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The Three Sisters

3.6  ·  Rating details ·  89 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Author, poet, critic, and suffragist Mary Amelia St. Clair was a contemporary of and acquainted with Henry James, Thomas Hardy, Ford Madox Ford, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and Rebecca West, among others. She served as an ambulance driver in World War I, and produced poetry and fiction based on it. Her novel "Mr. Waddington of Wyk" was a social comedy. "The Three Sisters" is a ...more
Paperback, Virago Modern Classics, 388 pages
Published 1982 by Virago (first published 1914)
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Jun 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Teresa by: Judy
“I really can’t wait any longer,” said Mary, “for a man who doesn’t come.”

First published in 1914, this strange novel starts off with gothic characterizations – the youngest daughter banging away on the piano, while the dictatorial father, sitting in his study, simmers and stews as he waits for his punctual, mandatory family prayer-time. I was at first reminded of a Monty Python sketch, or even the Saturday Night Live skit about Jane Austen’s Dashwood sisters; but it quickly becomes clear that t
May Sinclair is another of the many talented women writers that have been too long forgotten. In her own time, according to an article in The Guardian (dated August 1, 2013),

Sinclair was not only a critically-respected, popular and extremely prolific novelist, but also a poet, philosopher, translator, and critic. Her career, spanning from the late 1880s all the way to the late 1920s, produced 23 novels, 39 short stories, two philosophical treatises, one biography of the Brontës and several poet
Nov 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is the story of the three daughters of a clergyman, living lives that are terribly constrained, in a vicarage in a small town on the Yorkshire moors. You might think, particularly if you looked at the cover of the Virago edition, that those sisters were named Charlotte, Anne and Emily. But they weren’t.

These three sisters were named Mary, Gwenda and Alice, they lived in the early twentieth century, but the parallels that May Sinclair draws make it obvious that their lives were not so very d
Sep 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2013
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Interesting that some have referred to the Bronte sisters when talking about this book, yes they are living in a vicarage near the moors. However this is more a book about decisions which you can make and how they can affect the rest of your life. How you may have one chance of happiness and how choosing to sacrifice yourself for someone can be the worse decision if you don't know as much as you think you do.
There wasn't really a character I liked, and I imagine that I'd have liked at least one
Dec 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing
A weird, powerful novel with a flavour of the Brontes or Hardy - this got me hooked on May Sinclair and keen to read as much by her as possible.
Perry Whitford
Apr 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Once again May Sinclair proves what a sophisticated and entirely contemporary writer she was for an Edwardian author, in a story of three very different sisters searching for identity and love in a remote northern village.

Mary, the eldest, quiet and tactful with a brooding air. Gwenda is forthright and self-sufficient, but also selfless. Alice, the youngest, somewhat hysterical and prone to infatuations.

Their father, a sexually frustrated vicar abandoned by his third wife, exiled his daughters t
Oct 11, 2016 rated it really liked it

Three sisters ... and two suitors
By sally tarbox on 12 October 2016
Format: Kindle Edition
Verified Purchase(What is this?)

This review is from: The Three Sisters (Virago Modern Classic) (Paperback)

Absolutely riveting novel, following Mary, Gwendolen and Alice Cartaret, daughters of an embittered and unlovely vicar. Brought by their father to a remote Yorkshire village after Alice started an embarrassing romance in their previous parish, life seems bleak and dull. Good, sensible Mary is her fathe
Jan 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Legend has it that Hugo Dyson, a contemporary of JRR Tolkien, interrupted a fireside reading of one of the latter's works in progress with the exclamation "Oh no! Not another fucking elf!"

I felt someone might say to me, as I read this so shortly after Iris Murdoch's The Time of the Angels, "oh no, not another monstrously selfish widower C of E vicar with several nubile 20-something female dependents who he is determined to keep sheltered from the world!"

However, the overall intent here is quite
Callie S.
Jul 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tra le colonne portanti del modernismo, May Sinclair è purtroppo in Italia un'autrice poco nota, per non dire sconosciuta: eppure Le tre sorelle è un romanzo dall'attualità eccezionale e dal dinamismo sorprendente.
L'archetipo del femminino - più che della femminilità intesa in un'accezione storica - si spiega in tre caratteri definiti con sorprendente nettezza e, a tratti, un cinismo anatomico.
Colpisce di queste pagine l'immobilismo apatico del fondale, se contrapposto alla tumultuosa interi
Apr 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
It takes considerable historical perspective to appreciate a book like this. The story is fine, the writing is at times gag-worthily florid, but in its day it broke new ground that we only take for granted now. So much of its awkwardness to a 21st century reader has to do with the baffling method of describing inner consciousness that by now we simply take for granted. In its time, this book was on the cusp of emerging conceptions of psychology and grappling with how to get those radically new i ...more
Jul 16, 2016 marked it as to-read
* 1000 novels everyone must read: the definitive list: Family and Self

Selected by the Guardian's Review team and a panel of expert judges, this list includes only novels – no memoirs, no short stories, no long poems – from any decade and in any language. Originally published in thematic supplements – love, crime, comedy, family and self, state of the nation, science fiction and fantasy, war and travel – they appear here for the first time.
Sep 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
One star off because there were pages and pages of Yorkshire dialect I had to wade through. Good story, though. Delectable whiffs of hardy and Eliot.
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Feb 08, 2015
Triet Vu
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Katy Larkman
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Jun 25, 2017
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

May Sinclair was the pseudonym of Mary Amelia St. Clair, a popular British writer who wrote about two dozen novels, short stories and poetry. She was an active suffragist, and member of the Woman Writers' Suffrage League. May Sinclair was also a significant critic, in the a
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