Growing up in the outback of South Africa, sensible Poppy realized she would always have to look out for her younger sister, the beautiful, wild, and unreliable Carrie. Years later, in London, Poppy, a stage actress with three children and a charming, handsome husband, never imagines that Carrie, now a sexy and passionate caterer, would try to hurt her. But Carrie can't help herself. She's resentful that Poppy has everything she always wanted: a successful, fulfilling career, a gorgeous husband, a loving family, a house in the country, while Carrie has nothing but debts, one-night-stands, and an uncertain future. Carrie discovers the chink in Poppy's armor, her husband Eduardo, and she sets out to exploit it in the way she knows best. She provides Eduardo with danger, excitement, and great sex - all things that have faded in Eduardo and Poppy's marriage. But in destroying her sister's peace of mind, Carrie risks losing all those who love her. Prue Leith has written a poignant and moving story about the real choices siblings have to make once they grow up and start taking stock of their lives. Sisters is a brilliantly crafted portrait of sibling rivalry, love, and the ultimate betrayal.
Celebrity chef Leith struck gold in her native Britain with Leaving Patrick, a light tale of love lost and regained, plumped up with plenty of elaborate culinary arrangements. In her sophomore effort, an equally conventional conceit is augmented by its larger-than-life protagonists. When we first meet sisters Carrie and Poppie, Carrie is playing with a gun, and the wiser Poppy not only assesses the danger of the situation, she also knows the most effective tactic to get the gun away. This scene is a sort of template for their entire relationship: Carrie is a beautiful, screwed-up alcoholic who sleeps around and envies Poppy her successful career and family; Poppy, a successful actress, is overweight, has a husband and three children, and envies Carrie her beauty and devil-may-care airs. At the height of her self-destructiveness, Carrie begins an affair with Eduardo, Poppy's husband. In almost no time, everyone seems to know, from Eduardo's outspoken mother to his and Poppy's longtime staff; finally Poppy figures it out, too. The rest of the book is devoted to cleaning up the mess. The subject matter is weighty, the authorial touch is featherlight, and things work out just as expected. Despite the sentimental ending, there is enough strife to make the story believable, and Leith doesn't shy away from complicated, heavily populated plot lines. This is a good-hearted romp that manages everything from the lascivious particulars of Carrie's dissolution to lavish culinary and wildlife details, without skimping on the inevitable happy ending.