At the age of twelve, Evie Acton’s young mother leaves her on the steps of her father’s house, where she meets her elder stepsister, Iris, for the first time. Though complete opposites and separated by four years, they form an unusual bond, setting out for the glamorous Hollywood scene, where Iris quickly becomes the new darling of the entertainment world. That dream crashes when Iris throws discretion to the wind, entering a forbidden fling with an early version of the paparazzi trailing her every move.
Moving back East with an eclectic group – including the oddly irresponsible Mr. Acton and a lovable cosmetologist – they arrive in New York just before World War II breaks out, trying their luck with various professions. Iris continues her brow-raising affairs, while the others find work and solace in various places. Evie becomes the object of affection to the character with the most interesting story: Gus, the German-American, who lives through the war on both sides of the Atlantic strangely documenting his experiences via an assuming correspondence.
This is a curious and unconventional book, with a peculiar back and forth storyline. Without a solid theme, the story seems stilted in places, lacking proper direction—although there are enough dramatic scenes to hold the reader’s interest. Ultimately it is a story of two sisters who only find true camaraderie once the war years have taken a toll and left the siblings to sift the ashes.