The Wednesday Sisters

Written by Meg Waite Clayton
Review by Nanette Donohue

When Frankie O’Mara moves to Palo Alto from Chicago in the late 1960s, she leaves behind everything she has ever known. On her first visit to Palo Alto, she meets two women in the park—Linda, an athletic New Englander, and Kath, a charming, prim Southerner. The women, all of them young mothers who relocated because of their husbands’ jobs, become fast friends. They are soon joined by two other women, Brett and Ally, and they find that they have a shared passion for writing, leading them to form a writing group so they can share their work with each other. As their friendship grows, they begin to open up with each other, and they realize that their perceived differences are minor compared to their shared experiences.

While the characters were diverse enough to be interesting and likable enough to make me wonder what would come next, it seemed like just about everything bad that could possibly happen to a woman happened to this women. Their lives were so plagued by breast cancer, loneliness, infidelity, and infertility that it overshadowed everything that was going well for them, and the ways that feminism changed their lives for the better.

Clayton’s chatty style was engaging, but the “voice from the future” technique that she frequently employed was distracting. I would have preferred an epilogue detailing future chapters of the Wednesday Sisters’ story instead of the ongoing reminders that this is a story set in the past, told by someone from the future, and that a lot of things have happened since the events in the novel took place. Despite its flaws, I found The Wednesday Sisters entertaining and enjoyable, and like many other books about women’s lives and friendships, it is certain to be a popular book club selection.