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Aren't We Sisters? by Patricia Ferguson

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

Longlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2015.

If you are a fan of Ferguson’s last book, The Midwife’s Daughter, you will recognise some characters but if you haven’t read it, it matters not. This surprising tale centres on three women, a midwife, a genteel lady trying to hang on to her home and a silent movie film star. They all have secrets, some old, some present, but this is the 1930s and full of wonderful period detail. We have pornographic photos, obstetrics, gynaecology, feminism, silent films, friendship and murder, and throughout runs a theme of sisters. It is lovely.

If you like Patricia Ferguson you might also like to read books by Liza Klaussmann, Andrea Levy and Sadie Jones.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst


Aren't We Sisters? by Patricia Ferguson

Longlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2015.

1933, and the world is still changing, even in a quiet corner of Cornwall...If there's one thing Lettie Quick believes in, it's contraception. Trained by 'the Madam', Marie Stopes herself, Lettie teaches married women about contraception. Her job is technically legal, but the things that the typed, unsigned letters that arrive at Lettie's office ask her to do certainly aren't. Norah Thornby can't even utter the phrase 'family planning' without blushing. She still lives on the square in Silkhampton, but her mother's death and mounting debts have forced her to do the unthinkable and take on a lodger, one Lettie Quick. No-one is supposed to know it, but Rae Grainger is living in isolation in a large house by a lake. Her glittering film career isn't finished, she's simply waiting a few more weeks until others - paid, professional others - resolve her problem, leaving her to forget the whole ghastly business.


The writing is so good: witty, eloquent, vivid. It's a very original, sparkling novel of crime and intrigue and the many layers of deception that may mask a life -- Helen Dunmore

About the Author

Patricia Ferguson's first book, Family Myths and Legends, won the Betty Trask, David Higham and Somerset Maugham awards. Her most recent books, It So Happens and Peripheral Vision were both longlisted for the Orange Prize. She lives in Bristol.

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Book Info

Publication date

3rd July 2014


Patricia Ferguson

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Penguin Books Ltd


448 pages


Literary Fiction
All Shortlists and Winners
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Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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