Inspired by Pasternak’s famous poem, My Sister Life, F.D. Reeve’s second novel, explores the complex relationship between two sisters, Christine and Jan, who were orphaned at birth and separated. The novel begins with Christine, a scholarly woman who has a sensual curiosity about the world. She lives in Paris with her husband Mark, a successful venture capitalist, and their young son Nicholas. Jan, a recovering substance abuser, lives in London with her musician husband, Tom. Each sister seems to have embraced the polar opposite of the other’s life, with Christine and her tastes in fine wine, men and music, and Jan living at the lower edges of society, at times barely able to get by. The novel is set in Paris, London, Washington, New York and the Caribbean, as it follows each sister on her own unique journey through the world, often pierced by love affair, tragedy and drama, until one day, they find themselves stepping into one another’s shoes.
While the novel possesses a dramatic flair and a large, colorful cast of characters, it is often confusing as it jumps back and forth from character to character and sister to sister. Nevertheless, the characters speak with intelligence and wit as we travel around the world following their lives.