The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen
A Novel

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When a bird flies into a window in Spring Green, Wisconsin, sisters Milly and Twiss get a visit. Twiss listens to the birds' heartbeats, assessing what she can fix and what she can't, while Milly listens to the heartaches of the people who've brought them. These spinster sisters have spent their lives nursing people and birds back to health.
But back in the summer of 1947, Milly and Twiss knew nothing about trying to mend what had been accidentally broken. Milly was known as a great beauty with emerald eyes and Twiss was a brazen wild child who never wore a dress or did what she was told. That was the summer their golf pro father got into an accident that cost him both his swing and his charm, and their mother, the daughter of a wealthy jeweler, finally admitted their hardscrabble lives wouldn't change. It was the summer their priest, Father Rice, announced that God didn't exist and ran off to Mexico, and a boy named Asa finally caught Milly's eye. And, most unforgettably, it was the summer their cousin Bett came down from a town called Deadwater and changed the course of their lives forever.
Rebecca Rasmussen's masterfully written debut novel is full of hope and beauty, heartbreak and sacrifice, love and the power of sisterhood, and offers wonderful surprises at every turn.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Rebecca Rasmussen

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REBECCA RASMUSSEN teaches creative writing and literature at Fontbonne University. Her stories have appeared in Triquarterly magazine and the Mid-American Review. She was a finalist in both Narrative magazine's 30 Below Contest for writers under the age of thirty and in Glimmer Train's Family Matters Contest. She lives with her husband and daughter in St. Louis. This is her first novel. Visit her at
Published April 12, 2011 by Broadway Books. 306 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Children of mismatched parents—a wealthy mother who gave up her inheritance to marry (for love) a man whose only skill was his graceful golf swing—beautiful Milly and tomboyish Twiss have spent their lives in rural Spring Green, Wis., among characters like Father Rice, who confounds his congregat...

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Star Tribune

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An ambitious but somewhat predictable debut novel that is a study in how a family can tear itself apart and how love can salvage some things, but not others.

May 14 2011 | Read Full Review of The Bird Sisters: A Novel


Creating a beautiful metaphor for her two lead characters, Milly and Twiss, Rasmussen unveils a portrait of unconditional love.

Sep 14 2011 | Read Full Review of The Bird Sisters: A Novel

MostlyFiction Book Reviews

“Milly knew what other people thought: that they were just the weird old sisters who rescued birds, just like the crossing guard was the man with no teeth and the house on Oak Street was haunted and the river bottom was home to people who were missing their limbs and their eyes.

Apr 13 2011 | Read Full Review of The Bird Sisters: A Novel

Story Circle Book Reviews

I couldn't resist a book called The Bird Sisters with its intriguing cover of bird images appearing as if ripped from the pages of a book.

Jun 27 2011 | Read Full Review of The Bird Sisters: A Novel

Elderly sisters Twiss and Milly are known as the Bird Sisters in their small hometown of Spring Green, Wisconsin, where they have lived their whole lives.

Apr 21 2011 | Read Full Review of The Bird Sisters: A Novel

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