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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2011 Rebecca Rasmussen (P)2012 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Rasmussen has written her graceful debut . . . with unflinching and transporting empathy." (Stefan Merrill Block, author of The Story of Forgetting)
"Rasmussen's debut novel begins like a typical coming-of-age story, but reveals itself to be a singular portrayal of familial sacrifice and loss…Achingly authentic and almost completely character driven, the story of the sisters depicts the endlessly binding ties of family." (Publisher’s Weekly)
“Rasmussen’s debut novel is full of grace and humanity. Her poetic prose creates an almost magical, wholly satisfying world. [T]his wistful but wise story is enchanting and timeless.” (Library Journal, Starred Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Diane
  • Cincinnati, OH, United States
  • 06-11-12

This was a disappointing book!

What would have made The Bird Sisters better?

The book's plot was very difficult to get involved in and the reader's voice was irritatingly slow. I even increased the speed but it did not help much.

What could Rebecca Rasmussen have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

The plot did not get interesting until the end of the book. I kept thinking this has to get better and it finally did but it took most of the book to get there.

What didn’t you like about Xe Sands’s performance?

Her slow drawl just did not enhance the book at all. It sounded like she had just gotten out of bed and had not quite woken up yet.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

It had a decent ending, it just needed more to build up to it.

Any additional comments?

No

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Terrible narration

What would have made The Bird Sisters better?

I was extremely distracted by the way the narrator let her voice fall at the end of sentences, almost as if she was disdainful of me, the listener. Or like she was about to lower herself to tell me some big secret with the next sentence. It's hard to explain, she just seemed disdainful.

Has The Bird Sisters turned you off from other books in this genre?

No, but other books by the narrator, yes.

How could the performance have been better?

See above.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The story was sad but authentic.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Lorraine
  • 324 N Carver Ln. Lawrence, Ks
  • 04-16-12

Not so good

Would you try another book from Rebecca Rasmussen and/or Xe Sands?

No

What was most disappointing about Rebecca Rasmussen’s story?

Overall just a poor story line.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Xe Sands?

No sure

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Bird Sisters?

The whole book

Any additional comments?

The ending was just so out of touch with the story line. Not a good book

2 of 7 people found this review helpful