The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen – Book Review

The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen
Published by Crown Publishers, an imprint of Random House

Twiss and Milly may not have much, but they have one another. These days even their business of tending birds has mostly fallen by the wayside, and when people do bring birds for them to heal, they often cannot even manage to save the creatures. It hadn’t always been that way, just the two sisters on their own. At one point,  they were part of a family, and Milly still believed she would one day marry and have children. It was the summer of 1947 that changed everything. In 1947, Milly was prim and Twiss was wild, but they were best friends, until their cousin showed up for the summer. Bett was older and endlessly fascinating to Twiss, and her presence would shatter their already fragile world.

The Bird Sisters is lovely and charming story. It takes place in rural Wisconsin, in a post-war world that seems to have been oddly untouched by World War II, giving the place an oddly innocent and naive feel. The story was well set up, alternating in each chapter between present day and 1947. While this constant switching did occasionally break up the flow of the story and keep me from becoming fully engrossed, the consistency of the switching did help, because the reader is never forced to guess from chapter to chapter which time period the story is in, it is simply whichever one the previous chapter was not in. This kept me from being pulled out of the story more than I already was with the switching of time periods.

Lovely and charming as The Bird Sisters was, something about it didn’t completely work for me. I admired Rasmussen’s writing, as well as the world and characters she created, but I was never fully engrossed in the story. It simply failed to captivate me, although it was an enjoyable read.

Take a look at The Bird Sisters, look at the storyline, go to a local physical bookstore, pick it up, read a couple of sample chapters. If you like what you see, rest assured that the same quality remains throughout the book and give it a try. Just because it wasn’t for me, doesn’t mean it isn’t for you.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Publisher.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

18 comments to The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen – Book Review

  • I am still very curious about this book as I have been to Spring Green, Wisconsin many times. I’m glad you enjoyed it even though you were not captivated with it. I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for the honest review!

  • Sorry this one didn’t captivate you. I’m still looking forward to it.

  • Thank you so much for taking the time to read the book, Jen! I hope you are having a lovely morning :)

  • This book worked better for me than it did for you, but I can understand your difficulties with it. Thanks for the honest review!

  • Kay

    I’m looking forward to this one. I actually like books that go back and forth through time, but I know that’s not a plot device that is universally loved. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :-)

    • I generally don’t mind that device, but either I just didn’t connect with the characters or I needed longer in each time period before switching.

      • anonymous

        I don’t want to leave my name here, but I wanted to let you know that I agree with your review of the Bird Sisters. I could not even finish the book and I feel terrible about it. I have thought about it and I believe the reason why, is because I don’t think that the characters were developed enough. I like to be able to feel the characters – so much that if I walked into a room filled with people, I would recognize them in a heartbeat. I didn’t feel that with Twiss and Milly. In fact, I am not even sure which character was the main character… as neither of their voices rang strong.

  • I am looking forward to giving this one a try…. I think even the title is beautiful! :) Have a super week!

  • That’s too bad this didn’t work better for you. It does still sound good, though.

  • I’m sorry it didn’t work, I don’t mind quick switches so I hope it works better for me, I’m waiting for it right now.

  • The going back and forth can be tricky, especially if one of the storylines is more compelling than the other. It has both worked for me and not. I’m still interested in this book…will reserve judgement for now.

  • Amy

    I am interested in reading this book because I like the plot and I’ve read very good things about the prose style and the characters. Books don’t click with everyone who reads them which is fine. Thanks for a good and honest review, Jen.

  • I’ve seen lots of buzz about this book, but didn’t know what it was about. Knowing its set in Wisconsin makes me want to give it a shot.

  • I can’t wait for my book shopping trip this weekend. Jim and the kids are leaving on Thursday afternoon. I’m getting my hair cut on Saturday and am heading over to B&N after that and will relish the time in the store. This is at the top of my must-buy list!!

  • I’m intrigued by this one. I wasn’t interested at all until I saw the cover and fell in love with it. From your review, it sounds like I would like the parts that take place in the past much better than the present, but I have to admit that I’m very turned off by the name Twiss. There’s something about novels where the characters have odd names that really bugs me.

    • That really bugs me too, unless it is clear why the character would have that name/nickname. There was one novel that was totally ruined for me by a character named Echo, there was no backstory or anything that explained the name. I’m glad I’m not the only one with this issue, most people look at me like I’m crazy. Maybe it is because we have such SUPER common names?
      All that being said, though, the name Twiss didn’t really bother me here, it sort of seemed to fit.

  • anonymous

    I know which story you are talking about with the character’s name, Echo. The Language of the Trees. I always thought that was indicative of the times. Kind of a 60s hippy-ish thing to name your kids names like Echo, Sunshine, Moonbeam… you get the picture. And Echo was a representative of that culture to the core. While I didn’t love the Bird Sisters, I did love the Language of the Trees.