Laura's Blog

Guest Blog: Favorite Sisters in Fiction

February 7, 2018

Hello everyone! Megan here, Laura's daughter! Some of you might have read my earlier guest blogs about Da Vinci's Tiger and Suspect Red, and I'm very pleased to be back on the blog discussing one of my favorite things: kick-butt women in books! 

There are many perks to being a writer's daughter, one of which is the opportunity to be an early editor of sorts, or at the very least, an ear and partner in brainstorming. While she was shaping Hamilton and Peggy, and as the book became less about the famous men orbiting the Schuyler sisters, and much more about the sacred bond between Angelica, Eliza, and Peggy, Mom and I had a lot of discussions about other famous sisters in literature: what do we admire about the March sisters, for instance? Which set of Jane Austen sisters are most memorable? Why? 

Inspired by these frequent conversations, Mom asked me to write a blog about my favorite sisters in fiction...so here they are! 

 

#10: Laura and Lizzie, Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti 

Rossetti-golden_head.jpg

 

For the uninitiated, Goblin Market is a narrative poem written in the mid-19th century. It's spooky and weird and gothic and feminist and AWESOME. Two sisters, Laura and Lizzie, live by themselves. One night, while she is drawing water from a stream, Laura is seduced by goblin merchants, and eats a fruit offered to her by the goblins. Essentially, she becomes addicted to the fruit, but can no longer find the goblins, and begins to waste away. Lizzie goes after the goblins, determined to get more fruit to save her sister, but when she tries to pay with human money, they beat her up and try to force her to eat the fruit as well. She manages to escape, and feed Laura some of the pulp that was smashed on her. At first, the pulp seems to give Laura a seizure, but by the next morning, Laura is fully restored to health. The two sisters live to tell the tale, and pass it on to their children.  

There are dozens of interpretations of this poem: that it's a reaction against the restrictive Victorian social norms of the era; that it's thinly veiled erotica; that it is an early feminist protest; that it's commenting on the evils of capitalism; that it's about drug addiction and opium; that it's religious in nature; and that it's anti-religious in nature. I encourage you to look it up and decide for yourself! 

Whatever interpretation you choose, it's a wonderful testament to sisterly love and bravery. 

 

#9: Arya and Sansa Stark, Game of Thrones 

enhanced-buzz-orig-3660-1380224247-22.jpg

 

Unlike most of America, I actually haven't watched a whole lot of Game of Thrones. I did, however, read all 5 books in about a year, which admittedly, is a bit of a blur now. But I love Arya and Sansa's relationship, their perpetual devotion to each other despite a significant age difference, and their determination to be reunited. They're also so utterly relatable, despite the fantasy-world setting: one of them is more girly, and one of them is more of a tomboy. They don't actually get along very well when we first meet them--but that doesn't mean they wouldn't risk their lives for each other. 

 

#8: Katniss and Primrose, The Hunger Games 

Katniss_hugs_Prim_in_new_still_from_The_Hunger_Games__Catching_Fire.jpg

 

The Hunger Games begins when Katniss, in one of the most quoted movie lines of the past decade, volunteers as tribute to save the life of her sister, Prim. And while Katniss and Prim could not be more different, they are both incredible heroines, fighting to protect each other and their family. Their relationship is the relationship that fuels the whole series--not the fight against the oppressive government, or the boys (both inadequate, if you ask me) vying for Katniss' love.

 

#7: Olga, Maria, and Irina, Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov 

6808582-M.jpg

 

 

Olga, Maria, and Irina lean on each other and love each other--but in the heartbreaking end of this terrific (but devastating!) play, see none of their dreams come true. Unlike most of the women on this list, they never manage to triumph against the odds--the deck is very much stacked against them. However, over the course of the four acts, we see so many different remarkable stages of their sisterhood and roles. There's Olga, the eldest daughter, forced into the caretaker role against her will. There's the tempestuous middle sister, Masha.Then there's the baby of the three, the idealistic Irina. We watch them bond, argue, change alliances, and grow. We see them in youth, in marriage, in motherhood, in spinsterhood, and as older and wiser versions of themselves. Just like real sisters.  

 

#6: Susan and Lucy Pevensie, The Chronicles of Narnia 

Lucy-and-Susan-lucy-pevensie-12844676-500-333.jpg

 

What can I say about these sisters that hasn't already been said? They're brave, caring, intelligent, loving, and utterly devoted to each other--and the elder sister's refusal to believe the younger sister on multiple occasions rings true to many siblings I know! They're the two characters in the Narnia chronicles whom Aslan trusts most. And they peacefully rule a kingdom for over a decade. I know their brothers are there with them, but come on, we know Susan and Lucy are the ones getting stuff done.

 

#5: Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret Dashwood, Sense and Sensibility  

sense-and-sensibility.jpg

 

Anyone who thinks Jane Austen is stuffy has clearly never read Sense and Sensibility. Don't believe me? There's a scene near the beginning of the novel in which Marianne Dashwood literally runs around the grounds of her childhood home hugging all the trees goodbye. It's laugh-out-loud funny. Elinor and Marianne are exact opposites, but that doesn't stop them from loving each other and often getting furious at each other for not speaking up--or speaking too much! They both make mistakes constantly that undermine their happiness, but the other sister is always there. And then, of course, they both get a happy ending--thanks, Jane!

 

#4: The Twelve Dancing Princesses 

maxresdefault.jpg

 

Okay, so this choice is most definitely heavily influenced by the fact that as a young girl I was pretty obsessed with the stunningly illustrated version by Ruth Sanderson. But how can you NOT love TWELVE sisters who disobey their father's wishes, and go out dancing together every night!

 

#3: Celie and Nettie, The Color Purple 

makidada.png

 

I don't think there's ever been a more inspiring pair of sisters created than Celie and Nettie. No matter what happens to them, these women band together with the women around them (even ones they don't particularly like), to support and sustain each other. Their reunion, after decades of hurt and longing and abuse, as stronger, braver women, is one of the most beautiful moments ever written.

 

#2: The March Sisters, Little Women

Female_March_Family_Members_(1994).jpg  

 

Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are probably the most iconic American sisters out there, beloved by generations of readers. Despite being written in a much earlier generation, the sisters are all immediately recognizable to modern readers: the beautiful and traditional Meg; the rebellious and tempestuous Jo; the shy and sweet Beth; and the artistic but somewhat selfish Amy. Jo March was actually a direct inspiration for Peggy in Hamilton and Peggy: she's bookish, smart, strong, willful, adores her sisters, and is resistant to the idea of marriage for fear it would break up the family and separate her from her beloved sisters/best friends.

 

#1: Jane and Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice 

6dcae71cfcf53edc77909e3051d9bc60.jpg

 

Yes, I know there are five Bennet sisters, but I want to focus on Jane and Lizzie. For me, these are not just the most beautiful and perfect pair of sisters in all of Western Literature, but two of the absolute most wonderful characters created. They're not just sisters--they're best friends and a true team. And I'm not just saying that because I've watched the 2005 movie literally dozens of times. By all accounts, Jane and Elizabeth are fictional recreations of Jane Austen and her beloved sister Cassandra--which makes sense, given the deep tenderness and knowing winks in Pride and Prejudice about both the joys and frustrations of being best friends with a sister who is so different from yourself. Instead of quibbling with each other about their differences, they deeply admire each other: Elizabeth reveres Jane's enormous heart, and Jane often wishes she was as witty as her younger sister. There is an honesty and connection between Jane and Elizabeth that I don't think has ever been so lovingly depicted since.  

(And for a fun fact: sweet, loving, beautiful Jane Bennet  slightly inspired the characterization of Eliza Hamilton in Hamilton and Peggy!)

 

So there you have it! My 10 favorite pairs or groups of sisters! ...and trust me, the depiction of Angelica, Eliza, and Peggy in Hamilton...and Peggy! is just as well-rounded, lovely, funny, smart, and sweet as the books on this list. It's one of my absolute favorite things about Mom's new book, and I can't wait for you all to read it!  

   

 

  

Other Blog Posts


Guest Blog: In Appreciation of Thomas Kail

Posted by laura on June 22, 2018


Happy Father's Day to America's #1 Founding Father

Posted by laura on June 17, 2018



The Hurricane that gave us Alexander Hamilton

Posted by laura on May 14, 2018



Lafayette's Love, Adrienne

Posted by laura on April 26, 2018


THE FINAL AND OFFICIAL COVER

Posted by laura on April 16, 2018


THE FOURTH COVER OPTIONS

Posted by laura on April 11, 2018


The Room Where Peggy Happened: The Library

Posted by laura on April 9, 2018


The Third Cover Options

Posted by laura on April 8, 2018


THE SECOND COVER OPTIONS

Posted by laura on April 6, 2018


The First Cover Options

Posted by laura on April 4, 2018


HOW A COVER GETS MADE

Posted by laura on April 2, 2018


Guest Blog: Theodosia Writes Me a Letter Every Day...

Posted by laura on March 28, 2018





Lucy Knox: Romantic and Patriot

Posted by laura on March 20, 2018



Happy Birthday, Richard Varick!

Posted by laura on March 15, 2018


Uncle Johnny, the “ Good Dr. Bones”

Posted by laura on March 12, 2018


Peggy as a YA Heroine

Posted by laura on March 7, 2018


Guest Blog: The Power of Letters

Posted by laura on March 5, 2018


Happy Birthday, Baby Caty!

Posted by laura on March 4, 2018



The Power of Historical Fiction for Teens

Posted by laura on February 27, 2018


To the Students of Parkland

Posted by laura on February 26, 2018


Guest Blog: From the Editor, Katherine Tegen

Posted by laura on February 25, 2018


Happy Birthday, Gentleman Johnny!

Posted by laura on February 24, 2018



Peggy's Romantic Life

Posted by laura on February 22, 2018


A Long Song for George Washington

Posted by laura on February 19, 2018


24 hours until Event at Politics and Prose!

Posted by laura on February 18, 2018


Guest Blog: 5 Fun Facts about George Washington

Posted by laura on February 16, 2018


Guest Blog: Historical Galentines!

Posted by laura on February 12, 2018


Fun for Sunday Afternoon!

Posted by laura on February 11, 2018


Countdown to Launch on Galentine’s Day!

Posted by laura on February 9, 2018


Guest Blog: Favorite Sisters in Fiction

Posted by laura on February 7, 2018


Happy Birthday to Aaron Burr, Sir

Posted by laura on February 6, 2018


Guest Blog: Discoveries in the NYPL by Mabel Hsu

Posted by laura on February 5, 2018


Guest Blog: The Creation of a Book Trailer

Posted by laura on February 2, 2018


Today and McCarthy

Posted by laura on February 1, 2018


A Schuyler Sisters Super Bowl

Posted by laura on January 31, 2018


Meet Peggy Schuyler!

Posted by laura on January 28, 2018


The Youngest Soldier of the Revolution

Posted by laura on January 26, 2018


Happy Birthday, Daveed!

Posted by laura on January 24, 2018


Guest Blog from Moxii

Posted by laura on January 21, 2018



Happy Birthday Benedict Arnold - January 14, 1741

Posted by adminC on January 10, 2018


Happy Birthday, Alexander! January 11

Posted by adminC on January 10, 2018


Happy Anniversary George and Martha!

Posted by laura on January 6, 2018


"The Hard Winter" when Peggy met Hamilton

Posted by laura on January 1, 2018


Happy New Year's!

Posted by laura on December 31, 2017


Duck and Cover Mindset

Posted by laura on October 9, 2017


Happy Birthday Fahrenheit 451!

Posted by laura on October 4, 2017


Banned Books & President Eisenhower

Posted by laura on September 28, 2017


Knocked Over By a Feather: McCarthy and Book Burning

Posted by laura on September 24, 2017


Librarians in the Battle of “Fake News”

Posted by laura on September 21, 2017


McCarthy to Trump Connections

Posted by laura on September 19, 2017


Fourth of July....And Peggy!

Posted by laura on July 4, 2017


Coming September 2017: SUSPECT RED

Posted by laura on April 17, 2017


Thoughts on Veteran's Day

Posted by laura on November 11, 2016



Leonardo the Writer

Posted by laura on April 19, 2016


A Live Look at Verrocchio

Posted by laura on April 18, 2016


The Teacher Behind Leonardo

Posted by laura on April 16, 2016


Happy Birthday, Leonardo da Vinci!

Posted by laura on April 15, 2016



The Town of Vinci

Posted by laura on April 12, 2016


Leonardo’s Top 5 Most Imaginative Inventions

Posted by laura on April 11, 2016


Valentine's Day During the Renaissance

Posted by laura on February 14, 2016


Valentine's Day Activities!

Posted by laura on February 8, 2016


Historical #WCW: Artemisia Gentileschi

Posted by laura on February 3, 2016


Anniversary of the Joust

Posted by laura on January 29, 2016


Great Falls Friends & Neighbors Event

Posted by laura on January 14, 2016


My New Literary Friends to the North

Posted by laura on January 4, 2016


Ti Amo, Piombino

Posted by laura on December 28, 2015


The Holidays in Renaissance Florence

Posted by laura on December 23, 2015


Florentine Decorations

Posted by laura on December 15, 2015


Just in Time for Holiday Shopping!

Posted by laura on December 4, 2015


A Very Renaissance Thanksgiving

Posted by laura on November 26, 2015


NCTE Thanks

Posted by laura on November 23, 2015


#TBT: Another guest blog!

Posted by laura on November 19, 2015


Guest Blog: Researching DA VINCI'S TIGER

Posted by laura on November 17, 2015


NCTE 2015

Posted by laura on November 17, 2015


Exciting News!

Posted by laura on November 13, 2015


So What Did Leonardo Really Look Like and Act Like?

Posted by laura on November 9, 2015


Get Your Plato On!

Posted by laura on November 7, 2015


The Ambassador

Posted by laura on November 2, 2015


#TBT: My love of horses

Posted by laura on October 29, 2015


The Lady Behind the Portrait

Posted by laura on October 28, 2015


LORENZO, Il Magnifico: The defacto ruler of Florence

Posted by laura on October 26, 2015


Throwback Thursday: My first trip to Florence

Posted by laura on October 22, 2015


The Kick-Butt Abbess

Posted by laura on October 21, 2015


Santa Croce: The Site of the Joust!

Posted by laura on October 20, 2015


Meet Florence’s “Prince of Youth”

Posted by laura on October 19, 2015


Some Loves Start Early!

Posted by laura on October 15, 2015


The Duomo Bells

Posted by laura on October 14, 2015


Leonardo's Other Female Portraits

Posted by laura on October 14, 2015


6 Things You May Not Know About Leonardo Da Vinci

Posted by laura on October 12, 2015


Epic Reads Discussion Guide

Posted by laura on October 8, 2015


Talk at the National Gallery of Art!

Posted by laura on October 7, 2015


First Reviews for Da Vinci's Tiger!

Posted by laura on September 27, 2015


NEW COVER for DA VINCI'S TIGER

Posted by laura on August 13, 2015


YA Sync Free Download of Under a War Torn Sky LIVE!

Posted by laura on August 6, 2015


Mark Your Calendars

Posted by laura on July 6, 2015


The Beauty of Synchronicity

Posted by laura on May 18, 2015


70th Anniversary of VE Day

Posted by laura on May 8, 2015


Why Write A Trilogy?

Posted by laura on April 14, 2015


Valentine's Day

Posted by laura on February 8, 2015


Listening to the Audiobook of Under a War Torn Sky

Posted by laura on February 3, 2015


A Wonderful Fall

Posted by adminC on October 29, 2014


close