Thursday, December 10, 2015

G648 Book Review of The Sparrow Sisters by Ellen Herrick

Name of Book: The Sparrow Sisters

Author: Ellen Herrick

ISBN: 978-0-06-238634-2

Publisher: William Morrow

Type of book: New England state, 2000s, witchhunt, history, herbal medicine versus conventional medicine, love story, small town, nature, guilt,

Year it was published: 2015


With echoes of the alchemy of Practical Magic, the lushness of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, and the darkly joyful wickedness of the Witches of East End, Ellen Herrick’s debut novel spins an enchanting love story about a place where magic whispers just beneath the surface and almost anything is possible, if you aren’t afraid to listen

The Sparrow sisters are as tightly woven into the seaside New England town of Granite Point as the wild sweet peas that climb the stone walls along the harbor. Sorrel, Nettie and Patience are as colorful as the beach plums on the dunes and as mysterious as the fog that rolls into town at dusk.

Patience is the town healer and when a new doctor settles into Granite Point he brings with him a mystery so compelling that Patience is drawn to love him, even as she struggles to mend him. But when Patience Sparrow’s herbs and tinctures are believed to be implicated in a local tragedy, Granite Point is consumed by a long-buried fear—and its three hundred year old history resurfaces as a modern day witch-hunt threatens. The plants and flowers, fruit trees and high hedges begin to wither and die, and the entire town begins to fail; fishermen return to the harbor empty-handed, and blight descends on the old elms that line the lanes.

It seems as if Patience and her town are lost until the women of Granite Point band together to save the Sparrow. As they gather, drawing strength from each other, will they be able to turn the tide and return life to Granite Point?

The Sparrow Sisters is a beautiful, haunting, and thoroughly mesmerizing novel that will capture your imagination.


The main characters are Patience Sparrow and the newcomer, Dr, Henry Carlyle. Patience is best described as stubborn, confident and someone who wants people to depend on her for different cures for their maladies. Dr. Henry Carlyle is a "traditional" doctor who has great disdain for the Sparrow Sisters' remedies and often butts heads with the sisters, with Patience in particular, about how conventional medicine is far better than the herbs she uses. Another character is the little autistic boy that seems to be obsessed with Patience's nursery, then there are her two older sisters who don't have her gift, but often have her back and are hoping for their own happy endings. There are townsfolk as well, but I feel they didn't play a big role.


No idea what the theme should have been


The story is in third person narrative from Patience's point of view as well as a few other characters. I didn't understand how the last half of the book connected to the first half of the book. Basically the first half of the book is about the arrival of Dr. Henry Carlyle and how he began to affect the sisters' lives, in particularly that of Patience Sparrow who disagrees with him about the conventional versus natural medicine, and who also tries to open him up to natural medicine. During the second half of the story, a tragic event occured that shook up the town and caused them to become suspicious of the Sparrow sisters and their motives. There is also the effect that the accusation had on the sisters and the town. I really feel that they didn't connect, and I also feel that the story ran a bit too long.

Author Information:
(From TLC)

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About Ellen Herrick

Ellen Herrick was a publishing professional in New York City until she and her husband moved to London for a brief stint; they returned nearly twenty years later with three children (her own, it must be said). She now divides her time between Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a small town on Cape Cod very much like Granite Point.
Find out more about Ellen at her website and connect with her on Facebook andTwitter.


I've read magical realism books previously, and for the most part I've enjoyed a lot of them. In beginning I thought I would like The Sparrow Sisters because of the language that was used to build the forbidding atmosphere, as well as the quirky and interesting characters, but, alas, I found myself not liking or enjoying the book. I think some of the issues that I mainly had with the story is that the chapters are too long in a lot of cases which makes it difficult to find a resting place for those who want to finish an entire chapter. Also, towards the end, I was very confused and didn't really understand how the Sparrow sisters affected the whole town weather and nature wise.

This is a late review for TLC Book Tours

Ellen’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, September 1st: Raven Haired Girl
Wednesday, September 2nd: Booksie’s Blog
Friday, September 4th: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books
Monday, September 7th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, September 10th: Books Without Any Pictures
Thursday, September 10th: 5 Minutes for Books
Friday, September 11th: Broken Teepee
Monday, September 14th: From the TBR Pile
Thursday, September 17th: Snowdrop Dreams of Books
Friday, September 18th: Doing Dewey
3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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