“Friday’s Daughter” by Patricia Sprinkle
I used to think when someone mentioned the sins of the fathers being visited on future generations that some divine zap targeted innocent children on down the line. Now I believe those children are the unwitting heirs of poor choices and neglect bestowed by ill-informed or don’t-give-a-rip parents. And so it is in Patricia Sprinkle’s Friday’s Daughter. Three sisters have to deal with the mess left by their recently deceased father, King MacAllester, a man who cared more about power and image than about his children.
In the once-upon-a-time world of old, two stepsisters held Cinderella in physical bondage. In Friday’s Daughter, modern-day sisters Regan and Susan hold their younger sister, nicknamed Teensie for her diminutive stature, in emotional bondage. They humiliate her and relegate her first to the care of an elderly aunt and then to tend their tyrannical, unappreciative father in his final days. Teensie, having put aside love, career and personal fulfillment, fumes inwardly at her assigned role, but outwardly follows the proscribed course. King promised her his grand house and a large sum of money for her sacrifices; but in the end he breaks his pledge and divides the money evenly between the sisters, despite the fact the older sisters have no need of the bequest.
As a home-care nurse, Teensie tends Tobias Jones, a Cherokee. His family and hers have been historically and personally at odds for generations. Teensie struggles against a growing love for him, and the uphill battle to forge and defend her identity in her newly defined world.
From Teensie’s four-year-old great niece, Wonder, to brothers-in-law, to a judge and his son, to an alcoholic mother and her children to Tobias and his baggage, Sprinkle artfully handles family relationships and human inner workings. Each character lives out his or her joys and dysfunctions, adding delectable and realistic flavor to this tasty tale of courage, love and faith. The book ends happily, but not all loose ends are neatly resolved. Definitely a good read.