Publishers Weekly, 2005-11-14 With her latest gothic page-turner, Beauman (Rebecca's Tale) weaves a spellbinding tale of three charismatic English sisters and their irresistible pull on the men in their orbit. At the novel's start, it's summer of 1967 in Suffolk, England, where the Mortlands-gorgeous Julia; intellectual Finn (both in their early 20s); odd, imaginative 13-year-old Maisie; and their mother, Stella-live in a medieval abbey. Maisie, who narrates early on, is haunted by the death of their father-and by the abbey's long-gone nuns. Stella commissions Lucas Feld, a starving young artist, to paint the sisters. Julia and Finn, along with Lucas, Daniel Nunn (the sisters' childhood friend) and Daniel's friend Nick Marlow, spend the summer entangled in affairs of the heart while Maisie observes. With his paint brush, Lucas uncannily captures the passion, heartbreak and mystery of the bittersweet summer. But a horrific tragedy, the details of which Beauman suspensefully reveals over the rest of the novel, destroys the summer idyll. Fast-forward to 1991: Lucas is now a famous artist whose breakthrough painting The Sisters Mortland will soon show at a retrospective, and Daniel, who narrates this section, is suffering a mid-life crisis and still obsessed with the events of that fateful summer. With a conclusion narrated by Julia, this well-paced, haunting novel will captivate Beauman's fans. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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