Author: Ellen Herrick
Published: September 2015, William Morrow Paperbacks
Format: ARC Paperback, 384 pages
With echoes of the alchemy of Practical Magic, the lushness of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, and the darkly joyful wickedness of the Witches of East End, Ellen Herrick’s debut novel spins an enchanting love story about a place where magic whispers just beneath the surface and almost anything is possible, if you aren’t afraid to listen
The Sparrow sisters are as tightly woven into the seaside New England town of Granite Point as the wild sweet peas that climb the stone walls along the harbor. Sorrel, Nettie and Patience are as colorful as the beach plums on the dunes and as mysterious as the fog that rolls into town at dusk.
Patience is the town healer and when a new doctor settles into Granite Point he brings with him a mystery so compelling that Patience is drawn to love him, even as she struggles to mend him. But when Patience Sparrow’s herbs and tinctures are believed to be implicated in a local tragedy, Granite Point is consumed by a long-buried fear—and its three hundred year old history resurfaces as a modern day witch-hunt threatens. The plants and flowers, fruit trees and high hedges begin to wither and die, and the entire town begins to fail; fishermen return to the harbor empty-handed, and blight descends on the old elms that line the lanes.
It seems as if Patience and her town are lost until the women of Granite Point band together to save the Sparrow. As they gather, drawing strength from each other, will they be able to turn the tide and return life to Granite Point?
The Sparrow Sisters is a beautiful, haunting, and thoroughly mesmerizing novel that will capture your imagination.
My thoughts: I had the distinct pleasure of meeting and chatting with Ellen Herrick at the Harper Collin's Blogger's Party this past spring during BEA and ever since have been very excited to dig into her debut novel. This was one of the books I had on my list that I wanted to get and after talking with Ellen, I knew it was going to be a must-read.
This is such a charming story set in a small town, reminiscent of Sarah Addison Allen's books, a favorite author of mine! The magical realism aspect of this book was just perfect - not too much, but just enough that it added that extra something to make this story stand out and work. Plus, I have to admit, the idea that these sisters are seen as local witches just called to me - I have such a fascination with that concept, especially with the idea of a witch-hunt - I'm sold! And it was done so well and in such a way that you really aren't suspending belief.
I loved the characters in this book. The sisters, Patience, Sorrel and Nettie, all charmed me and worked their way into my heart. I loved the relationship these sisters have - having two sisters myself, I could totally relate to them. They ultimately loved each other, but it's never all roses and rainbows and Ellen Herrick portrays this very well. She shows the sisters getting upset and aggravated with each other, but at the end of the day, they are there for each other and that's what being family is all about.
I also loved the juxtaposition between Patience, the local healer, and Henry, the new doctor in town. Patience relies on plants and herbs from her gardens to create tinctures and other remedies to heal the town, while Henry relies on his medical degree. You would think these two would not work, yet they do and while not always easy, they figure it out and it's quite sweet to see!
The story moves along at a good pace, introducing us to all the characters and the town and history. Then something happens where things are ramped up a bit, another romance starts brewing and the sisters find themselves right in the middle of a local witch-hunt. Emotions run all over the place as you move through this story (yes, I did shed some tears!) and just as things come to a close, we are left with the possible hope that there might be more to come. Once I started reading this, I had a hard time putting the book down - always a good sign!
This was a great debut and I will definitely be keeping an eye on what comes next from Ellen Herrick.