In her third novel, prize-winning New England writer Julia Glass admits to getting autobiographical with a story of unresolved sibling rivalry. Sisters Louisa and Clem Jardine's lives are intertwined "like a double helix, two souls coiling round a common axis, joined yet never touching."
Louisa, the eldest, is clever, studious and cautious; Clem is an impetuous hair-tossing sort who works in the wilderness saving grizzly bears. In a novel of alternating voices, Louisa's proves the stronger.
Her jealousy, especially of Clem's busy love life, makes for nuanced drama. Pregnancy, cancer and failed marriages bring the two sisters together and tear them apart.
After dividing up an aunt's estate, Clem concludes that sisters who aren't best friends "make particularly vicious enemies."