by Gwendolen Gross
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Clementine Lord is an individual in a set of triplets. Her two sisters, Odette and Olivia, are identical twins, and as a fraternal third, Clementine feels distanced, despite the triplet telepathy they all seem to possess. Her father, a narcissistic surgeon who spends more time traveling than with his own family, always seems to favor Olivia and Odette, who inherited his gift for medicine and went to Ivy League schools, becoming doctors in their own right. The twins find their future husbands at the same school, have a double wedding, get pregnant at the same time, and start their own practices together. Clem, meanwhile, goes to a small private college in the Midwest and spends several years drifting before ending up living at home with her parents again at 29 years old. When their father goes missing and their mother checks out of the situation, the sisters grapple with the emerging secrets that their father concealed from his family.
This book reminded me of The Weird Sisters, and that’s not a good comparison. Things happened in the book, but it didn’t really feel like anything was happening while reading it; in short, it felt flat and lifeless. That could have partly been because of the pacing of the book, which really threw me off, as one chapter seemed to go forward and the next would be entirely retrospective, so I continually felt like I was taking one step forward and two steps back. The characters were not easy to relate to: in addition to being telepathic triplets, they were also very rich and a bit prejudiced. Even the protagonist, who criticizes her sisters for their shallowness and materialism, later bursts out in an angry racist rage, “You married a Jew?!”
The book was very predictable, as well. Within the first few pages you can figure out where the story line will eventually lead, and Gwendolen Gross seemed to embrace every cliché she could find in this book. Clementine’s emotions were also flip-flopping all over the place, which I could understand, but they were nevertheless annoying to read. The ending also felt very unresolved; the story finished and then there was an epilogue, where a couple characters were briefly caught up with, but the book still felt only partially completed.
I do have to say that I enjoyed Gross’ descriptive voice, though, especially when Clementine is reminiscing about her first love, Cameron. The writing was poetic, and as a reader, I felt like I was transported to the beautiful scenes Gwendolen Gross was describing. In terms of a story, though, this book was a big disappointment, which is such a shame, as I had had this on my to-read list for such a long time.
If you loved The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown (which I, unfortunately, did not), this book would be right up your alley. And if you’re a person who enjoys books that seem to transport you without caring too much about the story line, this might be a rewarding read for you, as well. Personally, though, I felt it fell short of the mark.