Florida author Kristy Kiernan's stunning debut explores the lives of two sisters who were very close as children but drifted apart as they moved into adulthood. Estella and Connie Sykes grew up in a beachside home on an island off the Gulf Coast of Florida. When Estella was a preteen, her father discovered that she had extraordinary ability in mathematics, and she was labeled a genius. At the age of 12, Estella enrolled in college, and the close bond that she and Connie shared gradually eroded. Estella became known as the smart sister, and Connie relied on her beauty to garner attention.
Years later, both women are in their 40s, living disparate lives. Estella is an Atlanta math teacher, and Connie lives in Florida with her husband, Luke, and two sons, Gib and Carson. When their mother asks them to help close up the island home, asserting that she wishes to sell it, the two estranged sisters are reunited for the first time in years. As Estella and Connie travel together to their childhood home, they struggle with the uncomfortable silences between them. But once in Florida, both sisters see the beauty of the island, even as they recall the difficult moments of their youth. In a remarkably poetic chain of events, Estella and Connie share with one another secrets about their present-day lives even as they reveal hidden truths about their pasts, and the guilt and misunderstandings that have divided them. Connie and Estella's poignant journey back toward the friendship of their youth will resonate with readers. Catching Genius is simply mesmerizing, not only because it expertly captures the unbreakable bond between sisters. The novel also explores the many facets of very real characters, breathing life into the seamlessly plotted storyline. This author's first novel is a must-read for women's fiction fans of all ages.
Sheri Melnick writes from Enola, Pennsylvania.