The Divining Wand

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Rebecca Rasmussen and The Bird Sisters

March 28, 2011 By: larramiefg Category: Book Presentations, Books


Acclaimed as magical, graceful, and poetic, Rebecca Rasmussen makes a spring debut with her novel, The Bird Sisters on Tuesday, April 12, 2011. And, with birds on the wing to our homes, what perfect timing!

Lyrical in her writing, the author is also precise and clear about the focus of her story. The book’s idea came from two questions: Rebecca’s curiosity about her grandmother’s family history, and what does it mean to be home and to stay there?

For Rebecca, this is deeply personal. Since her parents divorced when she was a baby, her life was split — growing up in Spring Green, Wisconsin and Northfield, Illinois — and it caused her to feel that she didn’t belong in either place. As a result this writer draws on the experience, saying: “I suppose that’s why in my fiction, I pay very close attention to place; I’m constantly searching for a way to make home feel like home.”

As for The Bird Sisters, it was born from the Emily Dickinson poem:

“These are the days birds come back, a very few, a Bird or two, to take a backward look.”

Then the author created two elderly sisters who had spent their lives caring for injured birds — allowing them the freedom to someday fly away — and the storyline evolved into the following synopsis:

When a bird flies into a window in Spring Green, Wisconsin, sisters Milly and Twiss get a visit. Twiss listens to the birds’ heartbeats, assessing what she can fix and what she can’t, while Milly listens to the heartaches of the people who’ve brought them. These spinster sisters have spent their lives nursing people and birds back to health.
 


But back in the summer of 1947, Milly and Twiss knew nothing about trying to mend what had been accidentally broken. Milly was known as a great beauty with emerald eyes and Twiss was a brazen wild child who never wore a dress or did what she was told. That was the summer their golf pro father got into an accident that cost him both his swing and his charm, and their mother, the daughter of a wealthy jeweler, finally admitted their hardscrabble lives wouldn’t change. It was the summer their priest, Father Rice, announced that God didn’t exist and ran off to Mexico, and a boy named Asa finally caught Milly’s eye. And, most unforgettably, it was the summer their cousin Bett came down from a town called Deadwater and changed the course of their lives forever.
 


Rebecca Rasmussen’s masterfully written debut novel is full of hope and beauty, heartbreak and sacrifice, love and the power of sisterhood, and offers wonderful surprises at every turn.

Now enjoy this stunning visual that also tells the tale:

(If the video doesn’t appear on your monitor, please view it here.)

Also read the wonderful Praise and, of course, an Excerpt from Chapter 1.

Gentle, yet so honestly perceptive in her storytelling, Rebecca shares both heart and soul in creating immediate intimacy with Milly and Twiss. In the book, the time frame is only from breakfast to the evening meal — less than twelve hours — but during that day the sisters’ background and basic life is told in flashback memories. While each go their separate ways, doing daily chores they have done forever, thoughts and feelings explain what happened to keep them at home. Yes, the time frame kept everything neat and focused, but what was the specific reason for its use?

The author explained: “I wanted to slow down the present action of the story and really focus in on the pace of the sisters’ lives when they are older, and I thought what better way to do that than to showcase a single day in their lives.”

Poignant and bittersweet, The Bird Sisters is built on the factual theme that our backgrounds shape our future. Which is enormously sad since Milly and Twiss barely had a chance for personal dreams. Their parents did but — when their dreams went unfulfilled — their daughters paid the price for adult disappointment. And, yet, it is their bravery in the face of betrayal and dreams denied that bind them together in strong sisterly love.

In her guest post, Semper Fi, Rebecca Rasmussen proved that even when faced with difficulty and disappointment, the joy of hope remains. Why? Because she has a gift of taking states of loneliness and despair and, in elegant prose, write of their consequences as truly beautiful. Milly and Twiss could have lived much more and still their story is what it is — a tale of a magical world. Admitting that sacrifice can be incredibly sad, the author believes it can be incredibly beautiful at the same time. For her sisters Rebecca says, “I wanted to depict loneliness but not in place of the love of the sisters. They do what they do almost entirely for each other, and to me that is admirable.”

TRUTH: The result is beautiful! After all, what readers hopefully will take away from The Bird Sisters (debuting in two weeks) is Rebecca’s message of: “Love is timeless, first. And so are dreams.”

The Divining Wand’s message: The Bird Sisters soars and then nests in one’s heart.”

Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away one copy of Rebecca Rasmussen’s The Bird 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, March 30, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. EDT with the winners to be announced here in Thursday’s post. If you enter, please return Thursday to see if you’re a winner.

25 Comments to “Rebecca Rasmussen and The Bird Sisters


  1. Gayle LIn says:

    This is on my must-read list and I’m counting the days.

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  2. a fabulous posting…enjoyed the video, too. thanks for the opportunity to read this beautiful novel 🙂

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  3. Colleen Turner says:

    I have had this book on my wishlist since I found out about it on Goodreads. It sounds so poignant and I love stories about family dynamics and what makes a “home”. To me a home doesn’t have to be the actual brick and mortar of where you live but who you live with. I truly believe that I would be home wherever my son and husband are, even if we had to move away from our actual home. These sisters sound like they are each others home as well. I can’t wait to see what kept them in their physical home all these years :)!

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  4. I’m amazed at how tight the timeline is (12 hrs!!) and would love to see how that works out. Sounds like a fascinating book.

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  5. It looks like a beautiful book & I would love to read it! Thanks for the chance!

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  6. Jane Cook says:

    This sounds like a lovely story!

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  7. Thank you so much everyone for your lovely support! It means the world to me. And thank you, too, to Larramie for such a wonderful review. XOX

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  8. I found a link to this article by chance on Twitter, and I’m so glad I did. It looks fantastic & I look forward to reading it.

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  9. This book sounds absolutely lovely, and original too. Can’t wait to get my hands on it.

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  10. I’ve been hearing about this book EVERYWHERE and always positive things. Thanks for holding this giveaway.

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  11. Jennifer Gravley says:

    Sounds like an enchanting read!

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  12. I have been so looking forward to The Bird Sisters and have it on my wishlist! It sounds like an absolutely beautiful book and I have heard nothing but good things about it so far. Thanks for the chance to win a copy. 🙂

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  13. I am anxious to read the book and add it to my personal library.

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  14. I have been looking forward to reading this for a while and am envious of all the others that have managed to get a copy sooner!

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  15. I have been looking forward to this book for a long time! It looks so lovely!

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  16. So excited for this to come out! Def going to buy it anyway if I don’t win

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  17. Jen Williams says:

    Thanks for the reading suggestion!! I am putting this book on my reading list today!

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  18. Absolutely cannot wait — the book sounds amazing! And the author is the sweetest; so happy to be a Twitter friend! 🙂

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  19. Looks like a great book. Thanks for sharing it. Definitely a must-read!

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  20. Hira H. (Enamored Soul) says:

    This book has been on my radar for a while, and interacting with the sweet & enigmatic author Rasmussen on Twitter has only served to increase my desire to read this book. I am really curious (and in awe of, really) how the author was able to take the span of a few hours and conjure up a whole novel around those few hours. Plus, it is always interesting to read about the dynamics between people, especially two that appear to be as close as Milly & Twiss. I think this book sounds like it would be a delight to read. I’m really grateful for the opportunity that you’ve provided, to win this book. Thank you so much.

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  21. Sounds like a beautiful story!

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  22. This sounds amazing!

    Rena

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  23. This is our April book club pick, planning to download but would love to have my own to put on my bookshelf!

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  24. I love the sound of this book premise and the cover of the book really matches the spring theme. =)

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  25. I have a copy of Rebecca’s book (a beautiful cover, by the way), but I wanted to stop by to say she’s written a wonderful story. Well, everything I’ve read of hers (if you haven’t read Semper Fi, go. read. really) touches me in one way or another. Whomever wins her book is in for a special treat!

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