Twins, Kate (Daisy) and Violet, are psychic. One of them becomes a wife and mother and denies her ability. The other embraces it and actually earns a living by using her “senses” as a medium. When Violet, and later, Kate become convinced that a tragic earthquake will strike the city of St. Louis, a long simmering estrangement comes to a head.
Sittenfeld has written an engrossing tale that occasionally bogs down in minutia, but ultimately achieves its goal. The ending is unexpected and wrenching. Those who want a “quick read” should find another book. This one will take a while but will appeal to those who are looking for a love story, a coming of age novel or a family story. Does it end happily ever after – you will just have to read it for yourself.
Book groups will find many topics to discuss – distant (and controlling) moms, ESP, fidelity, relationships between sisters, male-female friendship, abortion, premarital and extramarital sex, mothering styles, divorce, Black-White relationships and class distinctions among others.