Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (April 28, 2020)
Praise for THE SWEENEY SISTERS
“This is a big-hearted belly-laugh of a book, told with wit and poignancy. Family secrets, laughter and tears, shocking reveals, and an uplifting ending make this a story to savor–and share.” —Susan Wiggs, New York Times bestselling author of The Oysterville Sewing Circle
“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
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.
Lian Dolanis a writer and talker. She’s the author of two Los Angeles Times best-selling novels, Helen of Pasadenaand Elizabeth the First Wifepublished by Prospect Park Books. Her next novel, The Sweeney Sisters, will be published in 2020 by William Morrow. She’s a regular humor columnist for Pasadena Magazine and has previously written monthly columns for O, The Oprah Magazine and Working Mother Magazine. She’s also written for TV, radio and websites.
Lian is the producer and host of Satellite Sisters, the award-winning talk show she created with her four real sisters. On Satellite Sisters, she’s interviewed everyone from Nora Ephron to Madeleine Albright to Big Bird. Satellite Sisters began life as a syndicated radio show and is now a top-rated podcast for women. The recent book by the Satellite Sisters, You’re the Best: A Celebration of Friendship, is popular with book clubs.A popular speaker who combines humor and heart, Lian has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Sunday Morning and The Today Show and many local TV stations. She’s been a featured speaker at the LA Times Festival of Books, the Santa Barbara Celebrity Authors Lunch, the Literary Guild of Orange County Festival of Women Authors and dozens of other events at libraries, book stores, schools and women’s organizations across the country. In 2020, she’ll be on the faculty of the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop.Lian graduated from Pomona College with a degree in Classics. She lives in Pasadena, California with her husband, two sons and a big German shepherd.
- What is on your nightstand?
Remain in Love by Chris Frantz. I’m a huge Talking Heads fan and Tina Weymouth was my girl crush in college. I can’t wait to read this memoir of music, life and love. Also, digging into Well-Behaved Indian Women by Saumya Dave, a rich, layered and contemporary novel of three generations of Indian women and their lives, loves, and secret desires. It’s wonderful.
- What author would you totally fan?
Can I say the brilliant Maeve Binchy, the late Irish writer? She’s gone, but I’m still a big fan. I loved everything about her books—the character development, the story arcs, the humor and humanity. She’s an inspiration. I’m sorry that I never got to see her speak and I would have really been a mess if I’d met her in person. Miss you, Maeve.
- What makes you cringe?
Men making jokes about women’s shopping habits. Women earn money, they can spend it. Please stop.
- Do you obsessively plot out each point or just go with the flow?
I never met an outline I didn’t love. I’d outline To Do lists if it was allowed. For sure, I’m a plotter. Scene-by-scene note cards pinned to a board in my office.
- Is there a word you love to use?