Tuesday, March 18, 2014

SISTER ACTS (+ Book Giveaway) by Pamela Sherwood

I am firmly convinced that Disney's Frozen owes its success largely to the film's central relationship. Which, for the first time in forever (yes, that was deliberate), focuses on a pair of sisters: reserved Elsa, who's terrified of her ability to create ice and snow and determined not to harm those she loves with her gift, and impulsive Anna, who's equally determined to rescue her sister from her self-imposed isolation. There is a romantic subplot (and an anti-romantic one as well), but the bond between Elsa and Anna--two of the most fully realized characters Disney has introduced in years--is Frozen's beating heart.
Elsa and Anna: "Love Will Thaw"
And why not? The relationship between sisters is a rich vein to mine, and rife with potential drama. Women bound by the ties of family and shared experiences, who can be the best of friends or the bitterest of foes.  Sisters can be as close as Jane and Elizabeth Bennet or Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, providing unconditional love and support, even when they don't entirely understand each other.
Elinor and Marianne, in a moment of connection
Or they can be as contentious as Lady Mary and Lady Edith Crawley of Downton Abbey, constantly sniping at each other and competing for the attentions of the same men (while youngest sister Lady Sybil wisely keeps out of the fray). Or as dysfunctional as the sisters in the traditional English ballad "Binnorie," who take romantic rivalry to the furthest extreme imaginable.

Edith, Mary, and Sybil Crawley (Prima donna Mary has the biggest hat, of course)
Devoted sisters can take on the world together, as Snow White and Rose Red have done since infancy. They're willing to lay down their lives for each other, as Katniss does for Prim in The Hunger Games. And they confront monsters, whether in human or magical form, to keep one another safe, as Lizzie faces down the goblins whose insidious enchanted fruits have stolen her sister Laura's innocence and health in Christina Rossetti's "Goblin Market."

Rose Red and Snow White (Can't help thinking they look a bit like flower girls at a wedding!)
Above all, sisters can be fun, as a certain quartet known as Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy continually prove. The March sisters may lack money and material possessions, but they are rich in imagination, creativity, camaraderie, and love. They derive as much pleasure from putting on their own plays as from going to the theater, feeding off each other's energy and enthusiasm to the point that they are seldom bored or at a loss for things to do. And never at a loss for someone to do things with. Their closeness is envied by many, including the rich, handsome boy next door who ultimately becomes a part of their charmed circle.

The March Sisters, bonding over a book
But whether you prefer them hand in hand or at each other's throats, sisters and their relationships are a storyteller's dream. Long may they remain so!

Who are your favorite fictional sisters and what makes them special to you?

I'll be giving away a signed copy of my first book, Waltz with a Stranger, starring twin sisters Aurelia and Amelia Newbold, to a commenter until midnight PST, March 21. Please leave your email address if you are interested in the giveaway.

ETA: LSUReader wins the giveaway of Waltz with a Stranger! Please contact me with your mailing address so I can send you the book. Thanks to all who participated!

14 comments:

  1. I wish I could identify with a sister bond. Hopefully my author-sisters will continue to fill the gap.

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  2. Great blog! I was just talking about Frozen in a workshop last night. I too love that sister relationship. Pride and Prejudice and Lizzie and Jane come to mind. I know you mentioned them, and they're my favorites.

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  3. Ashlyn, a close friend or colleague can easily become a "sister of the heart"!

    Shana, Disney hasn't really tackled a sister relationship before, not as extensively as in Frozen--and that element adds a freshness that's been missing in some of their recent films. Lizzie and Jane are devoted to each other, which is lovely to see. Jane Austen and her sister Cassandra seem to have been similarly close.

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  4. Katie Scarlett and her sisters in Gone With the Wind are the first to come to mind. My sister and I had that "twin" type relationship even though we were born four years apart. Great blog and it came at a perfect time for me to remember the good times Sister and I had.

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  5. Carolyn, the O'Hara sisters had quite the rivalry going too, if I recall correctly! My sister and I are also very close, and often asked if we're twins, though we are likewise several years apart. But we're friends, confidants, and occasionally collaborators, so maybe it's not such a big misunderstanding at that!

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  6. What an interesting post. I haven't seen Frozen, but I am interested in it after reading this! Little Women's March sisters are my literary favorites. I have to admit, though, that I did enjoy reading/watching the O'Hara sisters go at it in Gone With the Wind. Thanks for the post and giveaway. mochfly(at)swbell(dot)net

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  7. LSUReader, I wasn't sure what to expect from Frozen, but I found it a pleasant surprise when I actually saw it. The March sisters are close to my heart as well, but I admit that feuding siblings can certainly provide entertainment! Glad you enjoyed the post!

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  8. I'm gonna go with Jane and Elizabeth. Great rapport!
    Watched Frozen on DVD last night. Great story, even if the guys were kinda superfluous!

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  9. Jane and Elizabeth really do complement each other: one so kind, warmhearted, and generous to a fault, the other more incisive, guarded, and analytical about the world. And they appreciate each other's distinctive qualities. As for Frozen, the guys aren't quite a waste of pixels, but the sisters are definitely the stars of the show!

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  10. The sisters in White Christmas - especially the song they sing. I have three daughters and they jokingly sing parts of that song to each other about sisters. They were a great pair!
    lattebooks at hotmail dot com

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  11. Susan, I saw White Christmas for the first time over the holidays, and I agree that the two sisters have a great rapport! Funnily enough, I read that Vera-Ellen, who plays the younger sister, was actually several years older than Rosemary Clooney, who plays the older one. I wouldn't have guessed that from their performances!

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    1. No way - she was older? Crazy, I never would have guessed. They sure knew how to cast them.

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  12. I love those three sisters on the Pride and Prejudice. They are lovely, and though they are different they are still quite the same inside. I love that book and those 3 ladies.
    mmyheartishere@gmail.com

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    1. Myheartishere, the Bennet sisters form a memorable family unit! Jane Austen wrote siblings so well.

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