The Divining Wand

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Presenting Debutante Eleanor Brown and
The Weird Sisters

January 17, 2011 By: larramiefg Category: Book Presentations, Books


When Debutante Eleanor Brown began visiting The Debutante Ball during its first Season of 2007, it’s doubtful that she ever imagined being one of the most honored Debs well before her book launched. But this Thursday, January 20, 2011, the author will hopefully stop pinching herself and simply revel in the debut of her novel, The Weird Sisters.

Described by as a major new talent, Deb Eleanor has written a literary/commercial book focusing on the complicated relationship of sisters, the powerful influence of books in our lives, and what we finally come to accept as home. For this, Publishers Weekly has given it a starred review “…bright, literate debut, a punchy delight”. Barnes & Noble has chosen the novel to be part of its Discover Great New Writers program beginning February – May. Amazon.com has selected it as one of the Best Books of the Month, January 2011, and it’s also been mentioned in USA Today. Of course that’s in addition to the other sparkling Praise and Press.

Duly impressed yet still wondering why The Weird Sisters is considered that special? To better understand, please know that there’s nothing weird about the sisters. In fact they even proclaim from the book’s front cover: See, we love each other. We just don’t happen to like each other very much.Now how normal does that sound for three female siblings?

The choice of the title is a logical one since it comes from Macbeth’s three witches, also known as the “weird sisters,” who represent both fate and destiny. And, since the novel focuses on the sisters’ questioning what they thought they were destined to be and struggling against what reality has dealt them, the title is a perfect description.

In writing her October 5, 2010 post, Deb Eleanor on Change and Saturn’s Return, the author explains how important she believes change is for characters:

“I believe good fiction is all about change. If there’s no difference between the characters at the beginning and the end of a novel, a memoir, even a non-fiction screed, I’m likely to end up dissatisfied. I want the characters to go through discomfort and maybe even a little pain, and to come out the other end reborn through the experience.

“Though it’s never mentioned in the book, when I wrote The Weird Sisters, I did a lot of research on Saturn’s Return.

“I call The Weird Sisters a belated coming-of-age novel. There is a reason my characters are 27, 30, and 33- I wanted them to be on the cusp of great change, to be pushed into places where they confront the lives they have created and acknowledge – and change – the pieces that aren’t working.”

Still it’s not only how the three sisters change but where they change as the author writes in her October 19, 2010 post, Deb Eleanor’s Favorite (Fictional) Place:

“….one of the things that I love most about books is their ability to transport you somewhere. In The Weird Sisters, one of my goals was to create a living, breathing town, a place that you felt you had seen before, or might be able to stumble upon, and I hope I’ve done that in the town of Barnwell, Ohio.”

Indeed Deb Eleanor has succeeded in giving the small college town of Barnwell a hometown feeling – a place where readers want to linger, while the sisters want to flee. And the combination of characters and location provides for the novel’s synopsis:

There is no problem that a library card can’t solve.

The Andreas family is one of readers. Their father, a renowned Shakespeare professor who speaks almost entirely in verse, has named his three daughters after famous Shakespearean women. When the sisters return to their childhood home, ostensibly to care for their ailing mother, but really to lick their wounds and bury their secrets, they are horrified to find the others there. See, we love each other. We just don’t happen to like each other very much. But the sisters soon discover that everything they’ve been running from – one another, their small hometown, and themselves – might offer more than they ever expected.

This debut novelist, as the youngest of three sisters, has been frequently asked which of the weird sisters — Rose (Rosalind – As You Like It), Bean (Bianca – The Taming of the Shrew), and Cordy (Cordelia – King Lear) — is she? Her response is that “there’s a little bit of me in each of the characters” and The Divining Wand has exclusive proof of that from three Q&A’s in The Revealing of Eleanor Brown:

Q: What’s your greatest flaw?
A: Complacency.

Q: What’s your best quality?
A: Enthusiasm.

Q: What do you regret most?
A: Hurting other people.

No *spoilers* here, but every one of these three answers describes one of the three sisters. It’s true, the author is delighted to admit. And, oh yes, the major theme of the book is revealed in:

Q: What is your greatest achievement?
A: Having the courage to build a life I want to live.

However what may be the most vital and magical element of The Weird Sisters is the narrator’s omniscient first person plural voice. Using “we” rather than “I,” the voice is privy to all the sisters’ thoughts, feelings, and secrets. It will pull readers into this triangular sisterhood, allowing one to feel as if they too belong…and never want to leave. In other words, it’s highly effective as well as pitch perfect.

As an Amy Einhorn book, the Uncorrected Proof of The Weird Sisters I received had an introductory letter from Ms. Einhorn in which she confesses:

The Weird Sisters is a novel I would shout about from the rooftops and urge everyone to read if I could.”

And, if that were possible, I would be among the first to join Ms. Einhorn. Yet what is possible for me to tell here is that this will be the book you reluctantly bookmark after each reading, muse about the characters as your mind wanders during the day, and rush back to its pages with anticipation only when you have a good chuck of time to spend in Barnwell, Ohio with the charming, weird sisters.

Since The Weird Sisters does not debut until Thursday, Amazon.com is featuring the novel at a Pre-order price — that costs little more than a Trade paperback — for a few more days. If you can, please take advantage of this opportunity. . . .and enjoy!

Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away one copy of Eleanor Brown’s The Weird Sisters in a random drawing of comments left only on this specific post. Comments left on other posts during the week will not be eligible. The deadline is Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. EST with the winners to be announced here in Thursday’s post. If you enter, please return Thursday to see if you’re a winner.

27 Comments to “
Presenting Debutante Eleanor Brown and
The Weird Sisters


  1. Count me in for this contest! I’ve been following “The Debutante Ball” blog and “The Weird Sisters” sounds great!

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  2. This sounds like a fantastic book! Coming from a large family which consisted mostly of sisters (4 girls, 2 boys), I know what it’s like to have that love/hate relationship with them. Would love to win this book!

    Margay

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  3. Congratulations, Eleanor! I have 4 sisters and the word “weird” has been tossed around once or twice! I can’t wait to read it!

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  4. Congratulations, Eleanor! I cam’t wait to read it!

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  5. Cannot even tell you how much I love this:

    “There is no problem that a library card can’t solve.”

    Please count me in – this sounds right up my alley!

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  6. I totally agree with the weird part…3 sisters & we probably all are weird! I just remember the saying ‘You can pick your friends but not your family’.
    Sounds like a wonderful book!

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  7. Sounds like an excellent book. I look forward to reading this one!

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  8. Tiffany D says:

    Please count me in, I would love to read this :)

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  9. :-) I’m still trying to win a copy of this book. Plz count me’ in.

    Thanks.

    Jenna

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  10. What a wonderful review of a very impressive author. Like Keetha, I completely identify with the quote about library cards….I know I’d be lost without my local library!

    Please do not count me in the contest, I just wanted to add my voice to the congratulations!

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  11. Gorgeous cover!! And the use of the “we” sounds really intriguing. Can’t wait to read more!

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  12. Somehow I missed hearing about this — thanks so much for the alert — sounds very impressive (and, yes, I’m a little jealous!)….

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  13. I am an only child, so I am always fascinated with how siblings, real and fictional, interact. Sounds like there is a great cast of characters in this book.

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  14. Jane Cook says:

    I’ve been reading a lot of ’sisters’ books lately, trying to make sense of the relationships that’s developing (or not) with my sister. This sounds right up my alley, particularly because they’re not young twenty-somethings (that boat sailed years ago for me!)

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  15. I am the oldest of three sisters and the love/dislike relationship between sisters is a theme that always seems to pop up in my own writing. This book is a must read for me.

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  16. Kristen De Deyn Kirk says:

    I’m so excited about this book, which I’ve been reading about everywhere. I’m impressed that even the New York Times looked at it!

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  17. Colleen Turner says:

    Oohhh…I am intrigued! I saw this book on Goodreads and thought it sounded really good. Now that I know the questions answered by the author in the interview are also related to the sisters and the overall theme of the book I can’t wait to read it (I love a good mystery :) ). Thanks for the informative post and author interview!

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  18. Gayle LIn says:

    I hope I’m not too late at responding to this. My library doesn’t have this book. I may have to buy my own.

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  19. Erin Golsen says:

    I’ve heard so many good things about this book–I’d love to win it!

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  20. Mary Quackenbush says:

    Every time I read something about this book, it just sounds better and better! There’s no question in my mind that I’m going to want to read this one!

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  21. Karen Taylor says:

    This book sounds like a winner. Can’t wait to see how these sisters connect with each other. I have one sister and five step-sisters. Not a lot of connection in our family, but we love each other.

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  22. Would love nothing better than to curl up with the Weird Sisters all day tomorrow. Sounds like the perfect read–especially for a cold and snowy January day! Can’t wait!

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  23. I am planning on purchasing the book, but would love a copy to share with my sister. We are very different, but the one thing that we always agree on is a good book. I have a pretty good feeling about this one!! Congratulations on your debut novel Eleanor!!

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  24. Linda Parker says:

    A positive review at the New York Times sent me looking for more information on Eleanor Brown, and I found this site. Reading this has piqued my interest further. I really want to read this book (and, of course, would love to win it).

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  25. Awesome giveaway…would love to win this book!!!

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  26. I’d love to read this book!

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  27. ohhhhh, nice book! I’ve always loved family stories!

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