Synopses & Reviews
A fresh new voice in fiction! Set on a French island in the Mediterranean, this debut novel recounts the eventful reunion of two sets of sisters--one American, the other English--who grew up together as stepsisters. After the death of Ross Wright, his daughters, stepdaughters, and third wife gather for a memorial at his house on the Mediterranean island of Santerre. Constance, the narrator, has come from New York with her investment banker boyfriend Jim, hoping that he will boost her status within the family. What she had not counted on is the attraction Jim develops not for her ravishing sister Isabelle, but for her French stepmother, Odette. Constance, meanwhile, is increasingly drawn to Philippe, the Parisian writer who has moved in next door. Further enlivening the scene are the English stepsisters Lucy and Jane, Odette's boyfriend Yves, Isabelle's estranged Czech dissident husband Jiri, and a variegated cast of local characters--including a Belgian real estate magnate with a fondness for African tribal dress and the mysterious Countess Fatulescu. Ross left them nothing but debts and the house on Santerre so everyone is surprised to learn of a bank account in Switzerland. The discovery of the money not only exacerbates family tensions and rivalries, it brings to light the unsavory nature of some of Ross's business dealings and forces his daughters to re-examine their relationship to him, to each other, and to their husbands and lovers. Going Topless is an edgy and humorous look at the challenges and rewards of sisterly love and the mystery of romantic attraction.
Pamela Redmond Satran author of Babes in Captivity Sexy, witty, surprising, and full of charm.
Pamela Redmond Satranauthor of Babes in CaptivitySexy, witty, surprising, and full of charm.
Kirkus Reviews Two sets of sisters reunite tensely on a Mediterranean island to honor their dead patriarch. Constance arrives at her family's dilapidated house in Santerre brandishing her new boyfriend Jim, hoping that his presence will improve her rank in the household. She's always watched her older sister Isabelle garner all the compliments and is surprised when the intriguing next-door neighbor takes a liking to her instead. Isabelle is on the prowl, wounded from publicly losing her famous and charismatic husband to a younger fling. She butts heads with her English stepsister Lucy, another beautiful, strong-willed woman who grew up longing to usurp Isabelle for the role of her father's favorite daughter. Even as an adult, she refuses to believe he could ever have wronged them. Lucy's younger sister, the sensitive Jane, also smarting from losing her lover, knows better. The man in the middle of all this is the late Ross Wright, a schemer who went down in his heavily mortgaged plane, leaving his family literally to pay the price for his poor investments. His third wife, Odette, certainly feels the burden. Forced to leave their New York apartment and move back to her native France, she too finds herself on the island, privy to the familial and culture clashes. Newcomer McAndrew realistically relays sibling love and tension as the sisters bicker with and comfort one another in the days leading up to their father's memorial service. The narrative takes some crazy turns that might seem preposterous in any other story, but McAndrew's skill is such that you buy every minute of the partner swapping, surprise appearances, quirky locals, and discovered treasure that pop up on the way to epiphanies about dear old dad, relationships, and life in general. A smooth, engrossing debut.
Newsday Masterful...If you're reminded of the novels of Diane Johnson, then you're on the right track...a wry, comic voice and a sharp eye.
Entertainment Weekly Perfectly formed characters...their couplings and uncouplings make for a fun French farce.
Sibling rivalry has crossed many an ocean....
When Constance Wright arrives at her family's summerhouse on the Mediterranean island of Santerre for her father Ross's memorial, she hopes that boyfriend Jim, the New York investment banker on her arm, will boost her status in the family. Between her ravishing sister, Isabelle; her ageless French stepmother, Odette; and her English stepsisters, former model Lucy and famous artist Jane, there's a lot of competition for attention -- not to mention double beds.
...Now it's time to sink or swim.
What she hadn't counted on is the attraction Jim develops for one of the other women in the house...and the affinity she feels for the mysterious writer who moves in next door. As liaisons shift and tension soars, Constance finds that she's not the only one in the house whose love life is in turmoil. Complicating matters is the discovery of a Swiss bank account that Ross left behind. Now, the women of this eclectic family are about to learn more than they ever wanted to know about each other, their father, and themselves.
About the Author
Megan McAndrew is herself the daughter of expatriates. She grew up in France, Spain and Belgium before attending college in the United States. She worked in Warsaw, Poland, as a representative for the Financial Services Volunteer Corps. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her teenage son.