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Sisters in Love


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by Henriette Hampton Morris

“First in a projected series called Women’s Club Editions, Morris’s sweeping debut novel aims for readers seeking a gentle, romantic epic that gleans its drama not from racy action but from tender family ties and dreamy nostalgia. The story spans eight decades in the lives of South Carolina’s six Willoughby sisters, opening with nonagenarian Lucy in her hospital bed dreaming about the days of her youth. She flashes back to the family’s Ashton Plantation in 1910 when she is 10 years old, surrounded by sisters Lyda, 20; Mary, 17; Sally, 11; Daphne, seven; and Jenny, three. Much of the plot scans the various courtships and nuptials of the siblings, as one by one they are married off, but the stories of the three middle sisters, Lucy, Sally, and Daphne, take center stage. Lucy is brokenhearted early on when Adam, the man she’s fallen in love with and jilted her fiance for, dies suddenly. Sally is the strong, sassy sister who weds alcoholic Crawford and later becomes a secretary to support herself. Daphne, perceived as the spoiled brat, steals Mary’s beau and marries him for money. Through a succession of marriages, births and deaths, the sisters turn to each other for help, often relying on their papa’s one-dimensional advice about duty and good breeding. Morris crowds her story with so many characters and major events that she resorts to skipping years in a sentence and jumping from one dramatic crisis to the next, leaving little room for character development. Still this story will appeal to readers who enjoy an old-fashioned gentility and light, simple prose. ” (Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information, Inc.)

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    University of South Carolina Press