Thoughts: Literary Sisters

Last year,  Angie of Angieville made a post called Literary Sisters which ispired me to make my own list of favourite literary sisters. I first posted it on listography, but I thought it would be nice to share here as well, now that I have a book blog of my own.

I do not have any sister myself and have always been a bit fascinated by the realtionship of sisters in books, sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes very complicated, but almost always fascinating. Here are some of my favourites.

The Penderwick sisters: Rosalind, Skye, Jane & Batty

First I must say, that I am absolutely in love with The Penderwicks books by Jeanne Birdsall. The third one is coming out this summer and it is one of my most awaited book of the year. They are joyous and touching and fun middle-grade books with plenty of adventures, fun, and endearing characters.

What I love about the Penderwicks sisters is that they are complicated little girls that avoid clichés and refuse to be put in little boxes. For example, Jane is the artist, she is dramatic and loves to write stories, which normally would mean that she would hate science and sports or something along those lines, as the clichés go, but no, she is a mean soccer player as well. They are all different from each other but totally dedicated to each other as well. They each have their own personality and still work well as a unit, and what fun it is to see them grow and change.

The March sisters: Jo, Amy, Beth & Meg

To be honest I probably fell in love with them because of the movie first, as it was one of my favourite when I was younger and still is, but my love for them didn't decrease once I got to the book. Jo and Beth, especially, I've always loved more than the others. I love how they balance each other, being complete opposites, and that it's these differences between them that strengthens their bond. Jo is loved by so many for her grand spirit and her boldness and her desire to elevate herself above her stature as a women in times when it was not easy and not well seen (and I would not have her marry a boring professor at the end). But I've always loved Beth's quietness and silent strenght, her soft kindness and desire for a simple life at home surrounded by her loved ones. I find that there is a sort of perfect middle ground between Jo and Beth and this is why I love them so much. Of course I also really like Meg and Amy and the story wouldn't be the same withtout them, but Jo and Beth have a special place in my heart.

The Blackwood sisters: Merricat & Constance

We Have Always Lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson is one of my favourite book and it will get its own post one day, as just a little blurb would not be nearly enough to express my love for this it and the two sisters at the center of the story.

Merricat is the narrator (and a most perfect example of what is called unreliable-narrator) and such a complex character. She is full of strange little quirks like burrying things in the ground and believing in their intrinsinc magical power or believing that by affecting something that once belonged to somebody, she will affect that person too, or that if she repeats a word a certain number of times, the desired effect will happen. But even more interesting is her relationship with her sister Constance. The both of them live alone in an old castle on an estate that almost nobody visits, ostrasized by the villagers who believe Constance killed all the members of her family except for Merricat and her uncle. It would be hard to describe all the subtulties of their relationship without giving away too much of the book, but I can say that they are not only one of my favourite literary sisters, they are also some of my favourite characters of all time.

Other favourites:
  • The Owens sisters: Sally & Gillian (from Practical Magic, by Alice Hoffman)
  • The Beaudelaire sisters: Violet & Sunny (from A Series of Unfortunate Events, by Lemony Snicket)
  • The Mortmain sisters: Cassandra & Rose (from I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith)
  • The Miller sisters: Charlotte & Rosie (from A Curse Dark as Gold, by Elizabeth C. Bunce)
  • The Grimm sisters: Sabrina & Daphne (from The Sisters Grimm series, by Michael Buckley)

What about you? Do you have favourite literary sisters?


  1. Ah, the Penderwicks! I do love them so! As well as the March sisters and Merricat and Constance. Excellent choices!

    I also love "The Exiles". They are a rather absurd group of sisters but they make me laugh. And I love the Fossil sisters from Ballet Shoes. (Even though they are not related biologically, they still count, right?)
    Oh! Probably my absolute favourite literary sisters would be Beezus and Ramona because me and my older sister are scarily like them. (Or at least we used to be when we were younger. And yes, I was Ramona the pest. :P)

  2. @Melee

    Oh, I will look up The Exiles, I've never heard of them.
    I will make a post about Sisters of the Heart. You know, girls that are sisters even though they are not related by blood, friends and close relations. The Fossil sisters would totally fall in this category (my favourite is Petrova). I've never read Beezus and Ramona, but I've heard so many great things about the books.

  3. Oh I adore the sisters in 'Little Women' and in 'We Have Always Lived in the Castle'. I'm an only child so I have always wished for a sister.

    I was just looking at the Penderwick books the other day, I must add them all to my reading list!

    Some of my other favourites are Elinor and Marianne Dashwood from 'Sense and Sensibility' (although I admit to liking the BBC adaptation much more than the book...) and the Lisbon sisters from 'The Virgin Suicides' ♥

  4. I too adore the Little Women movie and would go as far as to say I like it better than the book (gasp!) So many lines in that movie stick out to me especially "I could never love anyone more than I love my sisters."