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. As elderly women, sisters Twiss and Milly live alone in the house where they grew up in Spring Green, Wis. They spend their days tending to injured birds and roaming their land, lost in memories. For Milly, there is the constant reminder of what could have been. Twiss spent her childhood happily trailing behind their golf-pro father, but Milly dreamed about a family and children that never happened. There was hope for a young Milly, until an accident strips their father of his golfing abilities and sets in motion a series of events that rips apart the already unstable family. Dad retreats to the barn, and mom bemoans her choice to marry for love, leaving behind her wealthy family; a cousin who was thought to be a friend becomes an unexpected rival; and the sisters are left with only each other. As young women, and as old ones, they learn that their relationship is rewarding, but not without consequence. Achingly authentic and almost completely character driven, the story of the sisters depicts the endlessly binding ties of family. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
What a pleasure to become acquainted with Milly and Twiss of Spring Green, WI, as these aging sisters invite us to accompany them back to a summer in the mid-1940s when they were both at the threshold of adolescence. As their falling-apart family is in desperate need of repair, the girls try to patch up their estranged parents' relationship. Milly is as sweet as Twiss is contrary; the two have decidedly different approaches to the challenge. And both are quite taken with their older teenage cousin Bettie, who comes to spend the summer with them. Ripe with surprises, this visit will mold and shape the sisters' lives for years to come. Rasmussen's debut novel is full of grace and humanity. Her heroines are fearless and romantic, endearing and engaging, and her poetic prose creates an almost magical, wholly satisfying world. VERDICT While readers may desire to know more about the sisters' interest in "bird repair" (in their later years they tend to the needs of injured birds), this wistful but wise story is enchanting and timeless. A splendid choice for those searching for literary coming-of-age novels.-Andrea Tarr, Corona P.L., CA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Born to two star-crossed lovers turned emotionally estranged parents in rural Wisconsin, Twiss and Milly grow up in poverty, continually trying to forge a bridge between their mother and father. Things turn south the summer their father gets into a car accident that cripples his burgeoning professional golf career. Their cousin Bett comes to live with them for a few months and brings with her a storm of knowledge about love, truth or consequences, and something even more devious, which threatens to cripple the family. As Twiss and Milly reach late adolescence, they must decipher the world of relationships on their own, causing Twiss' wild-woman tendencies to grow stronger and pushing Milly toward Asa, the doctor's son who mows their lawn and seems to share her affections. This novel is told from the perspective of the sisters as girls and old ladies still living in the same house, looking back on their young lives. A charming yet sober tale of two girls struggling to grow up amid family turmoil and poverty, this is a welcome debut from Rasmussen.--Hunt, Julie Copyright 2010 Booklist