachy’s father, a completely endearing draft dodger turned hairdresser who raised both girls, pursues a doomed mission to keep everyone in the family beautiful, sober, and congenial. At the edge of Gabriele’s briskly paced story is an aching nostalgia for innocence lost, opportunities missed, and friendship broken. Even the family farm, gradually being sold off to pay for Sam’s medical treatments, is vanishing. Much as The Almost Archer Sisters
is a story of silly mistakes and squabbling siblings, it’s also about how all of us face the big, unfathomable future.