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Dark Sister Paperback – Jun 3 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (June 3 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312872542
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312872540
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 13.9 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 381 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,654,777 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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When Alex had ripped out the boards, in a cracking and splintering of wood, he called Maggie. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
"Dark Sister" is not your ordinary novel about witchcraft. When Maggie, a housewife and mother of two children, and Alex and archeologist, move into a new home, Maggie longs to uncover and use the old fireplace in the house, so Alex pries away its boarded covering to expose the long unused fireplace. While a chimney sweep is cleaning the chimney, he finds a diary hidden inside. Maggie claims the diary and begins to read the over 100 year old book. She discovers that the author is "Bella". She first suspects that Bells was simply an herbalist, but quickly discovers that she was a witch who lived in the house over a hundred years before.
Bound by her husband's lack of respect for her and her dreams [he forbids her to return to school to study psychology, wanting her to be a "proper mother], and the duties of mothering, Maggie searches for her identity by reading the diary and learning more about the remedies and potions described within.
Unable to find all of the herbs mentioned, or to understand the old English words for some of them, she engages the help of a local herbalist, Ash, who has a shop in town. She develops a strong bond with Ash, who is concerned for Maggies zeal to dive in too quickly to the potions and magic described in Bella's diary. He sends Maggie to "Liz" a strange old woman who lives alone and who is quite obviously a witch. Liz shares her knowledge with Maggie, but holds back a secret that is later revealed in the novel.
As Maggie becomes more and more involved in witchcraft, the time she spends away from home and her children becomes a sore point between she and her husband, Alex, who would prefer that she sit at home, minding the children all day.
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Format: Paperback
This is a book meant to be read in one sitting, preferably on a dark dreary night while the wind is howling through all of the cracks & crevices of old windows. Though I have the old, drafty windows, unfortunately, I no longer have the luxury of reading anything in one sitting and was forced to settle for half hour reading spurts whenever I could steal away from the various noises (kids fighting, husband yapping, tv blaring) residing in my home. Despite the pick-up and put-down method of my reading I was able to fall into the book all over again each time I began anew. This really says something about the story considering I'm unable to get through 3 out of 4 books I read lately. Like the previous Graham Joyce book I read "The Tooth Fairy", the characters in Dark Sister are realistic, imperfect people with many flaws. No one is perfect through and through.
Maggie is an engrossing character caught in a stifling marriage. She's a stay-at-home mom who longs for a little more than keeping house (and getting criticized by husband Alex when things are not up to his standards). Alex, an insecure turd, is the type who would lock her in a tower and throw away the key if he could get away with it and refuses to allow her to return to school. When the not-so-happy couple discover an old journal filled with herbal lore Maggie becomes a little obsessed with learning its secrets. As Maggie delves deeper into the world of magic and makes two new friends (a lonely herbalist and an eccentric, crusty old lady) who become part of her journey, her marriage continues to go down the tubes. I found Maggie's magical discoveries quite interesting but it's the increasing destruction of her family life that adds an emotionally grueling level to the story.
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Format: Paperback
I very much enjoyed Dark Sister on its own merits, but of course it is impossible not to compare it to his previous works. For all the intensity this book brings, it felt somewhat "light" to me compared to "The Tooth Fairy". However, Graham Joyce could write a shopping list and it would still be better than almost anything being written today. I am still amazed by his ability to draw you into a very real story with very real and sympathetic characters, and then introduce through dark, fantastical elements the magic that underlies all our lives, if we are open enough to see them. This blend is amazingly difficult to achieve, and again he does it with well crafted prose and wonderful insight. I look forward to a long and prolific career from Mr. Joyce.
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Format: Paperback
I am a reader of fictional books on magick. That is the obvious reason I went right into this one. The charactors were easy to love and hate as the book was written quite vividly. Sometimes it was very hard to tell what to think of a charactor though as the twists in the story lead you deaper into the mystery of who the "dark sister" really is. I suppose what was least enjoyable about the book was that with all the characters so real that every twenty pages you would get almost a glimps of Wonderland... these quite disturbing happenings that are occuring don't quite fit in the novel. It reminds me to some degree of "Practical Magic" the novel in its dark randerings... except Joyce's style of writing is very fast paced. The witchcraft in this book does not enter at all into the spiritual aspect and I can not say how well of a basis that the Herbal lore/magick has, though it is written in such a way that it is inrapturing. Overall it is not a book to read to brighten the mood, or to read unless you want to feel a little thrill and douse yourself in someone elses problems for a while.
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