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The Sisters Sweet

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A young woman in a vaudeville sister act must learn to forge her own path after her twin runs away to Hollywood in this richly immersive debut about love, family, and friendship. Leaving was my sister's choice. I would have to make my own. All Harriet Szász has ever known is life onstage with her sister, Josie. As "The Sisters Sweet," they pose as conjoined twins in a vaude A young woman in a vaudeville sister act must learn to forge her own path after her twin runs away to Hollywood in this richly immersive debut about love, family, and friendship. Leaving was my sister's choice. I would have to make my own. All Harriet Szász has ever known is life onstage with her sister, Josie. As "The Sisters Sweet," they pose as conjoined twins in a vaudeville act conceived of by their ambitious parents, who were once themselves theatrical stars. But after Josie exposes the family's fraud and runs away to Hollywood, Harriet must learn to live out of the spotlight—and her sister's shadow. Striving to keep her struggling family afloat, she molds herself into the perfect daughter. As Josie's star rises in California, the Szászes fall on hard times and Harriet begins to form her first relationships outside her family. She must decide whether to honor her mother, her father, or the self she's only beginning to get to know. Full of long-simmering tensions, buried secrets, questionable saviors, and broken promises, this is a story about how much we are beholden to others and what we owe ourselves. Layered and intimate, The Sisters Sweet heralds the arrival of an accomplished new voice in fiction.


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A young woman in a vaudeville sister act must learn to forge her own path after her twin runs away to Hollywood in this richly immersive debut about love, family, and friendship. Leaving was my sister's choice. I would have to make my own. All Harriet Szász has ever known is life onstage with her sister, Josie. As "The Sisters Sweet," they pose as conjoined twins in a vaude A young woman in a vaudeville sister act must learn to forge her own path after her twin runs away to Hollywood in this richly immersive debut about love, family, and friendship. Leaving was my sister's choice. I would have to make my own. All Harriet Szász has ever known is life onstage with her sister, Josie. As "The Sisters Sweet," they pose as conjoined twins in a vaudeville act conceived of by their ambitious parents, who were once themselves theatrical stars. But after Josie exposes the family's fraud and runs away to Hollywood, Harriet must learn to live out of the spotlight—and her sister's shadow. Striving to keep her struggling family afloat, she molds herself into the perfect daughter. As Josie's star rises in California, the Szászes fall on hard times and Harriet begins to form her first relationships outside her family. She must decide whether to honor her mother, her father, or the self she's only beginning to get to know. Full of long-simmering tensions, buried secrets, questionable saviors, and broken promises, this is a story about how much we are beholden to others and what we owe ourselves. Layered and intimate, The Sisters Sweet heralds the arrival of an accomplished new voice in fiction.

30 review for The Sisters Sweet

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    3.5 stars! Thank you, Random House, for the gifted book. I’m always drawn to books with circus and theatre as historical backdrops. Harriet and Josie are sisters who pretend to be conjoined twins for their act. It was their once-actor parents’ idea. Josie exposes the fraud and leaves for Hollywood, while Harriet is left to salvage a life on her own. Josie’s life is on the upswing, while the rest of her family is not doing well at home. Harriet tries to be loyal to her family and help them, but at 3.5 stars! Thank you, Random House, for the gifted book. I’m always drawn to books with circus and theatre as historical backdrops. Harriet and Josie are sisters who pretend to be conjoined twins for their act. It was their once-actor parents’ idea. Josie exposes the fraud and leaves for Hollywood, while Harriet is left to salvage a life on her own. Josie’s life is on the upswing, while the rest of her family is not doing well at home. Harriet tries to be loyal to her family and help them, but at the same time, she’s wistful for a life on her own. My favorite part of the story was the first half, where the sisters, vaudeville, and family dynamic are really explored. The epilogue was a fantastic way to bring the story of family and coming-of-age all together. Also, I really loved Josie and her heart as a character. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader

  2. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    I loved the premise for this book. Parents of two young twins pretend they are conjoined in order to have a distinctive vaudeville act. But as the girls get older, one is no longer willing to play along. She runs away to Hollywood and becomes a star. But that only tackles the first ⅓ of the story. It then goes on to detail Harriet’s life, the sister left behind. Unfortunately, her story is much duller. She’s the responsible one; the one forced to pretend to be a good girl to elicit her uncle’s h I loved the premise for this book. Parents of two young twins pretend they are conjoined in order to have a distinctive vaudeville act. But as the girls get older, one is no longer willing to play along. She runs away to Hollywood and becomes a star. But that only tackles the first ⅓ of the story. It then goes on to detail Harriet’s life, the sister left behind. Unfortunately, her story is much duller. She’s the responsible one; the one forced to pretend to be a good girl to elicit her uncle’s help. And while I could feel sorry for her, she wasn’t a character I could relate to. The story also provides the backstory for each of the parents. Her mother was a star before a showtime accident crushed her leg. Her father was a set designer but also a lush. As parents, they’re horrendous failures. In the end, I found the premise was better than the book itself. The story felt dry and the characters felt two dimensional and cliched. The ending brought everything together, but it was too little, too late. My thanks to Netgalley and Random House for an advance copy of this book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Cheri

    3.5 Stars This begins with a reporter showing up at Harriet’s door, one of the two that once upon a time made up the sister act of the Sisters Sweet along with her twin sister, Josephine. She’s working on a story about Josephine for Vanity Fair and wants to get the first scoop about their childhood days of performing on stage, as conjoined twins, or ’Siamese twins, as they would have been referred to at the time. Her father had tried to convince their mother that they would be successful in show 3.5 Stars This begins with a reporter showing up at Harriet’s door, one of the two that once upon a time made up the sister act of the Sisters Sweet along with her twin sister, Josephine. She’s working on a story about Josephine for Vanity Fair and wants to get the first scoop about their childhood days of performing on stage, as conjoined twins, or ’Siamese twins, as they would have been referred to at the time. Her father had tried to convince their mother that they would be successful in show business. His grandfather had been a dancer, his grandmother had been part of a traveling show. His parents had taken a slightly different path, they had a puppet theatre. Show biz was in his blood, and he took pride in that, and believed in the magic of theatre. Their mother had been a star in the Follies, and their father had built her sets. Eventually, despite their mother’s objections, he wears her down. Costumes are made, tap shoes are bought, auditions come and go, with no callbacks. Meanwhile, while her father was focused on the twins bringing in the money, they were broke. Harriet knows it is because she doesn’t have the skills or the ability to shine on stage the way that Josephine does. Their father comes up with the idea of a way to make it appear that they are conjoined twins, and a new, more successful - at least for a time - career for the girls follows, beginning in June of 1918. The music begins, and the girls dance as one, and the audience believes. A new life for them begins. A life of lies and deception, but even the girls believed in those moments that they were truly one. As the years pass, Josephine quietly pulls away, and eventually leaves for a different future, and life changes - and not in a good way for Harriet or their parents. They are brought to their knees, even as Josephine manages to find her way to a bigger, if not necessarily better, life. I really enjoyed the first half of this story, and the way this story came full circle in the Epilogue, but most of the second half felt a bit contrived and messy to me. As a result, I felt the story suffered a bit overall. Pub Date: 30 Nov 2021 Many thanks for the ARC provided by Random House Publishing Group - Random House #TheSistersSweet #NetGalley

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    The Sisters Sweet is about a family who falls on hard times in the 1920’s. The parents of twins decide to create a vaudeville act where they create costumes that give the illusion that the girls are Siamese twins. One day, one of the sisters, Josie, exposes them as frauds on stage and runs away, leaving her sister, Harriet, in the aftermath to learn who she is outside of her sister’s shadow. This is a hard one for me to rate. It seems that most readers preferred the beginning of the book, but I The Sisters Sweet is about a family who falls on hard times in the 1920’s. The parents of twins decide to create a vaudeville act where they create costumes that give the illusion that the girls are Siamese twins. One day, one of the sisters, Josie, exposes them as frauds on stage and runs away, leaving her sister, Harriet, in the aftermath to learn who she is outside of her sister’s shadow. This is a hard one for me to rate. It seems that most readers preferred the beginning of the book, but I found that part to be a bit of a slog, and actually enjoyed Harriet’s coming-of-age journey more. This felt more like a domestic drama rather than historical fiction to me. Pretty much all of the characters were extremely unlikable, especially Josie and their parents. Although I did root for Harriet, their cousin Ruth ended up being my favorite character. I understand what the author was trying to do, but in this case, the dual timeline bogged down the story a bit. I found myself skimming Maude’s and Lenny’s stories, and I think Josie’s perspective would have added more to the story overall. 3 stars. Many thanks to Random House and NetGalley for an advanced eARC in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Annette

    1918. On their father’s persistence, the mother agrees to a show business. The five-year old girls become an act: The Magnificant Singing Szasz Twins. With the harness squeezing twins together, the father announces Josephine and Harriet Szasz, the Siamese Twins. A train takes them to Chicago, where no one knows them. The girls quickly get their show, and even get on the road performing. But then, everything gets closed on account of Spanish flu. Summer 1919 takes them back on the road performing. 1918. On their father’s persistence, the mother agrees to a show business. The five-year old girls become an act: The Magnificant Singing Szasz Twins. With the harness squeezing twins together, the father announces Josephine and Harriet Szasz, the Siamese Twins. A train takes them to Chicago, where no one knows them. The girls quickly get their show, and even get on the road performing. But then, everything gets closed on account of Spanish flu. Summer 1919 takes them back on the road performing. Theaters are changing from live performances to moving pictures, so called vaudeville. And the Szasz Sweets continue to make a name for themselves. The story goes back in time and reveals how their parents met. At first, I didn’t know what I was reading, but then realized it’s about the parents. This story is in the category of historical fiction and with the mention of vaudeville, I thought that this form of theatre would come alive. It’s only mentioned. There is a little bit of opera woven into the story. And as family relies on Uncle Eugene at some points, it also brings his sermons as he is a pastor. But this doesn’t make a strong historical background. For me this book should be under category of fiction. The story has an interesting start, but then becomes descriptive and as I was realizing that there was hardly any historical background, I struggled to stay engaged with it as I don’t read fiction. If you are a fiction reader, I recommend looking at other reviews. Source: ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Britany

    Sisters Josephine and Harriet are thrust into the spotlight to help out their family when they are down on their luck. Just tiny little girls, their parents used to live the prime of their lives in the spotlight. Their dad straps them together in a harness and pushes them to perform. They are a hit and start traveling the world with their act. Until Josie makes a decision that changes everything. The book traverses forward as the reader sticks with Harriet and her family as she ages and we slowly Sisters Josephine and Harriet are thrust into the spotlight to help out their family when they are down on their luck. Just tiny little girls, their parents used to live the prime of their lives in the spotlight. Their dad straps them together in a harness and pushes them to perform. They are a hit and start traveling the world with their act. Until Josie makes a decision that changes everything. The book traverses forward as the reader sticks with Harriet and her family as she ages and we slowly reveal what happened to this fractured family. At the end of some chapters were snippets of the parents timelines that allowed for everything to come together. Honestly, the writing was good, not great. It was a little wordy, and circular trying hard to get a point across that could've been done in a lot fewer words. There were parts that were a little unnecessary and could have been cleaned up a bit. The format was a little off too- the parents timeline (while I enjoyed it) was a little confusing at the pacing and the rationale as to why the author chose to include them in the format she did. Thank you to Netgalley and Random House for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    MicheleReader

    The book’s prologue takes place in the early 1990s when a reporter for Vanity Fair seeks to interview Harriet Szász on the death of her sister Josephine, the successful actress. She agrees. The story begins when Lenny and Maude Szász have twin daughters. The couple decides that their girls should enter show business, where they both had early breaks. By 1918, Josie and Harriet start performing together when Lenny decides that the act would have greater appeal if he made the five-year-old girls a The book’s prologue takes place in the early 1990s when a reporter for Vanity Fair seeks to interview Harriet Szász on the death of her sister Josephine, the successful actress. She agrees. The story begins when Lenny and Maude Szász have twin daughters. The couple decides that their girls should enter show business, where they both had early breaks. By 1918, Josie and Harriet start performing together when Lenny decides that the act would have greater appeal if he made the five-year-old girls appear to be conjoined twins. For ten years, the Siamese Sweets are a successful vaudeville act touring the country when Josie, the sister with the greater star-quality, leaves for a career in Hollywood. Harriet is left behind to figure out what lies ahead for her. The Sisters Sweet is an engaging story about a young woman coming to terms with being abandoned by her twin sister and seeking her own direction in life while trying to be a good daughter to her struggling parents. The book reveals the stories of a father who never realized his own dreams and a mother who once had a taste of success only to have lost it all after an injury. Neither parent can look beyond their own troubles and disappointments to provide Harriet with the support she needs. Author Elizabeth Weiss has done a fine job creating characters that have substance and inner conflict. While slow at times, the story held my interest throughout. Many thanks to NetGalley and The Dial Press | Random House Publishing Group for the opportunity to read Weiss’ impressive debut in advance of its November 30, 2021 release. Review posted on MicheleReader.com.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Terri

    its got a lot of City of Girls flavor to it, mixed with Evelyn Hugo. And I actually liked Harriet for the most part although there were some times when I just wanted to shake her. As far as pacing, I sped to around the halfway mark and the middle was far too long and the end far too short. There was just a sense of sadness and gloom throughout and I felt suffocated by their life. Although maybe that was the point. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the advanced copy.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    I AM LOVING ALL OF THE EARLY TWENTIETH CENTURY ART DECO VIBE COVERRRRSSSSS ahhhhh! This cover is no exception! SO gorgeous!

  10. 5 out of 5

    LibraryCin

    3.5 stars Harriet and Josie are twins, and when their family falls on hard times, their parents (having both worked in show business in the past) strap them together to make them appear to be conjoined twins and set about getting vaudeville work for them. They grow up doing this kind of entertainment and manage for years before 15-year old Josie simply gets tired of it, and – on stage – breaks out of the harness and runs off! They are ruined. Josie is the one who always wanted to be a star, anywa 3.5 stars Harriet and Josie are twins, and when their family falls on hard times, their parents (having both worked in show business in the past) strap them together to make them appear to be conjoined twins and set about getting vaudeville work for them. They grow up doing this kind of entertainment and manage for years before 15-year old Josie simply gets tired of it, and – on stage – breaks out of the harness and runs off! They are ruined. Josie is the one who always wanted to be a star, anyway… and she becomes one (this is not a spoiler as we know in the first chapter, before we go back in time, that she became famous). Harriet didn’t crave the limelight like Josie did, but it was all she knew. She and her parents go to her mom’s sister and husband for help. This is told from Harriet’s point of view. I liked it, but I didn’t really find any of the characters particularly likable, including Harriet. The book did a good job of show business and the time period, I think. I definitely did not like the ending – it initially appeared to be going (kind of) where I wanted it to, then suddenly changed course. It is very possible others would like the ending more than I did, however.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Martie Nees Record

    Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Random House Pub. Date: November 30, 2021 In a vaudeville sister act, a young woman must learn to forge her own path after her more talented twin gets married and runs away to Hollywood. I enjoyed this novel because the story resembles the play and movie “Gypsy,” which centers on the life and times of the real-life burlesque dancer Gypsy Rose Lee and her aggressive stage mother. Determined to make her gifted daughter June a headliner the mother drags her other d Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Random House Pub. Date: November 30, 2021 In a vaudeville sister act, a young woman must learn to forge her own path after her more talented twin gets married and runs away to Hollywood. I enjoyed this novel because the story resembles the play and movie “Gypsy,” which centers on the life and times of the real-life burlesque dancer Gypsy Rose Lee and her aggressive stage mother. Determined to make her gifted daughter June a headliner the mother drags her other daughter Louise, who is shy, awkward, and decidedly less talented, into their successful vaudeville act. June runs away to get married and the mother pushes Louise to be a star demanding of her what she just didn’t have to give, which is how she becomes the famous stripper. In “The Sisters Sweet,” both parents come from showbiz backgrounds. Josie is the talented sister and Harriet is written as Louise-like. The likable yet depressed alcoholic father plays the part of the stage mother. When the talented Josie runs off to Hollywood, the father creates a solo act for Harriet. The act doesn’t happen because Harriet finally realizes that she does not want to pursue a life in show business. No burlesque career for Harriet paves the author's way to explore, family dynamics, religion (through a reverend uncle), and buried family secrets. Weiss does a good job weaving the parents’ backgrounds into the plot. However, the authentic historical feel of theater life set in the early 20th century held this reviewer’s interest, more so than Harriet’s coming of age story. I received this Advance Review Copy (ARC) novel from the publisher at no cost in exchange for an honest review. Find all my book reviews at: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list… https://books6259.wordpress.com/ https://www.barnesandnoble.com/review… https://www.facebook.com/martie.neesr… https://www.instagram.com/martie6947/ https://www.pinterest.com/martienreco…\ https://www.amazon.com/ https://twitter.com/NeesRecord\

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    The Sisters Sweet by Elizabeth Weiss is a great historical fiction novel that is so unique and fascinating, and kept me interested throughout. This is such a wonderful novel. I was fully immersed into a rich narrative steeped with history, engaging characters, all-encompassing family dynamics, and is something that I will remember for a long time. I loved following along with Harriet and Josie. To see the intricate, imperfect, and flawed emotions, actions, and family dynamics was engrossing. I enj The Sisters Sweet by Elizabeth Weiss is a great historical fiction novel that is so unique and fascinating, and kept me interested throughout. This is such a wonderful novel. I was fully immersed into a rich narrative steeped with history, engaging characters, all-encompassing family dynamics, and is something that I will remember for a long time. I loved following along with Harriet and Josie. To see the intricate, imperfect, and flawed emotions, actions, and family dynamics was engrossing. I enjoyed the establishment of the historic time period, occurrences, backdrop, and the incorporation into the characters' lives, however the real star of the show are is the character cast itself. The sisters are flawed, realistic and raw, yet they are likable, honest, and at times I was lightened, as well as sad, for what they experience. Trying to find one's way, one's purpose in life is hard enough, yet plunged into this atmosphere by family makes it so much more confusing, conflicting, and challenging. I love the theatre/backstage atmosphere. I love the early 20th century vibes with the vaudeville scene. All of the historical aspects really rounded out an excellent novel that really highlighted the bonds and complicated relationships between family members, twins, and the complex issue of being a part of something, but also being true to oneself at the same time all makes for excellent reading. 5/5 stars Thank you NG and The Dial Press/Random House Publishing Group for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    Without knowing anything, I assumed when I started this book that it was based on a true story. I know very little about this era, especially the vaudeville and early Hollywood stuff, so I found it eminently plausible the Sweet/Szasz sisters really lived or were at least based on a real set of twins. As the book started, I was a lot more engrossed than I thought I would be. The twins' early years on the stage were great fun to read about but the book really shone in the sections about their pare Without knowing anything, I assumed when I started this book that it was based on a true story. I know very little about this era, especially the vaudeville and early Hollywood stuff, so I found it eminently plausible the Sweet/Szasz sisters really lived or were at least based on a real set of twins. As the book started, I was a lot more engrossed than I thought I would be. The twins' early years on the stage were great fun to read about but the book really shone in the sections about their parents' lives before the twins were born. The first third of the book was phenomenal, a five star experience. I was hooked. Then, the second section started and boy oh boy was I let down flat. There were almost no more parts from the parents' points of view, no more exciting vaudeville scenes, no more crazy exciting twin escapades. Just a boring story about a boring teen going about her boring teen life. I can't believe how let down I was after that exciting beginning. The whole back half of the book felt like nothing other than a run of the mill coming of age story about a lonely teen in the twenties and thirties doing all the boring things lonely teens do the world over: going to school, trying to make friends, first romantic experiences, trouble with family members, etc. This was the time I became convinced that this book was based on real people. Why the author chose to write about the less interesting twin, I couldn't say, but obviously her hands were tied story-wise because this is what actually happened. I slogged through 60% of really slow, uninteresting, uninspiring, and uninspired stuff to reach a similarly unexciting and rushed ending. The book ending was such a let down that I instantly felt cheated. If the ending was going to be so bland, why did I suffer through so many chapters of nothing happening? I thought for sure it would all come to mean something. But it turns out this book has almost no plot other than a girl with an interesting childhood and a completely boring life past the age of fourteen. She really peaked early, no doubt about it. And that happens to some people, but why write a book about that person? I felt assured that the only reason the book was written in this way was because the author was constrained by the facts of actual history. After all, if one wants to stick to the facts, invention, even for the benefit of making a book interesting, is frowned upon by many (or at least some) critics. I'm sure the author will explain why she chose to write about this boring sister instead of her more interesting (can't be any less interesting) sister in the back matter. Lo and behold, at the end of the book, THERE IS NO AUTHOR'S NOTE! I almost dropped the book! I couldn't believe my eyes! Not only did the author choose to write about the more boring of a set of famous, real-life twins, but THEY ACTUALLY DIDN'T EXIST?!?!?!!!! Are you kidding me? Someone chose to write a book so boring when she had the entirety of the world of imagination at her fingertips? This boring sister could have gone to the moon or become poet laureate or married an archduke or started a circus and instead she goes to school and sneaks drinks out of a flask and has hurried teen sex in a treehouse? Why write a book about someone who does nothing interesting after the age of fourteen? What really gets my goat (yes, even more than all of that) was that it sounds like this character actually had a fairly interesting life after the main part of the book ends. But of course, why on earth would we want to read about the cool, fun things she does when we can count the number of times she goes to church and sees a movie? Ooohh, exciting. This book had so much potential. I can't even explain how excited I was by the first third of the book and how much I thought I'd love the rest of it. My amount of letdown is incalculable. If anyone is considering reading this book, I highly, HIGHLY recommend the first section. Once you get past that, prepare to skim. Trust me, you won't miss much. I'm going with three stars (perhaps 2.75) because the beginning really was quite fabulous. I received this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Romero

    The Sisters Sweet is a vaudeville act. Cooked up by twins Harriet and Josie’s parents. The father is really worthless and the mother is cold and distant. No one can keep a job so the father thinks up an act for the girls. Dancing and singing siamese twins. Only they are not Siamese twins. So he comes up with a contraption they wear under their dress that keeps one of each of their arms cinched to the suit. It is painful but they are making money. Until they are found out. Josie runs away and they The Sisters Sweet is a vaudeville act. Cooked up by twins Harriet and Josie’s parents. The father is really worthless and the mother is cold and distant. No one can keep a job so the father thinks up an act for the girls. Dancing and singing siamese twins. Only they are not Siamese twins. So he comes up with a contraption they wear under their dress that keeps one of each of their arms cinched to the suit. It is painful but they are making money. Until they are found out. Josie runs away and they don’t exactly try to find her. She turns up in Hollywood making pictures but doesn’t want anyone to know her past. They rely on family to take them in and give them jobs and Harriet just tries to be good and out of sight. But at what cost? In the end, will she be true to herself or settle for a husband? I am sorry to say not one of these characters was the least bit enjoyable. There were no high points or low points. Just a bit dull. NetGalley/November 30th, 2021 by The Dial Press

  15. 5 out of 5

    Megan Rivera

    It was a good book. I enjoyed reading about the characters and the overall storyline.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Toni

    I enjoy stories about families and especially stories about sisters. This is one dysfunctional family. This story started out well ;but, then I felt that it really slowed in the middle. It was well-written and researched. However, I never connected with any of the characters . I finished the book even though I really had no interest in knowing any more about any of them. I felt I owed it to the author, not the characters, to finish. All in all, quite a sad, unlikable group. Mainly a tale of pare I enjoy stories about families and especially stories about sisters. This is one dysfunctional family. This story started out well ;but, then I felt that it really slowed in the middle. It was well-written and researched. However, I never connected with any of the characters . I finished the book even though I really had no interest in knowing any more about any of them. I felt I owed it to the author, not the characters, to finish. All in all, quite a sad, unlikable group. Mainly a tale of parents using children for financial gain and to reconnect with their failed careers. The backgrounds of the parents should have made me more empathetic but it did not. They might be the worst parents imaginable. I always feel badly leaving bad reviews . I know that I am in the minority as I see other reviews but this this book just did not click with me. I am not judging the author's writing ability , just the story. Perhaps another story of hers would wow me.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Taylor Noel

    I was really excited to read this galley—but I didn’t expect to spend two days straight completely immersed in the pages. THE SISTERS SWEET was even better than I expected! It’s epic and sweeping, heartbreaking and healing, rich and spellbinding. I felt deeply connected to Harriet, Josephine, and Rose—all complex, strong female characters—and could have spent several more hours in their company. And the scenes where Harriet and her dad sneak into movie theaters to watch Josie’s movie have been s I was really excited to read this galley—but I didn’t expect to spend two days straight completely immersed in the pages. THE SISTERS SWEET was even better than I expected! It’s epic and sweeping, heartbreaking and healing, rich and spellbinding. I felt deeply connected to Harriet, Josephine, and Rose—all complex, strong female characters—and could have spent several more hours in their company. And the scenes where Harriet and her dad sneak into movie theaters to watch Josie’s movie have been stuck in my head for months. About the pull and push of family and trying to find your own way in the world, this novel is intimate, moving, and gorgeously written. I underlined so many striking sentences from the novel (including some of my favorites below)! I think fans of Elizabeth Gilbert’s THE CITY OF GIRLS are going to love this book as much as I did. #teamprh

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cat

    Harriet and Josie are twins growing up in the fading candlelight of their parents’ previous vaudeville life. Early in their parents’ relationship a horrible accident, somewhat the fault of their father Lenny, canceled all future plans of stardom for their mother, Maude. Maude is pretty, has a sultry and strong singing voice, but is permanently crippled and must use a cane to walk. As the years struggle by, Lenny gets a brainstorm and creates a harness for the little twins to wear, giving the ill Harriet and Josie are twins growing up in the fading candlelight of their parents’ previous vaudeville life. Early in their parents’ relationship a horrible accident, somewhat the fault of their father Lenny, canceled all future plans of stardom for their mother, Maude. Maude is pretty, has a sultry and strong singing voice, but is permanently crippled and must use a cane to walk. As the years struggle by, Lenny gets a brainstorm and creates a harness for the little twins to wear, giving the illusion that they’re Siamese. Wearing the harness is extremely painful; it cuts into their hip bone, their inner arm is crushed and has no blood flow, and Josie, even though she’s right-handed, must learn to do everything with her exposed left hand. They wear the harness all day and some nights, whenever there's a chance someone will see them. It’s the early 1900’s and Vaudeville is slowly losing popularity due to the “moving pictures”. The kids endure months of pure child abuse, strapped into the harness, not allowed to walk the streets independent of each other, hidden from sight whenever they’re home, not even allowed to stand at the window for fear their secret will be exposed. Finally, Josie has had enough. She breaks free in the most flamboyant way possible, putting an abrupt end to the charade. She then runs away to Hollywood and becomes the star she knew she could always be. Harriett is left behind to take care of her parents. The roles have reversed, she’s now the provider and they’re basically bitter and useless. Their uncle is a famous preacher, giving his sermons over the radio, a new concept of the time. When life gets too difficult, Maude always goes crawling back to him, asking for help. Once again, Harriet must become something she’s not in order to gain her uncle’s favor. The plot slows down in the last third, but the story is still engrossing. It’s a heartbreaking read at times, the child abuse is horrible and the kids’ lives are sheltered. The hollowness and vanity of Maude are revolting, and Lenny’s drinking is out of control. How the two girls choose to react to their exploitation is a study of human nature. Sincere thanks to Random House- The Dial Press for an ARC in exchange for my honest review. The publishing date is November 30, 2021.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Carmela Dutra

    The Sisters Sweet is a historical fiction novel by Elizabeth Weiss. Set in the time period of the early 1920s. The Sisters Sweet follows the story of twin sisters Harriet and Josie who are trained to by their parents to be Vaudeville starring Siamese Twins. Although not Siamese, twins Josie and Harriet have theatrical success tethered together singing and dancing, ultimately seeing their father’s dreams for them fulfilled and their mother’s financial needs achieved. As the children age and their The Sisters Sweet is a historical fiction novel by Elizabeth Weiss. Set in the time period of the early 1920s. The Sisters Sweet follows the story of twin sisters Harriet and Josie who are trained to by their parents to be Vaudeville starring Siamese Twins. Although not Siamese, twins Josie and Harriet have theatrical success tethered together singing and dancing, ultimately seeing their father’s dreams for them fulfilled and their mother’s financial needs achieved. As the children age and their individual personalities grow, the bonds holding the family together strain until Josie, cuts the harness holding the twins together, literally, at one memorable performance and sets out on her own to be the star she knew was her destiny. Josie cares nothing about revealing her family as frauds, nor does she notice that her departure left her sister without focus, as though a part of her was missing. The book is about the rise to fame, unfulfilled dreams, selfishness, dreams but it is also a coming of age story and how the sisters find their own agency in different ways. The novel had a fast beginning, well written, although the the flashbacks did little but confusing at times. The middle of the book lagged a bit for me and the end was super fast. Overall, there was a heaviness to this book that just left me feel saddened. It was very well written and I know that I am in the minority with as so many people have loved this book. Would I recommend this book to readers? Yes, depending on the reader and if they enjoy heavy family issues.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    THE SISTERS SWEET is a tale about twins forced into a Siamese Twins vaudeville act to support their family until one of them runs away to fame and fleeting fortune as a movie star. Unfortunately, the book is really about the family left behind and they aren’t all that interesting or likable as characters. While the book stretches for dramatic arc, I found I was ambivalent about the characters and their struggles to survive. I received my copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jill Meyer

    Every so often I find a novel so breathtaking THIS REVIEW IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Monika K

    3.75 Stars **Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. This was my first ARC and I enjoyed reading & reviewing it!** This is a historical fiction story about twin sisters who are trained to be a Vaudeville act by their stage parents in the Jazz Age. Harriet is a “goody goody” and Josie is the one with all the natural "It factor". It is a story of their rise to fame and beyond, but it is also a coming of age story and how the sisters find their own agency in different way 3.75 Stars **Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. This was my first ARC and I enjoyed reading & reviewing it!** This is a historical fiction story about twin sisters who are trained to be a Vaudeville act by their stage parents in the Jazz Age. Harriet is a “goody goody” and Josie is the one with all the natural "It factor". It is a story of their rise to fame and beyond, but it is also a coming of age story and how the sisters find their own agency in different ways. I am fascinated by the Turn of the century – 1900s into the bohemian 1920s time period – and how women found their way in an oppressive time when finding a good husband was their only acceptable option for living life. The book is great at describing all the change in pop culture within the movie industry and on the stage, and I loved the second-hand language between the twins. They are both alike and not alike which kept it fresh.and surprising. Weiss is telling the story through a current/past structure where you first learn about the Twin Sisters and then the parents backgrounds. The POV switches from 1st person to 3rd person and back again, which took some getting used to, but I think there are some very good turns of phrase and the way she reveals the big events slowly over the course of the book is interesting. The story structure reminded me of The Seven Husband of Evelyn Hugo or Malibu Rising, and if you’re a fan of those books you may enjoy this one. There is a heavy grief and loss element to this story, though. The Father is a delusional dreamer and the mother is controlling because of her own tragedy. The parents are using the kids for their own survival and to make up for their own mistakes. It’s definitely not fair and can be upsetting at times, but it is the Depression and there was a desperation during that time. The story itself is interesting and it did take a minute to get engrossed, but at around 30% I was invested. Also, I think the book was a tad too long and the ending came a bit too abruptly. I would have liked to read more at the end after so much build-up, but it did wrap up the story. Overall I think this is a great first novel and I’m interested to see what Weiss writes next.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ali Bunke

    I can appreciate how well written and research this story is. After her sisters death, Harriet tells their story in an interview recalling their start as a sister act. The story reveals how their ambitious parents presented them as performing Siamese twins and kept them hidden unless they were strapped together. But when Josie literally runs out in the middle of a show, Harriet’s life, that was spent as part of a duo, suddenly changes. Unfortunately, never connected with the characters or the pl I can appreciate how well written and research this story is. After her sisters death, Harriet tells their story in an interview recalling their start as a sister act. The story reveals how their ambitious parents presented them as performing Siamese twins and kept them hidden unless they were strapped together. But when Josie literally runs out in the middle of a show, Harriet’s life, that was spent as part of a duo, suddenly changes. Unfortunately, never connected with the characters or the plot. Learning the parents back story did not make me feel differently about them. I wanted to route for Harriet but I was not invested enough. I felt the overall story had a heavy feel. That being said, the writing is done well and I am sure other people will enjoy this book. Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for the arc. This is my honest review.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Debby*BabyDee

    "The Sisters Sweet" is a first time read by Elizabeth Weiss, new author to this reader. The story is about twin sisters, Harriet and Josephine and the world of vaudeville in which they live. The story focuses more on Harriet's perspective but I would have hoped it would have had more from Josephine. It also tells on one sister leaving their duo act to find her place and the other contemplating how to follow her dreams when one part of the sister act is gone. My expectations were quite high when "The Sisters Sweet" is a first time read by Elizabeth Weiss, new author to this reader. The story is about twin sisters, Harriet and Josephine and the world of vaudeville in which they live. The story focuses more on Harriet's perspective but I would have hoped it would have had more from Josephine. It also tells on one sister leaving their duo act to find her place and the other contemplating how to follow her dreams when one part of the sister act is gone. My expectations were quite high when I read the description for this book, however I had a hard time relating to the story and the characters. I expected more of the sisters than just the perspective solely from Harriet. There were too many details and I had a hard time finishing. Although there were parts that were good and I believe it was becoming interesting, it dropped off and left me bored at time. I think it could have been better developed with the characters and the plot. As the main characters are YA's, I guess this could be a coming of youth time of story but somehow missed its mark with concentrating on Harriett and not the sisters together. Thank you NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Random House, The Dial Press for this ARC in exchange for my fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    What a book. It's about Harriet. Harriet is a twin and when she is five years old, she is strapped into a harness with her sister Josie. Her parents take them touring around the country as a Siamese twin dancing and singing act. It's not a great life, but it's the only life that Harriet knows. Until she is 15. And then, in the middle of an act, Josie breaks free and runs away to Hollywood to become a successful star. Usually these stories would then follow Josie. But I loved that it followed Harr What a book. It's about Harriet. Harriet is a twin and when she is five years old, she is strapped into a harness with her sister Josie. Her parents take them touring around the country as a Siamese twin dancing and singing act. It's not a great life, but it's the only life that Harriet knows. Until she is 15. And then, in the middle of an act, Josie breaks free and runs away to Hollywood to become a successful star. Usually these stories would then follow Josie. But I loved that it followed Harriet. You would know that the family suffered, but you'd be wrapped up in Josie's story. I enjoyed watching the story. You learn how the family tries to start over. But they can't, there are so many memories. Harriet is learning who she is and what she wants. But just as she is starting to find her own way, her old life reaches out. Who does Harriet want to be? I thought this was great. It was thought provoking and kept my attention. Elizabeth did a great job. I can't wait to see what she writes next.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    No one is very interested in seeing this sister act, 2 little 5-year-olds singing and dancing in Vaudeville shows-- until Harriet and Josephine's dad makes a kind of brace to hold them together so tickets can be sold to see a conjoined twin act. Yikes! This novel presents some truly bad parenting choices. But the kids grow up. One of them is really into performing, the other not so much. One of them runs off- and you can't blame her- and becomes a silent film star. But the focus of the novel, sta No one is very interested in seeing this sister act, 2 little 5-year-olds singing and dancing in Vaudeville shows-- until Harriet and Josephine's dad makes a kind of brace to hold them together so tickets can be sold to see a conjoined twin act. Yikes! This novel presents some truly bad parenting choices. But the kids grow up. One of them is really into performing, the other not so much. One of them runs off- and you can't blame her- and becomes a silent film star. But the focus of the novel, stays with Harriet, the one who remains with her parents, trying to please them and trying to pretend she's perfectly sweet and agreeable and submissive to her rich uncle who helps to support the family once the conjoined twin act is over with. I thought this was kind of meh until pretty late in the book when I was genuinely moved by Harriet's friendship with Ruth and by her finally, finally deciding that her life belongs to her.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    I would almost rate this a 3.75 but it’s so close to being 4 stars for me. Truthfully, this story didn’t blow me away. It was hard to be interested at points, but it also really wasn’t a boring story. The relationships in this story left me angry and frustrated and Harriet’s parents were awful to her. My god, I don’t think I’ve ever seen two parents be so selfish about their own needs and not put their children first. I began to realize the point of this book being so bleak and dry at points, an I would almost rate this a 3.75 but it’s so close to being 4 stars for me. Truthfully, this story didn’t blow me away. It was hard to be interested at points, but it also really wasn’t a boring story. The relationships in this story left me angry and frustrated and Harriet’s parents were awful to her. My god, I don’t think I’ve ever seen two parents be so selfish about their own needs and not put their children first. I began to realize the point of this book being so bleak and dry at points, and the ending makes it very clear that people may find Harriet to be the boring twin and that’s because she had to be. No one ever asked her what she wanted. I don’t think the interview process of telling the story was really needed. It seemed like that part was trying to replicate what Evelyn Hugo did. I think it’s worth the read if you want a slower, fiction book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Louise Foerster

    An intricate exploration of sisterhood, loyalty, and ambition, THE SISTERS SWEET by Elizabeth Weiss is a wonderfully wrought story. Set in the early part of the 20th century, the story roves through farmland, vaudeville, and Hollywood from a perspective seldom seen: that of the ones who succeed and those who struggle. Throughout, Weiss shares how it feels to be connected and long to be separate along with swift, deft sketches of the influences and the companions through a tumultuous life. I rece An intricate exploration of sisterhood, loyalty, and ambition, THE SISTERS SWEET by Elizabeth Weiss is a wonderfully wrought story. Set in the early part of the 20th century, the story roves through farmland, vaudeville, and Hollywood from a perspective seldom seen: that of the ones who succeed and those who struggle. Throughout, Weiss shares how it feels to be connected and long to be separate along with swift, deft sketches of the influences and the companions through a tumultuous life. I received an early reader copy of this novel and this review is my honest, unbiased opinion.

  29. 4 out of 5

    smalltownbookmom

    An epic historical family drama spanning the early decades of the 20th century. This was a richly imagined debut about one family of entertainers and their individual journeys over the years to find happiness and fame and the ways this both brought them together and tore them apart. Perfect for fans of Elizabeth Gilbert's City of girls. Excellent on audio narrated by Barrie Kreinik. I did find the story drawn out a bit in places but overall this was a very solid story! Much thanks to NetGalley a An epic historical family drama spanning the early decades of the 20th century. This was a richly imagined debut about one family of entertainers and their individual journeys over the years to find happiness and fame and the ways this both brought them together and tore them apart. Perfect for fans of Elizabeth Gilbert's City of girls. Excellent on audio narrated by Barrie Kreinik. I did find the story drawn out a bit in places but overall this was a very solid story! Much thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my advance review copy!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    I loved the premise of the vaudeville twins that go their separate ways, however, the story only followed one twin and how the absence of her sister cast a shadow on her life. I would have liked the story to have also followed her sister. Although the novel dragged a bit at times, I liked the portrait of the times - turn of the century up through the 1930s. It's unfortunate that in the opening pages of the novel we learn the twins are estranged, that would have been more of a surprise had the au I loved the premise of the vaudeville twins that go their separate ways, however, the story only followed one twin and how the absence of her sister cast a shadow on her life. I would have liked the story to have also followed her sister. Although the novel dragged a bit at times, I liked the portrait of the times - turn of the century up through the 1930s. It's unfortunate that in the opening pages of the novel we learn the twins are estranged, that would have been more of a surprise had the author not chosen to tell the story in flashback form.

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