Steel's finer points in Sisters surface in her ability to balance the pragmatic elements of drama and tragedy adequately. At times she excels in the tender familial camaraderie and poignant moments her fans will appreciate. However, with too few glimpses of what she does best, she often segues into a formulaic melodrama ensemble where storytelling redundancy and an overstatement of facts and emotions hinder the ultimate goal of getting the reader to embrace the characters beyond their sensational circumstances. Readers may not fully grasp what each woman has to offer outside of the much-ascribed "one for all, all for one" motif in each chapter, which tries to strike an emotional chord, but at times falls flat.
Sisters follows the intersecting lives of four very different siblings who come together once tragedy strikes and throws one sister head-on into the most difficult challenge of her young life. Sabrina, the oldest, is a high-powered New York City divorce attorney. Tammy is a successful television producer in Los Angeles, while Annie, a struggling artist, paints and lives a carefree life in Italy. The youngest is Candy, a sought-after supermodel who lives a life of luxury. One fateful day brings them together like never before.
Through the ups and downs of each sister's life, each woman must battle her own demons and become the person she was meant to be -- borne out of tragedy and brought to light by another sister waiting to give her a helping hand. (DELACORTE, Feb., 368 pp., $27.00)