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The Sweeney Sisters

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An accomplished storyteller returns with her biggest, boldest, most entertaining novel yet—a hilarious, heartfelt story about books, love, sisterhood, and the surprises we discover in our DNA that combines the wit of Jonathan Tropper with the heart of Susan Wiggs.

Maggie, Eliza, and Tricia Sweeney grew up as a happy threesome in the idyllic seaside town of Southport, Connecticut. But their mother’s death from cancer fifteen years ago tarnished their golden-hued memories, and the sisters drifted apart. Their one touchstone is their father, Bill Sweeney, an internationally famous literary lion and college professor universally adored by critics, publishers, and book lovers. When Bill dies unexpectedly one cool June night, his shell-shocked daughters return to their childhood home. They aren’t quite sure what the future holds without their larger-than-life father, but they do know how to throw an Irish wake to honor a man of his stature.

But as guests pay their respects and reminisce, one stranger, emboldened by whiskey, has crashed the party. It turns out that she too is a Sweeney sister.

When Washington, DC based journalist Serena Tucker had her DNA tested on a whim a few weeks earlier, she learned she had a 50% genetic match with a childhood neighbor—Maggie Sweeney of Southport, Connecticut. It seems Serena’s chilly WASP mother, Birdie, had a history with Bill Sweeney—one that has remained totally secret until now.

Once the shock wears off, questions abound. What does this mean for William’s literary legacy? Where is the unfinished memoir he’s stashed away, and what will it reveal? And how will a fourth Sweeney sister—a blond among redheads—fit into their story?

By turns revealing, insightful, and uproarious, The Sweeney Sisters is equal parts cautionary tale and celebration—a festive and heartfelt look at what truly makes a family.

"Dolan uses her experience in podcasting with her own sisters to craft believable women characters who worry about real problems and use wry humor to push through dark moments . . . . A warmhearted portrait of love embracing true hearts."—Kirkus

304 pages, ebook

First published April 28, 2020

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About the author

Lian Dolan

8 books718 followers
Lian Dolan is a podcaster, producer and writer. She is the creator, producer and host of Satellite Sisters, the award-winning podcast she created with her four real sisters. Satellite Sisters began life as a syndicated radio show in 2000 and has been a top-rated podcast since 2009. Satellite Sisters has won 13 Gracie Allen Awards for Excellence in Women’s Media and been featured on The Today Show, CBS Sunday Morning and The Oprah Winfrey Show. In 2017, Lian was given the Podcast Pioneer Award by Women in Podcasting.

She is the author of four best-selling novels, The Sweeney Sisters, Helen of Pasadena and Elizabeth the First Wife. Her latest book, Lost and Found in Paris, is out now and is an LA Times Bestseller. She has written regular columns for Pasadena Magazine, O Magazine and Working Mother Magazine.

Lian graduated from Pomona College with a degree in Classics. She lives in Pasadena, California with her husband, Berick Treidler. She has two adult sons and a senior German shepherd.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,418 reviews
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,484 reviews29.4k followers
May 14, 2020
4.5 stars.

A novel full of family dysfunction and drama? Sign me up, please!

Bill Sweeney was one of the most formative writers of his time; decades after his books were written they continue to be taught in schools, discussed, and revered. Fifteen years ago his poet wife, Maeve, died, leaving him to raise their three daughters in their small seaside town of Southport, Connecticut. Bill did the best he could, although the sisters took care of themselves and became even more inseparable.

One morning, the sisters get the call from their long-time housekeeper that Bill has died. It’s a shock, as they felt somehow he might live forever, but the three—Liza, Maggie, and Tricia—return to their childhood home to make sense of it all.

It turns out that Bill was hiding a few shocking secrets from the girls, which knock them for a loop. As they try to ready the house for sale, they’re desperately searching for Bill’s missing memoir, and in light of their discoveries, wonder what everything will mean for his literary legacy and their lives. How will it affect their own memories of their father, too?

On top of dealing with their father’s death, each woman has their own challenges to deal with. It’s an emotional time, fraught with roadblocks and crises which test their relationships and force them to reexamine their pasts and their futures.

I love a book full of good family drama, and The Sweeney Sisters certainly doesn’t disappoint. Lian Dolan did a great job with her story, and I couldn’t get enough of these characters. Sure, it’s predictable in places, but I love the fact that Dolan didn’t veer too far into melodrama, because there definitely were places the plot could have gone into that territory, and that might have derailed the story.

How well do we know those we love? How much can we depend on family in our time of need? How do others see us? Should late-in-life discoveries change how we've viewed a person for our entire life? These were fascinating questions this book tries to answer, and does so well.

I received an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks to William Morrow Books, Lian Dolan, and Wunderkind PR for making it available!

The book publishes 4/28.

Check out my list of the best books I read in 2019 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2019.html.

Check out my list of the best books of the decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html.

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.

Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.
Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,126 reviews30.3k followers
May 2, 2020
The Sweeney Sisters is just the kind of read I needed right now! It’s about three sisters who grow up in a quaint seaside town in Connecticut. When their mother died from cancer, the sisters sadly grew apart. Their father is the second love of their life, second only to their mom, and he passes away unexpectedly causing his daughters to return home and to each other.

When the family gathers for the funeral, a woman appears claiming to be another Sweeney sister thanks to a DNA test. How did THAT happen and what secrets was their beloved father keeping?

The Sweeney Sisters is full of heart. It was paced well and the perfect escape. A story of secrets and sisters, who doesn’t love one of those? I loved the setting and the ending was really satisfying. I highly recommend it for your summer reading!

I received a gifted copy. All opinions are my own.

Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader
Profile Image for Jennifer Blankfein.
384 reviews652 followers
April 21, 2020
Enjoyable story - quick moving, fun escape. DNA test reveals family secrets that shake up a close knit family.

DNA testing and the often surprising results it reveals has become an increasingly popular topic of discussion. There used to be a more negative connotation with the ever popular Maury Povich asking women who slept with multiple men while their boyfriends were in jail, “Who’s the Father?” Today though, it seems like everyone has an interest in their family tree, where they come from and who their long lost ancestors are. Dani Shapiro’s memoir, Inheritance, brought to light the power of the ancestral knowledge and the life-changing impact it might have. In The Sweeney Sisters, author Lian Dolan incorporates genetic testing in her storytelling, just as a casual thing people do out of curiosity. It is a story that represents current times, and I found it very enjoyable.

The Sweeney Sisters, a lighthearted humorous story of sisterhood, is about Maggie, Liza and Tricia, a close knit threesome, redheaded sisters who although are very different, have learned to navigate their relationships and enjoy each other as adults. They return to their family home in Southport, Connecticut to settle matters after their beloved, famous father, Bill Sweeney passes away. Their father’s lawyer reveals to them some surprising news: he has another they don’t know about, and he has written a possibly revealing memoir.

Meanwhile, in Washington DC, genetic testing led journalist and only child, Serena Tucker, to discover the identity of her biological father, and it was not a simple matter. Her mother’s secret affair years ago with the Connecticut next door neighbor, literary genius and college professor, Bill Sweeney, led to the birth of a baby girl. Growing up on the same street as the Sweeney sisters, seeing their bond and now realizing she is one of them is important information in understanding who she really is, and Serena chooses to make the effort to connect with her sisters and learn more about what kind of man her father had been.

Maggie, Liza and Tricia come together at their family home to mourn the father they thought they knew, but with the news of Serena and the discovery of the memoir, they are forced to tackle the truth of their past and appreciate the true meaning of family. Bringing together three young women and their “new” older sibling doesn’t come without messiness and ups and downs. Emotions, old boyfriends and memories amidst this heartfelt reunion of sisters creates author Lian Dolan’s wonderful story of family.

In The Sweeney Sisters, the family home is located in Southport, CT and I couldn’t help but love all the accurate local references, from Garelick & Herbs to Fortuna’s to the Pequot Library. The loss of a literary legend, a secret sibling and a hidden memoir contribute to this meaningful story of family and sisterhood. I enjoyed the lighthearted humor and recommend this book for a day at the beach or a day in quarantine! Book will be published April 28th, 2020.

Q & A with Lian Dolan
Q: DNA testing has become a popular thing to do and the results can bring big joys and deep sorrows, depending on where it leads. What made you decide to incorporate this into your story? TO SEE MORE GO TO https://wordpress.com/post/booknation...
Profile Image for Victoria.
412 reviews319 followers
September 13, 2020
A warmhearted novel about a literary genius, family secrets and a trail of broken hearts, set in a ‘small town with long tentacles.’ This is women’s fiction with realistic female characters that tackles some weighty questions about family and legacy.

The Sweeney sisters may have seemed perfect growing up, but their lives have not turned out that way. Liza married the next best thing who turns out to be the next worst; Maggie, the middle wild child, the impulsive artist is penniless; and Tricia, the youngest, attorney, Type A personality, mistrusts everyone. Into this triumvirate enters Serena, the next door neighbor’s daughter, an accomplished journalist in her own right, with a DNA test that proves the famous author dipped his quill in more than just the ink pot.

I enjoyed the pace, humor and writing…‘Amongst a certain stratum in Connecticut, the six degrees of separation was reduced to two: you and the nearest person in boat shoes’…but most of all I appreciated how believable the characters and their relationships were drawn. Enjoyable and insightful.

Profile Image for DeAnn.
1,317 reviews
April 22, 2020
3.75 DNA Test stars

With a plotline almost ripped from the headlines – a new sibling is in the mix for the Sweeney Sisters. They are mourning their famous author father when they find out that he fathered another daughter. The new sister got the results when she did a DNA screening test. The original three sisters – Maggie, Eliza, and Tricia – are redheads who have a close bond and they aren’t quite sure how this new half-sister will fit in.

The book spends quite a bit of time on the legacy of their father as they plan his wake, clean out the house, and search for the memoir he wrote just before death. We learn more about each sister and they each grow and change in the course of the book. There are some great family moments (and plenty of drama) and it mostly makes me yearn for a bigger family!

It was an interesting glimpse into the life of a family with a famous writer and the publishing world. There were some really fun parties described too! As the sisters work their way through the estate and intellectual property, they come to terms with their new half-sister. I liked the setting in Southport, Connecticut with sailing, club dinners, and the glamour of New York and Yale nearby.

This one is a family saga that you can read and savor and perhaps escape to a world different than your own. I would definitely read other books by this author.

Thank you to NetGalley, Lian Dolan, and Harper Collins/Morrow for an early copy of this one to read in return for an honest review. This one is out next week -- 4.28.2020.
Profile Image for Ashley *Booksbrewsandbarks*.
670 reviews25 followers
March 30, 2020
This book was a fine distraction for a few hours and had some fun moments but mainly it just sort of dragged along without any real climax and oozed too many first world problems for my liking.

Between the 3 (then 4) sisters, the only one that I had any appreciation for was Tricia. She was the one with the most relatable backstory. The other 3 sisters all grated at my nerves, which probably made me less invested in their outcomes overall. The author had a tendency to be very materialistic in her description of people instead of delving beneath the surfaces to make more of an emotional connection between the reader and the characters. I knew way more about what their fashion sense was than their true feeling about what they were experiencing. It also just seemed like, at the end of the day, the fact their father died only spurred on questions relating to the finances of the characters and didn't really carry the weight of influencing their other, more mindful choices in life.

Overall, the book was just fine. For being a book of unlikable characters, it at least made me want to find out how everything resolves in the end but even when the ending came around I was just sort of like, oh that makes sense. I realized that how I felt at the beginning about each of these characters ended up being how I felt at the end and that wasn't necessarily a great thing when I didn't enjoy their personalities to begin with.

If you are looking for a quick and relatively unique story, I would suggest MAYBE picking this one up. If you have any issues with having first world problems brought up at almost every page turn, maybe let this one stay on the shelf.
Profile Image for Quirkyreader.
1,514 reviews41 followers
February 29, 2020
First off, I won this as a goodreads giveaway. Thank you William Morrow and Harper Collins.

I was very impressed by this book. It is about family ties. This ties are often out in the open and ones that are hidden.

This story is so full of secrets it will make your head spin.

If you can try and finish this magnificent family story in one sitting.
Profile Image for Abby.
156 reviews15 followers
May 8, 2020
I’ll be honest: this was only on my radar because of a Goodreads giveaway. One that I didn’t even win, might I add. It probably would have sat on my “want to read” shelf forever if it weren’t for the fact that my local library added the audiobook recently. The premise is interesting enough: basically, after their genius author father dies unexpectedly, three sisters soon learn that daddy dearest fathered a child out of wedlock.

I love a good family saga. I love books about sisters. But this one just did not hit the spot. It was often quite boring. The characters were so one dimensional. It’s like the author thinks that the way to write a well fleshed our character is to: 1. Vaguely explain physical attributes, 2. Vaguely explain character’s job, and 3. Give character a defining personality trait as well as a traumatic experience, but don’t go too into detail and make sure you bring up said traumatic experience 216 times.
I almost gave up on this book at three separate points but because it’s not too long I stuck with it. I don’t regret it because the ending was decent but I wouldn’t recommend this one.
Profile Image for Moonkiszt.
2,052 reviews212 followers
January 21, 2020
The Sweeney Sisters: A Novel

Sisters! Sisters! There were never such devoted sisters. . . .(are you humming it?)

This book begins with three devoted, yet mourning, sisters. Their parents loom large throughout the tale but happen to be dead (mostly), famous, rich, and the pages are possessed of so many clues you couldn’t be blamed if you thought this was a mystery – well, ok. I think it is. And a little ways through, tag it a romance, and part way through I began to sense someone somewhere in the writing crew has interior design credentials, with possible realtor experience. There are handsome men, all mostly rich – everyone is rich – and golfs, tennises, and yachts. One man isn't rich but knows how to grill - that means he has one. I was raised up a poor kid, so about there in the book I was fading – these folks are too many social classes above me!

But then. . . .I started seeing the differences between these girls, and they were not the same. Ha! That happens in my family. So, some relevancy cred regained. Then a little bit of friction, each have some kind of person issue that holds them hostage – another relevancy cred applied. And then well STUFF HAPPENS. . .I will leave you to find out on your own. From there in, I held tight to that kindle, stabbing the right side as fast as my big brown eyes could do that L-T-R zip across the screen. It was A Blast (capital B), every T crossed and all the I’s dotted. A very fun, smart and engaging read. After it was done, I missed the mix-and-mingle of the characters done so well by this author. I missed them.

4 stars. . . There was one person of color and hurrah for that yumminess, but a family that caucasian could stretch its wings a little. . .

From now on, I am looking for more of the Dolan flair.
Got it.!! ?did you? ;)

A sincere thanks to Lian Dolan, HarperCollins Publishers and NetGalley for providing me an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Amber.
992 reviews
December 13, 2019
I received a complimentary copy of this E-book ARC from the author, publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

When Famous author William Sweeney passes away, the three Sweeney sisters gather back home to Willow Lane to settle his affairs. What will happen when they gain a new sister in the process? Read on and find out more for yourself.

This was a pretty good read. I enjoyed this women's fiction book about sisters, family, and forgiveness. I also thought it was cool that these characters got to befriend some real life celebrities while reading this book too like Willem Dafoe and more. If you like stories like this, be sure to check this book out when it officially hits bookstores and wherever books are sold online on April 28, 2020.
Profile Image for Connie G.
1,691 reviews451 followers
September 22, 2020
The three redheaded Sweeney sisters-Liza, Maggie, and Tricia-were devastated when their father died. William Sweeney was a complicated man, a well-known author, and a Yale professor. They held a big Irish wake to honor his memory. The next day they met with his lawyer, and the three women were shocked to learn that there was a fourth Sweeney sister who grew up in their neighborhood. On top of that, they cannot find their father's manuscript for his last book and he already spent the advance.

Family secrets, sibling rivalry, and sisterly love are themes in this story. The women are dealing with this new sibling relationship in a small coastal Connecticut town where news travels fast. There have been both pressures and perks associated with being the daughters of a difficult, but brilliant, literary icon with a taste for whiskey. "The Sweeney Sisters" is an entertaining book full of family drama. 3.5 stars.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
311 reviews43 followers
August 8, 2020
I listened to this one and it was good but I could have taken it or left it. I didn't really connect with any of the characters. The Sweeney Sisters have just lost their father and discovered they have another half sister. The father seems like a crazy, out for himself, not that decent of a guy. They learn a lot about him from a memoir they knew nothing about and in turn find some new direction for their own lives.
Profile Image for Kelly.
53 reviews
April 4, 2020
First, I won this book from a Goodreads Giveaway, so a thank you to William Morrow for the opportunity. My review is voluntary and my own opinion.

I am giving the book a 3 because the author is a good story-teller. The story is well thought out and has a few surprises to keep the reader engaged. There is descriptions to set the story and well-defined backbackgrounds to help you understand from where the story emerges. Sadly, this is part of the problem.

The author spent so much time telling us where the characters came from that little time was spent on flushing out who they actually are. Of the almost 300 page book, I only found 2 characters to be fully developed and remotely likeable (and they were supporting roles). The book follows the story of 3 stereotypical women of privilege (focused on success, appearances, name-dropping, themselves) who basically discover some awful truths regarding their father (who they already knew to be awful). They are shallow and flat, and the "growth" during the story was abrupt and eye-roll inducing at times.. There appears to be little love between them - only an odd sense of often wavering loyalty? I am sad to say I did not connect with anyone on any level. I really wanted to enjoy the story, but everyone was so unlikeable it clouded any interesting elements (of which there were few, as most of the story unraveled predictably). Maybe a fun beach read, but is a story I will likely forget about in a few days.
Profile Image for Jypsy .
1,524 reviews60 followers
May 1, 2020
I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily reviewed this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

The Sweeney Sisters
By: Lian Dolan

Maggie, Eliza and Tricia are the Sweeney sisters. The death of their mother fifteen years ago caused a drifting apart, but the death of their father pulls them back together. Their father was a well known writer, so the sisters know a proper Irish wake is the thing to do in honor of him. You know how these things go-drama, old grudges, disputes and liquor-is a recipe for disaster. Through the course of events, a new sister, Serena, emerges. Now, the four women are left to untangle their father's life and deal with any fallout that might happen because he was well known and respected. This discovery will change perceptions of him but in what ways? How does Serena feel about being the fourth wheel? The lives of Maggie, Eliza and Tricia are forever altered, and they must decide how to proceed. This story is heartbreaking and humorous with many ups and downs for all of the characters. I honestly don't know how I would react. Change is inevitable, but it's also unwanted. I sympathize with each of these women and understand their differences of opinion. This story is about the unknowns, the surprises and the gifts life throws in your path. How you react is everything. I enjoyed reading The Sweeney Sisters, and with all of its charm, tension, wit and hope, I do recommend trying this book out for yourself.
Profile Image for Erin Henderschedt.
Author 1 book3 followers
March 3, 2020
Imaginative storyteller, Lian Dolan, thrills with her latest and most intriguing novel yet. The Sweeney Sisters is a heartfelt, fun story of sisters going through ups and downs of life in every way one can imagine. Each sister has an interesting, well developed background and personality. The tale is woven expertly to keep the reader wanting more and loving each of the characters for her individual traits. The Sweeney Sisters and the cast of characters draw the reader in to the story, keeps the reader wanting to know more, and the end is more than satisfying. This is a must read. Put it on your list.
Profile Image for Diana | Book of Secrets.
781 reviews572 followers
June 22, 2020
This book may have my favorite cover art this year. :-) I enjoyed the premise and beginning of this book, where the three Sweeney sisters discover they have a 4th sister via a DNA testing database just after their father's death. Overall though, the plot wasn't very strong and lacked the emotional punch you'd expect. It was an ok read, just didn't grab me completely.
Profile Image for Rhiannon Johnson.
810 reviews238 followers
April 29, 2020
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Three Sweeney sisters (preppy art dealer and mother Liza; hippy, carefree artist Maggie; and lawyer and serious runner Tricia) gather to settle their recently deceased father’s estate and are faced with some surprises: financial discrepancies, a missing memoir…and a surprise half-sister! I’ll admit at first I thought this would be a sugar coated and silly “comedy of errors” story with a whole “the more the merrier” theme. Thank goodness it was not. It was messy, realistic, and smart! Author Lian Dolan included lots of information about intellectual property, real estate law, and other details that may have been glossed over in lighter novels. Her addition of these details along with her fully formed individual characters gave the story substance. In addition to the 3 + 1 Sweeney sisters, this story has lots of great love ‘em and hate ‘em secondary characters (too many to name here) and one character that is somewhere in the middle. Their father, William Sweeney wrote a coming of age novel that was so widely acclaimed that it was included in many high school and college curriculums. He also wrote a novel about the Vietnam war, a book about his poet wife’s cancer and his subsequent depression, an article about Derek Jeter for The New Yorker, and many other male-centric pieces. Dolan did a wonderful job creating this beloved but flawed man and showing the circle of his thoughts and actions toward his family and their feelings toward him both during his life and after his death.

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Profile Image for Anna.
1,106 reviews94 followers
August 31, 2020
Sisters Maggie, Liz, and Tricia Sweeney have always been there for one another when things get tough. They lost their mother to cancer when they were young girls and were left to be raised by their internationally famous father William Sweeney, an acclaimed author. Their father had a gigantic ego and a penchant for gambling , but the sisters maintained a fondness for their father and loved their charming family home by the ocean in Southport, Connecticut. Despite their very different personalities, there is a rhythm to their relationships that works for them as adults. When their father dies suddenly, they rush home to plan the funeral and settle the estate. What a surprise to find they have a half sister, Serena Tucker, who once lived next door to them. As children they spent little time together. Serena's WASP mother considered the family below their social status. On a whim Serena took a DNA test and shockingly discovered William Sweeney was her biological father. What was the connection between Serena's mother and William Sweeney? Another shock comes when the Will reveals Serena will inherit a quarter of the estate. So many questions of what to make of this new sister.
There is also the looming question of where is the promised memoir their father left to be published after his death. What bombshells might come out in the memoir? As they search the property, so many memories surface, and each must reconcile the legacy their father left them, and decide what relationship they want with Serena.
A wonderful story of family, sisterhood and finding one's place in the world.
4.5 stars rounded up to 5.
Profile Image for Suzanne (The Bookish Libra).
888 reviews97 followers
May 2, 2020
When I read the synopsis for Lian Dolan’s new novel, The Sweeney Sisters, I knew I had to read it. I’m a sucker for a good story about sisters, and this story has that, as well as a healthy dose of family drama and scandalous secrets. As if those elements weren’t enticing enough on their own, The Sweeney Sisters is also a book about books! Sounds like a must-read, right?

The Sweeney Sisters follows three sisters, Liza, Maggie, and Tricia, who have returned to their childhood home after their father, literary giant William Sweeney, has passed away unexpectedly. Their mother passed away years ago so it falls on the sisters to settle their father’s affairs. The sisters knew their father wasn’t perfect, but what they learn upon reading his will and meeting with his long-time attorney, shocks them to the core.

Because of some financial missteps their dad made, the sisters learn they will inherit much less than they were anticipating. They also learn that he made some personal missteps as well, the result of which is Serena, an older half-sister whom they’ve never met and who now stands to inherit a piece of the Sweeney estate. On top of that, their father also left behind, and apparently hid, the manuscript of a tell-all memoir he had promised his publisher. The sisters need to either find the manuscript or be prepared to pay back the very large advance their father had received for committing to write it. The sisters are navigating a potential mine field while trying to protect their father’s legacy, which is not easy to do when he lived in a tiny, seaside town in Connecticut where everyone knows everyone else.

The sisters and the way they come together are what really made this a special read for me. I adored all three of them so much. There’s “Mad” Maggie (as her dad called her), who is an artist and free spirit. Then there’s Tricia, the attorney in the family, who is both reserved and responsible. And finally, there’s Liza, married with two children, who owns an art gallery in town. The story unfolds from all of their perspectives and I found it fascinating to get a close up look at each sister’s thoughts and feelings as they try to make sense of the unexpected turns their lives have suddenly taken. I also found it interesting to watch how each sister chose to approach their new half-sister. The author rounds out the story well by also giving us Serena’s perspective so we can see how she processes this information and the drama it causes since she’s now faced with the news that the man she has called Dad all her life really isn’t her father. I really enjoyed Serena’s character. Imagine the shock of taking one of those DNA tests as a lark and then finding out you’re related to someone famous? The author does a wonderful job of crafting these potentially dramatic and awkward moments without making the story feel like a soap opera. It all felt very authentic.

The Sweeney Sisters is a heartwarming story about what it means to be a family. It’s a reminder that life is often messy and that it’s important to come together as a family to overcome any and all obstacles. If books about sisters and secrets are your thing, The Sweeney Sisters is the book for you!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley. All opinions are my own..
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Holly R W.
342 reviews33 followers
July 29, 2021
This is a book about family secrets and the bonds between sisters. The Sweeney sisters discover that they have a fourth half-sister not long after their father dies. They learn this as adults, while mourning their father. And, as it turns out, their half-sister grew up on the same street as them. At first, the Sweeneys have conflicted feelings about her. What could her motives be in contacting them?

I found the characters in the book to be appealing and interesting. The sisters see each others' foibles, but are fiercely loyal to each other. Their half-sister, an only child, grew up as their neighbor and always envied their closeness. Their parents (Bill and Maeve) were both literary people. Maeve wrote poems when younger and Bill was a much lauded author. Added to the mix are the men in the sisters' lives.

After Bill Sweeney's death, the sisters look for his last manuscript, purported to reveal some well kept secrets. Bill himself was larger than life - charismatic, brilliant and self-absorbed. He had many shortcomings as a father and husband that the sisters begin to see more realistically.

This was an entertaining tale that kept me absorbed. The book is well-written and fits into what's now called women's fiction (AKA chick lit).

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Amy.
1,877 reviews1,878 followers
April 27, 2020
It seems like long buried family secrets being brought to light by at home DNA testing is quite the hot topic lately and while I’ve read several heartbreaking tales about people’s real lives being shattered by unexpected results, I was super curious to read about a fictional family dealing with the after effects. I love a good family drama and this one didn’t disappoint!

I love author characters and although William Sweeney wasn’t alive during the events of the book as the sisters deal with his estate after he passes, he was still larger than life here. While I enjoyed all of the Sweeney sisters and what they individually brought to the table he stole much of the show. It’s always interesting to see how a parents influence can affect the dynamics of an entire family and this focuses heavily on how Bill’s behavior and secrets shaped each of his four daughters. Each woman was well drawn and complex and I enjoyed taking this journey with them.
Profile Image for TL .
1,824 reviews35 followers
November 25, 2020
*listened via Overdrive app on audiobook and read the last couple chapters with the ebook*

Narrator: 4 🌟
Story: 4 🌟

I was a little worried that this would be like a soap opera and too much drama. There was some of the latter but it wasn't unnecessary or over the top, it fit very well into the flow of the story.

This was a wonderful tale of four people getting to know each other more and dealing with the unexpected revelations that follow.

I wanted/want to go to Southport and hang out with the sisters, relax and have some fun:) (Maggie, Serena, and me would get along the best methinks ).

William Sweeney was not an easy man and an imperfect one. Living in the shadow of him and his demons 😈.. I don't envy anyone that.

I wouldn't mind more with the Sweeney sisters:) Especially something with some snapshots of their mother, she sounded like a wonderful lady.

Would recommend 👌
Profile Image for Mary Eve.
585 reviews76 followers
December 5, 2020
Getting to know the Sweeney sisters was fun, and a perfect escape from reality. Liza, Maggie, and baby sister, Trisha, was a joy to hang out with. Supportive and thoughtful, the sisters make sisterhood seem simple, especially when their lives are in an upheaval. Their father has died unexpectedly and left a few surprises in his wake.

William Sweeney is a literary legend and a Southport, Connecticut hero. Unfortunately, what he's gained in fame, he's failed in fatherhood. The Sweeney sisters never said their father was perfect, but they hadn't expected the biggest surprise of all: finding out there may be a fourth Sweeney sister! ♪ dum dum dum ♪

Serena Tucker is intelligent. She has given lots of thought on how she's going to handle the DNA information discovered six months ago. If she's being honest with herself, she has always been a little envious of the close-knit Sweeney sisters. Serena just wants a chance to know them; to fit in. Of course, having Bill Sweeney as a father is the icing on the cake. As an only child, Serena has never experienced the bonds of sisterhood. William Sweeney's DNA delivers Serena to the Sweeney door, whether they like it or not. Serena wonders how she'll be received. The Sweeney sisters wonder what Serena is after. They are suspicious. Like their father, Serena is a writer. Will she concoct a tell-all exposé? Family secrets are about to spill from all directions.

Three sisters. One half-sister. The timing couldn't be worse. Four women try to navigate life's ups and downs. Each woman brings a different strength and weakness to the family dynamics. Spending time with them as they reorganize their lives was surprisingly nice. Confident, headstrong women supporting one another. Yeah. Very nice indeed.

**Special thanks to NetGalley and William Morrow & Dey Street/Harper Collins Publishers for the e-galley review DRC.
621 reviews13 followers
December 14, 2019
The Sweeney Sisters. This is what my friends and I call “a real book.” It is a wonderful story about human emotions and actions...good, bad, embarrassing, uplifting. When renowned writer William Sweeney unexpectedly dies he leaves a mess for his daughters...the three that grew up in his house and the other child he didn’t acknowledge while he lived. Told from the perspective of the four girls, with insight from their father’s published writings, the three Sweeney sisters come to see a different side of the man who was such a big presence, and of each other. The other daughter, blindsided by a DNA test, struggles to find if there might be a place for her in the family she’d always envied. The author has created characters that come alive within the book’s pages. Readers experience each emotion, as the four very different sisters struggle to come to terms with each other and the fact that their father has written an often unflattering memoir that is contracted for publication. I couldn’t stop reading. I voluntarily reviewed an advance copy of this book from NetGalley. Most highly recommend.
Profile Image for Jamie.
640 reviews
June 27, 2020
3.5-4 stars for this sisterly family saga!
Three sisters gather to bury their famous literary father only to find out there’s a fourth sister.
A lot of time in the book is spent on the fathers legacy and the house while they search for the memoir he wrote before death and hid it for the girls to find.
I enjoyed the look into the life of a famous writer and publishing industry. However, it did feel like the book dragged with detail at times. Some of the sisters I enjoyed more than others. Overall, I enjoyed this cute, fast paced read.
Profile Image for Mom_Loves_Reading.
366 reviews84 followers
April 21, 2020
As someone who has always wanted a sister, I absolutely LOVED this book! I have never done a DNA test, but I actually have a friend who discovered she had another sister because of a DNA test. Her story about this discovery is just as special & amazing as this book! You can literally buy DNA test kits at Target!
Wonderful characters, relevant story theme, secrets, forgiveness, & just so much more! I loved it! And the cover is GORGEOUS! This book just made me want a sister even more! (Sorry, not sorry, bro.)
Profile Image for DeB.
984 reviews246 followers
November 8, 2021
Dysfunctional family story with a twist- upon the last remaining parent’s death, a fourth sister shows up. Acclaimed writer William Sweeney had a child with the neighbour’s wife, and no one knew anything about it; access to DNA tests resulted in a fluke discovery- but Serena never had a chance to meet her father. Instead, she is in his will and no longer a secret.

William left behind debt AND an unpublished memoir, hidden somewhere in the rundown family home. His three daughters from his marriage run the emotional gamut from utter devastation to anger at his behaviour, as they face the consequences of his life actions - while trying to deal with each other in close contact as adults under such intense conditions. The “sister dynamics” are complicated and adroitly addressed. All very upbeat, if quite repetitive at times when each tells friends, other family or someone not present in the triad - Liza, Tricia, Maggie- facts, memories or tribulations, which I found tiring. I did skim. The author obviously loves Southport, and felt that detailed descriptions of settings where her characters met, conversed, remembered, partied - you get the idea- were of optimal importance to her story. For me, not so much- again, I skimmed. Half way in, I sighed, and thought- where is the memoir? What is the big deal? I need more suspense here… not description.

I guess that this wasn’t the book for me. I found it cluttered, that it moved slowly around the critical ideas and midway, collapsed on itself. So much conversation, and so little of interest.

It is very unfortunate because the premise was great- superb bones- but so many details, too much fluff obscured a story and an emotional path which could have been impactful.

One paragraph caught at me- how I wished there had been more of these gems.

“‘Yes. You’re right. I’m the thoughtless one.” Tricia knew what she really wanted to say but held back, because there were some words and phrases the sisters never used with each other, as if crossing that line was the gateway to permanent disharmony.”

Lian Dolan knows about sisters- she actually has four in real life. When she scratched at more than the surface, I was impressed.

For that paragraph and her great ideas, three stars.
Profile Image for Grumpybookworm.
293 reviews
February 1, 2020

This is a good read. It didn't blow me away and at times I felt like the characters were a bit one dimensional, but I really liked the concept and I enjoyed the literary backdrop. I could have done with a bit more flushing out and setting the stage at the beginning up until they found out about the fourth sister (their reaction to this revelation seemed a bit bland and anticlimactic given the level of surprise this would be).

I loved the Little Women vibes I got from the sisters. All so very different, not always on the same page, often frustrated with each other, but so very well versed in one another’s tendencies and patterns.

I did struggle a bit with some of the flow and how it would switch (seemingly randomly) from one character’s inner thoughts or actions to another’s.

This is mainly an intimate look at family (and more specifically - sister) dynamics and I really identified with that, having a sister myself with whom I have a complicated relationship. I found a lot of the internal as well as sister-to-sister dialogue to be very relatable and reminiscent of sisterly interactions.

This will be a great read for those who love family sagas like The Nest, The Most Fun We Ever Had, or others that aren’t as much plot-heavy but relationship and family dynamics-heavy.

Appreciate the opportunity from Netgalley for an early read!
Profile Image for Heena Rathore Pardeshi.
Author 1 book255 followers
June 14, 2020
The Sweeny Sisters by Lian Dolan is a spectacular contemporary read which has a lot to offer to its readers. It is funny, heart-warming, emotional at times and conveys the strength of a bond of sisters in such a beautiful way that it is hard not to like this book.

Although this book was fiction, it did a pretty good job of convincing me otherwise. The characters felt so real and full of life and the story was so fresh and good that I wanted to believe it all to be true. And that is the best way an author can indulge a reader! The book was well-written and I loved the cover image of the book. The concept was good and the story-line very engaging.

I loved every bit of it and would recommend it to all contemporary fiction reads and anyone who likes reading about family and relationships in general.

You can also read this review on www.thereadingbud.com
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