The Almost Sisters
A Library Reads Pick | Recommended as a Summer Read by The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, Pop Sugar, Deep South Magazine, She Reads, Modern Mrs. Darcy, and Southern Living Magazine
Available July 11.
“A whiff of Southern Gothic and plenty of sex, lies, and family secrets…[Jackson] deserves to be a household name.” – Kirkus, Starred review
“All (small-town) hell is about to break loose…” – Library Journal, Starred Review
“compulsively readable… Jackson’s characteristic humor, absorbing characters, and candid depictions of messy families.” – Booklist
“Jackson has packed in all the drama needed for a fast-paced summer read, but this isn’t your average beach book.” – Publishers Weekly
With empathy, grace, humor, and piercing insight, the New York Times bestselling author of gods in Alabama pens a powerful, emotionally resonant novel of the South that confronts the truth about family, race, and the distinctions between perception and reality—the stories we tell ourselves about our origins and who we really are
Superheroes have always been Leia Birch Briggs’s weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comics convention, the usually level-headed graphic novelist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman. She remembers he was tall, black, and an excellent French kisser—but not much else.
It turns out the caped crusader has left her with more than just a fond, fuzzy memory. That pink plus sign on the stick isn’t wrong: she’s having a baby boy—an unexpected but not unhappy development. She always wanted to fall in love and have a child, but as a young woman, she learned exactly what betrayal felt like. Now she’s thirty-eight and dead single, having walked—no, run—away from every man she might have married, trying to avoid more loss, more regrets.
Before Leia can break the news of her impending single-motherhood (including the fact that her baby is biracial) to her conventional lily-white Southern family, her perfect stepsister Rachel’s marriage implodes. Leia wants to help, but Rachel is married to the very man who broke her heart all those years ago. Worse, she learns her beloved ninety-year-old grandmother, Birchie, has been conspiring with her lifelong best friend to hide her rapidly progressing dementia. Birchie is Leia’s only living paternal relative, a proper yet fierce woman who has long lived by her own rules in Birchville, Alabama, the small town her family founded generations back. Now this grand dame has started a row at the church fish fry that has set every tongue in wagging, pitted neighbor against neighbor, and has made it plain to Leia that her grandmother needs some serious looking after.
Heading 700 miles south, Leia plans to put Birchie’s affairs in order, clean out the big Victorian that has been in the Birch family for generations, and break the news of her blessed event. Once home, she learns that illness is not the only thing Birchie’s been hiding. Tucked away in a trunk in the attic is a dangerous secret with roots that reach all the way back to the Civil War. Its exposure threatens the family’s freedom and future, and will change everything about how Leia sees herself and her sister, her unborn son and his missing father, and the beloved—yet deeply flawed and contradictory—world she thinks she knows.
Enchanting, wry, honest, and hopeful, The Almost Sisters compels us to explore our own origins, and the stories we tell ourselves.
“I’ve never read a Joshilyn Jackson novel that I didn’t love, and “The Almost Sisters” may just be my all-time favorite. With deft pacing and description, Jackson invites us into a richly atmospheric world mired in tradition and history, but what really drives this story is her empathetic understanding of character. Birchie and Wattie are both familiar and flawed, with secrets that run dark and deep until a merciless illness threatens to expose them. Only Joshilyn Jackson can present such serious issues with so much humor and humanity, making us consider just how far we might go to protect the ones we love.”
-Brunonia Barry, NYT bestselling author of The Lace Reader & The Fifth Petal
“The Almost Sisters is a book only Joshilyn Jackson could have written… I was swept up by her inimitable voice from the very first page: she deftly combines such unexpected subjects as superheroes, single motherhood, race, and the impact of long-buried secrets.”
– Karen Abbott, NYT bestselling author of Liar, Temptress, Solider, Spy
“Joshilyn Jackson has literary super powers. In a story of incredible love and bravery, she lasers through the weathered grace and mossy tradition of the contemporary south to explode its comic book dualism with blistering genius. Leia Birch is the kind of character I love to read about: she’s funny, smart, and a mess, and I want her to be my best friend. Her sassy heart, her inside-out family, and the loyalty and love of those around her moved me to cry, to laugh, and to think differently about what makes “us and them.” Imagine Flannery O’Connor in a Wonder Woman suit, and you’ll get close to the big heart of this brilliant book.”
– Lydia Netzer, bestselling author of Shine Shine Shine and How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky