Sisters & Lovers [sold] 750,000 copies. [Now comes] the long-awaited sequel, Sisters & Husbands, with high hopes it will become a fixture in beach bags this summer. It's not all happily ever after for Briscoe's three fictional sisters, who live and love and bicker in the affluent, integrated suburbs of Washington, D.C., terrain the Washington native knows firsthand. There is Beverly, a journalist and serial runaway bride; unlucky-in-love Charmaine; and the seemingly perfect Evelyn, a married psychologist. In Husbands, the trio copes with cares and woes more commonly found on Wisteria Lane than in the housing projects of The Wire. Lawyer-husbands having midlife crises. Sassy spoiled stepdaughters. Ticking biological clocks. Sibling rivalry over $500 Prada handbags. The big theme in Sisters & Husbands is marriage, or "how do you keep it alive and fresh?"
What I appreciated most about the book was the practicality of the issues at hand. Briscoe considers real-life situations, like blended families, mid-life crisis, and the pre-wedding jitters that many people experience prior to their first marriage. Nothing seems far-fetched or unrealistic. Nonetheless, I did find the characters to be kind of on the mawkish side. Sometimes their emotional reactions to situations made them seem silly, almost corny and difficult to believe. However, the page-turning drama and the situations in the novel make this an easy, fun read. I did find myself pondering the idea and the institution of marriage. Buried in the drama and the sex and the fighting and the emotions of this novel are several questions: Are all people capable of cheating? Is being in love enough? What makes a marriage last? Although Briscoe doesn't exactly provide the answers to these questions, she certainly provides an interesting springboard for discussion in Sisters and Husbands, which is sure to be a summertime hit.
Alysa Hyman - African American Literature Book Club (aalbc.com)
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