St. Martin's, Dec 2002, 26.95, 448 pp.
Europe seems on the verge of another major war less than two decades since the “war to end all wars” closed its last trench. In Glasgow, gas masks are more precious than masquerade masks are as the four Conway females understand. The mother Lizzie is a Scottish steal magnolia while her three daughters contain as much metal in their blood, but also have different aspirations. Married to wealthy gangster's son Dominic Manone and mother to his children, Polly lives a luxurious yet birdcage life. Babs struggles with a glib spouse and a horde of children. Rosie enjoys working at a bookstore until she meets a cop.
Polly finds precarious thrills in an affair with one of Dominic's henchmen, while her husband sees a chance at a fortune if he partners with a femme fatale. As Dominic gets in dangerously deep, Polly is yanked in several opposite directions. Her biological family pulls on one arm and her husband on the other. Solace seems only in that illicit affair, but can she trust any man, her sisters, or her mother or should she go with the flow of her own dreams?
The sequel to Jessica Stirling's PRIZED POSSESSIONS is an intriguing look at the late 1930s in Scotland as Hitler beats the war drums. The story line slowly simmers enabling the audience to fully taste the era. Though the stars, the four females seem less than complete compared with their male counterparts living life to the fullest. Ms. Stirling's audience and those fans of historical character studies will want to read SISTERS THREE.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner