Bernice Archer lives in a low-income downtown neighborhood where she has raised her blind twin daughters, Eva and Ava, in relative isolation. Every night she tells them regurgitated bedtime stories, sometimes magical and often cautionary, about the dangers of the world outside their small apartment. Eva and Ava, now middle-aged, still wait for their mother’s stories with both excitement and suspicion, knowing that there is much they haven’t been told. When Bernice notices two new neighbors in their building, she is inspired to tell a new story. And so begins the saga of Violet and Rose, who Bernice believes were born at the exact same moment, hemispheres apart, and who share the same soul. Set in the 1970s, with a feeling of mystery and magic realism, readers will be swept up by Bernice's stories just as Eva and Ava are.
The female-driven book is haunted by the artistic legacy of absent fathers – Italian arias, poetry from Keats – and the realities revealed when the stories we conjure to replace the truth fall away.
Two Women is highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library Contemporary Fiction collections--and will leave the reader looking eagerly toward Browne's next literary effort!
Two Women looks to the stars, but Christene A. Browne’s story is as much down-to-earth as it is starry-eyed. It is a promising debut indeed.