The Sisters' Song

The Sisters Song As children Ida loves looking after her younger sister Nora but when their beloved father dies in everything changes The two girls move in with their grandmother who is particularly encouragi

  • Title: The Sisters' Song
  • Author: Louise Allan
  • ISBN: 9781760296315
  • Page: 326
  • Format: Paperback
  • As children, Ida loves looking after her younger sister, Nora, but when their beloved father dies in 1927, everything changes The two girls move in with their grandmother who is particularly encouraging of Nora s musical talent Nora eventually follows her dream of a brilliant musical career, while Ida takes a job as a nanny and their lives become quite separate.The two sAs children, Ida loves looking after her younger sister, Nora, but when their beloved father dies in 1927, everything changes The two girls move in with their grandmother who is particularly encouraging of Nora s musical talent Nora eventually follows her dream of a brilliant musical career, while Ida takes a job as a nanny and their lives become quite separate.The two sisters are reunited as Nora s life takes an unwelcome direction and she finds herself, embittered and resentful, isolated in the Tasmanian bush with a husband and children Ida s longs for a family and when she marries Len, a reliable and good man, she hopes to soon become a mother Over time, it becomes clear that this is never likely to happen In Ida s eyes, Nora possesses everything in life that could possibly matter yet she values none of it.Set in rural Tasmania over a span of seventy years, the strengths and flaws of motherhood are revealed through the mercurial relationship of these two very different sisters, Ida and Nora The Sisters Song speaks of dreams, children and family, all entwined with a musical thread that binds them together.

    One thought on “The Sisters' Song”

    1. It was 1927 in a sleepy country town in Tasmania, and sisters Ida and Nora were completely different - Ida was the mischievous one or the "bad girl" while Nora did everything that was asked of her, even as a small child. Ida was the eldest and cared for Nora, loved her and cuddled her when she was upset. Their family life was happy - Mum, Dad and the two girls. But then their father died and their mother didn't cope - life as the girls knew it changed dramatically.The girls went to live with the [...]

    2. *mrsbbookreviews.wordpressA true labour of love and years in the making, the assured debut novel from Louise Allan, The Sisters’ Song, is a commanding tale set in the beautiful surrounds of Tasmania. The Sisters’ Song carefully and comprehensively chronicles the lives of Ida and Nora, who are sisters yet disparate individuals. Louise Allan is a cultivated voice to emerge in the Australian fiction field with her pensive historical fiction offering. The emotional pull of The Sisters’ Song is [...]

    3. Ok, it's taken a day since I finished reading this, but I think I have my feelings and thoughts under control now. Louise Allan's debut novel affected me so deeply, at first as a reader, with tears streaming down my face from chapter three, wetting the pages, afraid of ruining the type. Then, as a writer -- feelings which I'm still trying to cope with, as my writing seems so inadequate compared with Louise's. She has said before that her language is simple, but the language of this story of two [...]

    4. I haven't felt so affected by a book in such a long time. The relationship between the sisters is complicated, tricky, difficult, sad but ultimately beautiful and I know Nora and Ida will stay with me for a long time. There really is nothing better than a book that makes you think about life and love and the things that matter. I'm lucky enough to be launching the book soon and I truly can't wait to send it out into the world with all my best wishes. Highly recommended.

    5. Themes of motherhood and family obligation play out against a background of musical passion and thwarted dreams in this exquisite debut novel by Western Australian author, Louise Allan. The Sisters’ Song follows the lives of two sisters from childhood through to their twilight years, both of them living lives vastly different to what they had ever hoped for.The Sisters’ Song is a character driven narrative, told exclusively from the perspective of Ida, the elder sister. It’s testimony to t [...]

    6. The Sister’s Song (Allen & Unwin Books 2018), the debut novel for Louise Allan, is an historical fiction tale about the strength of family, the friendship of sisters, and the dichotomy of parenthood (and more particularly, motherhood) – what we gain and what we sacrifice. Opening in the early 1920’s and spanning the next 70 years, the story introduces us to sisters Ida and Nora, very different in character and disposition, but alike in that neither gets the life they desire. Their fath [...]

    7. Completely heartbreaking, but so beautifully written. I was immersed in Ida and Nora’s world so thoroughly and could feel the unfairness of life’s journey for them both. I particularly enjoyed the fullness of the story. Every character was written with a uniqueness that made them real and each of their stories, troubles and achievements were considered. Nothing felt unfinished and in the end, the most beautiful thing of this book is how closely it resembles the lives of ordinary people.This [...]

    8. Family relationships can be complicated at the best of times, but the death of a beloved husband and father plummets Alice, a young wife and mother, into a deep depression that has painful consequences for her daughters, Ida and Nora. History repeats when Nora inadvertently becomes a mother herself. No longer able to pursue her dream of singing professionally, Nora becomes miserable and resentful of her new life, and relies on Ida to help raise her children. Ida, on the other hand, wants childre [...]

    9. Slight disclaimer as Louise is a friend and fellow doctor-turned-writer but bravo Louise! It’s a beautiful story essentially about families, centered around the relationship over a lifetime of two sisters. Beautiful historical details show depth of research and a lovely setting in Tasmania. It made me cry, which shows how convincing and memorable the characters were. Great read!

    10. A heartfelt, tear jerker of a read. Louise Alan has written from the depth of her heart with this one and put so much into this story that it really tugged on all my emotions. Nora and Ide were such beautiful characters who were surrounded by strong characters. But my overall favourite was Len. He was Ide's rock everytime she needed him and his love for her never wavered.

    11. Disclaimer: I first read this book in one of its revisions about three years ago, after becoming online writing friends with the author. I bought my copy of the book last week very proudly in paperback at a bookstore. I'm also mentioned in the acknowledgements and I'm very proud to be there! I truly think this is the debut book of an author who will become very well loved across Australia, and that this story of two sisters will travel much further across the world than 1920s-1980s Tasmania.This [...]

    12. A beautifully moving story of family and friendship. Of dreams lost and dreams found. This follows two sisters Ida and Nora from childhood to adulthood, through heartbreak and love, joy and turbulent times. Set in Tasmania in 1926 it tells of a time when women weren't always encouraged to follow their dreams. Ida and Nora's mother is a hard woman who I didn't much care for at all, though I could knew her hard character came from her own lost dreams. The story follows these two sister through to [...]

    13. Disclaimer: I beta read this book two years before publication and the writer is a good friend. This review is my honest response to her final work.This book has been years in the making but what a triumph of determination it is. It's heartfelt and relatable in terms of the often challenging relationships we have with loved ones; it's poignant and yet complex; it is wrenching but there are glimmers of hope and light throughout. Themes of sibling rivalry, lost dreams, mother-daughter relationship [...]

    14. What a delightful but melancholy story. Following the lives of two sisters Ida and Nora from their childhood until their ageing years we share their joys and sorrows and that of their families. Neither of their destinies is what they hoped for and life is never really fair. Despite the sadness it was still an enjoyable novel to read. Set in the beautiful countryside of Tasmania it has a charming air about it; with the small towns, the rugged mountains and rough terrain with small communities. It [...]

    15. I have just finished reading The Sisters' Song by Louise Allan and I simply had to tell someone about how good this book is.Two sisters, two very different young women, bound together by loss, regret, and love.This story is told from the perspective of Ida, the elder of the two sisters, and opens with a seven year old girl dealing with the loss of her beloved father in rural Tasmania in 1926 and the family upheaval such a loss causes. Right from the start Ida is a character you can't help fallin [...]

    16. 4.5 starsThe Sisters’ Song by Louise Allan is a heartbreaking tale centred around two sisters, Ida and Nora.Although the writing is exquisite and the description of the Tasmanian bush and the township of Ben Craeg is stunning the story is depressing and left me sobbing and blurry eyed at the end of the book. Most of the characters were pretty darn selfish and the constant negative attitudes had me just about pulling my hair out. Nora’s actions were inexcusable, she had a loving sister that w [...]

    17. The Sisters' Song is an assured debut from Louise Allan. Tracing the relationship from childhood to late middle age, Allan reveals a complex, fraught relationship between older sister Ida and her gifted younger sister Nora.Each has something the other wants. Ida longs for a family but is unable to carry babies to full term. Nora wants nothing more than pursue a career as a singer, beyond the narrow confines of life in rural Tasmania to Covent Garden and the great stages of the world. Instead Nor [...]

    18. Oh my goodness, what a book this was!! A sweeping family saga about two sisters who each have their own dreams, one to be a singer and one to be a mother - and neither of them will realise their wishes.Nora and Ida are close sisters and since their father passed away they live with their mother and grandmother. Their mother is a very negative person and believes that Nora is being silly wanting to pursue a musical career, fortunately Nora's grandmother sees her talent and encourages her to pursu [...]

    19. You should absolutely put The Sisters’ Song on your ‘to be read’ list this summer if you like Australian historical fiction – it’s beautiful and uplifting; devastating and with plenty of truths about life, motherhood and the bond between sisters.The Sisters’ Song is a story about the cruelty of women being at the mercy of their own bodies, and the expectations of a society which believed a woman’s place – and her happiness – was in the home.By tracing the lives of Ida and Nora, [...]

    20. I won an ARC in a First Reads giveaway, so thanks to and the publisher, Allen & Unwin. I really enjoyed this. Although it was heart-breaking - I don't know how someone could survive what Ida went through and keep her sense of humour intact. It certainly addressed some hot topics including mental health.It was set in Launceston, Tasmania, although I thought at first that the Ben Craeg described in the beginning was a Scottish mountain. I would happily read any further books by Louise Allan. [...]

    21. Loved loved this novel from the very first chapter. I was completely immersed in the story of two sisters Ida and Nora from young girls to old women. What a heartbreaking but captivating story – a tale of sisters, love, family, heartbreak, loss and grief. The setting was fabulous starting in the early 1920’s in Tasmania and was so vivid I could just see the story come to life. This is a story of family as we follow them on their life’s journey and I absolutely loved every single page. High [...]

    22. What a wonderful summer read (actually perfect for any season!) I read The Sisters' Song in two days on the beach in between reapplying zinc to little noses and hot chip runs. A beautiful evocative story that reminded me of how things were for my grandparents - you just got on with things, no matter what tragedies befell you in the age before easy travel and communications, before decent health care and labour saving white goods, before men and women were allowed to name the sadness and get trea [...]

    23. 2.5★I won an uncorrected proof of this book in a giveaway by the publisherd maybe that's part of the reason why I feel a bit disappointed. It's by no means a bad book, but my copy is at least 50 pages longer than the final edited version, and I can only hope for the author that the pages excised were the ones that emphasised the flat nature of the plot (and other plotting flaws). It had all the ingredients to be a winner - Tasmania, sisters, music - but didn't quite meet the mark for me. Prett [...]

    24. Full review can be found on my blog wordpress/page/littlebigrI literally felt my breath being taken away as I finished the very last chapter of The Sisters’ Song, debut author Louise Allan managed to etch away at my emotions as I followed the lives of Ida and Nora.  My being was shattered when I least expected it and I choked out loud that I was going to cry now, I didn’t see it coming, I never imagined it would and I was devastated.The Sisters’ Song is set in Rural Tasmania between the 1 [...]

    25. What a stunner! This novel is such a wonderful evocation of the female experience across decades. The prose is elegant and spare, and the themes of desire and duty are artfully rendered in all their complexity.A great addition to Australian literature!

    26. This book will take awhile to leave me. I had such a physical response and I think Ida and Nora’s story will be with me for awhile. A beautiful novel that is written in a way that flows and you don’t realize that you’ve just read five chapters and it’s well past your bedtime! Highly recommend it.

    27. Such a heart-wrenching and thought provoking story. The sisters’ struggles and heartbreaks, the setting, life’s hardships during this time (the story begins around 1926 and spans over 70 years) but there are also fascinating glimpses into the fashions and attitudes over the years as well as the differing modes of living in North-Eastern Tasmania.Exceptional!

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