BLOG TOUR & REVIEW: The Orphan Sister by Gwendolen Gross


Clementine Lord is not an orphan. She just feels like one sometimes. One of triplets, a quirk of nature left her the odd one out. Odette and Olivia are identical; Clementine is a singleton. Biologically speaking, she came from her own egg. Practically speaking, she never quite left it. Then Clementine’s father—a pediatric neurologist who is an expert on children’s brains, but clueless when it comes to his own daughters—disappears, and his choices, both past and present, force the family dynamics to change at last. As the three sisters struggle to make sense of it, their mother must emerge from the greenhouse and leave the flowers that have long been the focus of her warmth and nurturing. For Clementine, the next step means retracing the winding route that led her to this very moment: to understand her father’s betrayal, the tragedy of her first lost love, her family’s divisions, and her best friend Eli’s sudden romantic interest. Most of all, she may finally have found the voice with which to share the inside story of being the odd sister out. . . .

About the Author

Gwendolen Gross received an M. F. A. in poetry and fiction at Sarah Lawrence College. She is the author of the novel Field Guide, which will be published this spring in paperback by Harvest. She lives in northern New Jersey.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery; Original edition (July 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451623682
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451623680


Triplets Odette, Olivia and Clementine are at major crossroads in their lives when their father abandons them and their mother.  Odette and Olivia are identical twins and Clementine seems to be just another sister except that she was born at the same time. Odette and Olivia,  both doctors like their pediatric neurosurgeon father are also pregnant at the same time while Clementine is struggling to get in to veterinarian school when she moves back home while waiting for her acceptance letter.  One day, her father doesn't show up for his hospital rounds and completely vanishes.  Clementine imagines all sorts of nasty things happening to him but even Clementine can't imagine the truth or the reason for his disappearance until it comes to light when Olivia receives an telephone call from their father explaining everything.

The story weaves back and forth between Clementine's youth, her father's rise to power and wealth and her current romantic life with a man who truly loves her, Eli.  Clem is such an interesting character.  She is not bombastic, tells things with a bit of snark, a little drama and dead pan delivery that is a bit world weary.  The writing is just how I like it: quick, not overly descriptive and with smart dialogue.   To read through Clem's history, her relationship with her mother and sisters is just a wonderful slice of life and very believable.  I loved her mother's non-response to her husband's vanishing act.  She simply moved on and encouraged her daughters to do the same.  The real twist is when the full story comes out and Clem finds her own match in life beyond her twin sisters to whom she never really felt a part of.   Sorry, I am being good, and you will just have to read the book to find out what happens with Clem and her family.  The story reminded me a bit of Lisa Lutz and Jonathan Tropper in how the story unfolds and the little familial quirks that are displayed.

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  1. What an interesting premise and storyline, it looks really good.
    I was just reading something about Ann Patchett and she went to Sarah Lawrence as well.
    Abe Books has sure been around awhile...a flash from the not to distant past! I used them searching for out of print titles.

  2. That's a very interesting twist on the family secret theme. Thanks for the great review.

  3. This sounds like a really interesting book. I'll put it on the TBR. Thanks for the review.


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