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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Language of Sisters

ISBN: 9780758295101

Publisher: Kensington

Publication Date: 8/30/2016

Format: Paperback

My Rating: 4 Stars From acclaimed author Cathy Lamb comes a warm and thoughtful novel about the secrets that can break or unite a family—and the voices that resonate throughout our lives... Toni Kozlovsky can't explain how she knows exactly what her sisters are feeling—only that the connection seems to happen out of the blue, just when they need it most. Since Toni, Valerie, and Ellie were little girls growing up in Communist Russia, their parents have insisted it's simply further proof that the Kozlovskys are special and different. Now a crime and justice reporter, Toni lives on a yellow tugboat on Oregon's Willamette River. As far as her parents are concerned, the pain of their old life and their dangerous escape should remain buried in the Moscow they left behind, as should the mysterious past of their adopted brother, Dmitry. But lately, Toni's talent for putting on a smile isn't enough to keep memories at bay. Valerie, a prosecuting attorney, wages constant war against the wrongs she could do nothing about as a child. Youngest sister Ellie is engaged to marry an Italian, breaking her mother's heart in the process. Toni fears she's about to lose her home, while the hard edged DEA agent down the dock keeps trying to break through her reserve. Meanwhile, beneath the culture clashes and endearing quirks within her huge, noisy, loving family are deeper secrets that Toni has sworn to keep—even from the one person she longs to help most. As poignant as it is humorous, The Language of Sisters explores the echoes of the past that can cling to the present—and how love, laughter, and family can rescue us time and again.

My Review

A special thank you to Kensington and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. What a beautiful cover! Cathy Lamb renders another heartfelt story of family and secrets -THE LANGUAGE OF SISTERS. An engrossing family saga linked by blood, marriage, and long-held secrets and special sisterly bonds. Meet the Kozlovskys. A huge loving family. They had survived. They have endured much hardship in Moscow. Their father barely so, their mother only through endless grit and determination-- but they are here in Oregon-a noisy family who does not talk about what happened back in Russia, twenty-five years ago. It is best to forget. Their parents have told them many times. The things they hide. After all, they are Americans now. Could they cover their past? Toni Kozlovsky, (Antonia) the narrator lives on a dock in a marina in Oregon with other people who live on houseboats. She has a three story yellow tugboat with red rails and trim and a red door. She wanted to live on the water and a friend of her fathers retired and moved to Miami and her she was. She renovated and rented a slip on the dock and settled in her thousand square feet of space. She needs her space from things going on in her life. She also keeps things in her other side of the house (a shelter with a door) which locks away her past.

She is presently a crime and justice reporter. Valerie an attorney, and Ellie is engaged to an Italian. Their parents, who own "Svetlana's Kitchen" and a group of wonderful aunts, uncles and lots of cousins. Three sisters: Toni, Valerie, and Ellie grew up in Communist Russia. The girls have a special gift of being able to hear each other in their heads. (A gift from their mother). It may be rare, and it comes in emotionally intense times, when they are worried, scared, in danger, falling apart, or conversely when something perfect happens to all of them. Some say they are making it up and only think they each other since they are sisters, best friends, and are in tune with each other. They know the truth. From the Sabonis line, like genes, through their widow’s peaks. From the Romanovs, to Lenin, Stalin, Germany’s invasion, the siege of Leningrad, the Cold War, they have heard one another. “Passed from mother to daughter. Father to son. Sisters and brothers, we hear each other. It’s a gift. It’s a curse.” American Russians. They had lost it all. They came here worked hard, stayed sane, and they are better people for their experience. They fight, love, drink, and laugh. A secret keeper. For twenty-five years. Can she unburden herself? From quirky characters, good food, wine, wit, fears, laughter, secrets, siblings, friends, a blue heron, Daisy (loved her), a DEA agent, a restaurant, and Nick. There is also the adopted brother, Dmitry- he came to live with them in Moscow. They have shared secrets and joys and it’s the language of brothers. and the language of sisters. What a beautifully written story told with humor and compassion! You will cry and laugh. Loved the column titled “Living on a Tugboat: and the love connection. A "must read" for lovers of family sagas. An ideal choice for book clubs and group discussions (guide included).

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About the Author

Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb was born in Newport Beach, California. As a child, she mastered the art of skateboarding, catching butterflies in bottles, and riding her bike with no hands. When she was 10, her parents moved her, two sisters, a brother, and two poorly behaved dogs to Oregon before she could fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a surfer bum. She then embarked on her notable academic career where she earned good grades now and then, spent a great deal of time daydreaming, ran wild with a number of friends, and landed on the newspaper staff in high school. When she saw her byline above an article about people making out in the hallways of the high school, she knew she had found her true calling. After two years of partying at the University of Oregon, she settled down for the next three years and earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education, and became a fourth grade teacher. It was difficult for her to become proper and conservative but she threw out her red cowboy boots and persevered. She had no choice. She had to eat, and health insurance is expensive. Read More






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