Tale of Two Sisters

A Tale of Two Sisters

by Anna Maxted

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I’m Kim Alexander and this is Fiction Nation. The book is A Tale of Two Sisters by Anna Maxted.

Anyone who was ever a child knows that girls and boys have different strategies when it comes to dealing with their enemies. For the most part, if you’re a boy, you’ll get whomped after school by Dominic, the biggest, scariest dude in fourth grade — he shaves every morning and gets voted most likely to be a hired thug. At least it’s straightforward, though. You know where you stand — or lie curled up in a ball. Girls are so different. One day you and Alison your best friend forever are inseparable, your place at the lunch table assured, and you’re happily making fun of the poor girl over there by herself with the just too short jeans. (that was me, by the way, and thanks a lot.) The next day the old order is overturned and you’re the one frozen out in the cafeteria. Your former pal is now your arch mortal enemy. You are committed to mutually assured destruction. You tell the short jeans girl, your new best friend, that Alison made out with Dominic¬†— look at her, she’s got razor burn! Alison retaliates with the story of how you totally got busted for shoplifting wild ‘n’ wild lip gloss. And so on.

Most of us grow out of juvenile infighting and petty squabbles — until we get a job, when it starts all over, but that’s another show — except when we’re around those who knew us back then. And who knew us better than our siblings?

Anna Maxted’s A Tale of Two Sisters is the hilarious and tragic story of Cassie — perfect and glamorous, and Lizbet — the long suffering dreamer: best friends and worst enemies.


I’m Kim Alexander and this is a Fiction Nation minute. The book is A Tale of Two Sisters by Anna Maxted.

First of all, I loved this book. The author has a way of taking the most horrible, painful bits of the human condition and making them not only hysterically funny but terribly British.¬† The two sisters are the long suffering Lizbet, who has lived in her glamorous, perfect sister Cassie’s shadow her whole life. The chapters are narrated by the two women, and the story revolves around babies — wanting them, having and not having them, and the shock waves that travel through a whole family when something happens to them. It sounds dire but like I said, A Tale of Two Sisters made me laugh and cry, pretty much at the same time. The growth of the characters was completely organic, the supporting cast were full of surprises, and it made me both sorry and glad I don’t have a sister. A Tale of Two Sisters by Anna Maxted. I’m Kim Alexander and this is Fiction Nation on Book Radio, SiriusXM Channel 80.


I’m Kim Alexander and this is a Fiction Nation minute. The book is A Tale of Two Sisters by Anna Maxted.

I admit — I don’t have a sister. Fighting with your brother has got to be a whole different thing than the petty bickering, jealous squabbles, and sometimes open warfare that goes on between Lizbet — the good sister, and Cassie, the princess. This very funny, very British book is divided into sections narrated by the two women, and their recollections of the same events are different to say the least. I also noticed that while I was reading the Lizbet sections I was on her side and cheering her on, and while hearing Cassie’s side of the story, I was on Team Cassie. In A Tale of Two Sisters ultimately, the women change, evolve, even grow up. The things that happen to the women and their families are not funny at all — quite the opposite, but like in life, sometimes you have to go for the inappropriate laughter. A Tale of Two Sisters by Anna Maxted. I’m Kim Alexander and this is Fiction Nation on Book Radio, SiriusXM Channel 80.


I’m Kim Alexander and this is a Fiction Nation minute. The book is A Tale of Two Sisters by Anna Maxted.

Lizbet is the good sister — quiet, plain, plump, also witty and sharp. Cassie is the family princess — petite and perfect, and her parent’s darling. Relations between the two are a little warmer than North and South Korea, but there are a lifetime of grudges and grievances that keeps them apart. A Tale of Two Sisters is divided into sections narrated by the two women, and follows them through their marriages, their jobs — they have radically different takes on the same things, and then through some painful and difficult times where secrets are revealed, allegiances are made and broken, and their families are put to the test. Did I mention this is a very funny book? Seriously, Lizbet’s blunt observations and Cassie’s put upon grandness made my brother laugh out loud, although he may deny he was reading a chick book. Dude, you were seen. A Tale of Two Sisters by Anna Maxted. I’m Kim Alexander on Fiction Nation on Book Radio, SiriusXM Channel 80.


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