Review: The Sweeney Sisters by Liam Dolan


Release date: April 28, 2020

Publisher: William Morrow

Genre: Contemporary Fiction


Maggie, Eliza, and Tricia Sweeney grew up as a happy threesome in the idyllic seaside town of Southport, Connecticut. But their mother’s death from cancer fifteen years ago tarnished their golden-hued memories, and the sisters drifted apart. Their one touchstone is their father, Bill Sweeney, an internationally famous literary lion and college professor universally adored by critics, publishers, and book lovers. When Bill dies unexpectedly one cool June night, his shell-shocked daughters return to their childhood home. They aren’t quite sure what the future holds without their larger-than-life father, but they do know how to throw an Irish wake to honor a man of his stature.

But as guests pay their respects and reminisce, one stranger, emboldened by whiskey, has crashed the party. It turns out that she too is a Sweeney sister.

When Washington, DC based journalist Serena Tucker had her DNA tested on a whim a few weeks earlier, she learned she had a 50% genetic match with a childhood neighbor—Maggie Sweeney of Southport, Connecticut. It seems Serena’s chilly WASP mother, Birdie, had a history with Bill Sweeney—one that has remained totally secret until now.

Once the shock wears off, questions abound. What does this mean for William’s literary legacy? Where is the unfinished memoir he’s stashed away, and what will it reveal? And how will a fourth Sweeney sister—a blond among redheads—fit into their story?

By turns revealing, insightful, and uproarious, The Sweeney Sisters is equal parts cautionary tale and celebration—a festive and heartfelt look at what truly makes a family. 


It seems like long buried family secrets being brought to light by at home DNA testing is quite the hot topic lately and while I’ve read several heartbreaking tales about people’s real lives being shattered by unexpected results, I was super curious to read about a fictional family dealing with the after effects. I love a good family drama and this one didn’t disappoint!

I love author characters and although William Sweeney wasn’t alive during the events of the book as the sisters deal with his estate after he passes, he was still larger than life here. While I enjoyed all of the Sweeney sisters and what they individually brought to the table he stole much of the show. It’s always interesting to see how a parents influence can affect the dynamics of an entire family and this focuses heavily on how Bill’s behavior and secrets shaped each of his four daughters. Each woman was well drawn and complex and I enjoyed taking this journey with them.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

4 thoughts on “Review: The Sweeney Sisters by Liam Dolan

  1. thebrowneyedbookworm says:

    Wonderful review!! I have this one on my tbr for later this year. As so often, the cover was what made me look at it twice – it’s always the illustrated covers that pull me in. lol

    Liked by 1 person

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