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The Almost Archer Sisters Paperback – Dec 30 2008
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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.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Releasing tomorrow from Random House Canada, this second novel from Lisa Gabriele is one of those books that is a found gem - one you have to let your friends know about.
It tells the story of two sisters who were raised on a farm in Ontario. Beth is a wild child who pushed the boundaries of everything growing up and continues to do so as an adult. She fled the farm and moved to New York to pursue a successful career. The other sister Georgia, but known to all as Peachy, stayed at home. She got pregnant and married before she finished her social work degree. Her husband, Beau, was Beth's first lover. Their father, Lou, a draft dodging hairdresser, also lives on the farm in a trailer.
Beth's life seems be unravelling and she is coming home to the farm for more frequent visits. Peachy's life is stressful as well. Her son Sam has severe epilepsy. Her focus lately has been on his health, not on her other son and husband.
Things come to a head during one Beth's visits. Peachy gets up in the night and walks in on her sister and Beau - and they're not playing cards.
What could have precipitated such a betrayal? Can any relationship - the siblings, the husband and wife, the father and daughters - ever recover or be rebuilt after such perfidy?
Gabriele's writing is at turns funny and poignant but above all else it is real.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Peachy Archer, now Mrs. Laliberté, has a husband and two young sons, one of whom is sick. Her glamorous sister Beth has the looks, the fame, and the addictions that Peachy never aspired to. Beth's dazzling New York success seduces Peachy's two impressionable sons. And her history with Peachy's husband adds to the general disruption when she comes for one of her regular visits. Peachy and Beth briefly collaborate on a plan to get back at Beth's ex-boyfriend (the false pretenses part), but events take an unexpected direction when Peachy heads for New York unaccompanied.
The "Almost Archer Sisters" bulges with family: family history, family failure and strife, tough love, and shocking weakness. Peachy, at one point an aggrieved party, flirts with a beautiful, appealing man and with the possibility of forbidden fruit, all the while knowing very well the needs of those who depend on her. This story has a highly unusual balance - a reflecting quality. Peachy's yang dynamically anchors Beth's yin, and we see some of Beth's fast-lane influence on Peachy during Peachy's excursion. This centrifugal balance drives the narrative, pulling our emotions along for the suspenseful ride.
Ms. Gabriele takes her heroine on a journey, a richly dramatic one, and she treats the reader with laugh-out-loud comic touches throughout. This book shows the author's power and assuredness with a fraught family situation; it never approaches anything cloying, and holds a ton of promise for Peachy, the heroine. This story soars, it delights, and it rewards the lucky reader. Well done!
The storyline appears simple enough - one sister living the Sex & the City lifestyle, the other a stay-at-home mom, and the different lives they live. However Lisa Gabrielle has a beautiful writing style that turns this simple story into one that you won't forget.
When I was asked to review "The Almost Archer Sisters" I gladly accepted, thinking I was going to be reviewing a "chick lit" novel. But this book is so much more. Lisa Gabrielle takes the reader on an emotional rollercoaster as we follow Beth and Peachy's turbulent childhood, and touch on real issues such as depression, abortion, suicide, epilepsy and much more.
Whether you are a single woman, a mother, or just married you will treasure this book with all your heart as you follow Peachy along her quest to find out who she really is and what life she belongs in, whether its her seemingly idyllic life on the farm with her husband and two children, or the Sex & The City life that Beth leads.
The emotion that pours out of every page left me hanging on right until the end, and wishing that there was more.
There is also a great Q&A at the end, where author, Lisa Gabrielle, talks about the characters, the story and why she wrote it.
For the fans of Cathy Kelly, Marian Keyes and Nicholas Sparks this is one not to be missed.