Just like Jane Austen’s fictional creations, Lise McClendon’s Bennett sisters are five women strong. Introduced in ‘Blackbird Fly’, the five sisters’ stories are told in the first book by middle sister, Merle. She is a lawyer — but so are all four of her sisters. Their father and grandfather were also attorneys.
Blackbird Fly begins with a sudden death. Merle Bennett’s husband has a heart attack, leaving her and their teenage son to grieve and figure out the rest of their lives without him. Secrets and lies, betrayals and surprises: all wait for Merle as she goes to France to fix up the house her husband left her. Her finances are precarious and she needs this house to provide for her son’s future.
As one reviewer said, “Life, death, lost love, murder, mystery, new love, inherited French manor, and a treasure of lost wines! What more could you want?”
The Girl in the Empty Dress
Merle is back in France with all four of her sisters plus one extra, a law colleague of one sister who upsets the “finely-tuned five-spoked karma.” Merle is celebrating her 50th birthday, tramping along the backroads of the Dordogne, when the women find an injured dog in the ditch. Their idyllic women’s vacation takes a dark turn as it appears that many people are interested in this dog. And just who is this Girl in the Empty Dress?
“Merle Bennett is spending another summer in France, vacationing with her four sisters and one friend, lawyers all, tramping around the backroads of the Dordogne. The sixth member of their walking tour is a law colleague, Gillian Sargent. She hasn’t made a good impression on the Bennett sisters, being annoying and secretive and upsetting the delicate karma of sisterhood. When Gillian finds an injured dog along the roadside and wants to keep it for her own, the idyllic summer trip of sisterly bonding and wine-drinking turns dark and dangerous. Who else is after this dog? Why is she so special? And what secret is Gillian Sargent keeping so close to her chest that her co-workers call her ‘The Girl in the Empty Dress?’
Lise McClendon introduced Merle Bennett in Blackbird Fly, taking readers on a journey of self-discovery for Merle as her late husband’s life opened up its secrets. He left her a stone house in the Dordogne he never mentioned, his family estate. Merle’s efforts to fix up the abandoned ruin, extract a squatter, and discover the family secrets help her through her grief.
Now, back in this corner of southwest France of dark, oaky wine, rocky hills, foie sgras and earthy truffles, she juggles sibling bickering, her teenage son, two boyfriends, and the law. All she wants is to unwind in the golden light of France. But France has a few tricks up its sleeves again. Thanks to a sad, dirty little dog and a woman with too many secrets.”
Truffles, wine, romance, sisters, and intrigue.
“A perfect summer read: it had mystery, romance, the complexities of family relations and the beautiful countryside in France. The author’s writing was engaging and I loved how the different storylines were interconnected. I recommend and enjoyed this story.” — Book Nerd
“I liked Lise’s writing style, loved her brilliant descriptions like: “He had the face of an ice block hardened by many winters”, [they] brought her characters alive. The situations they found themselves in often made me laugh and there was just the right amount of ooh-ing and aah-ing over the tasty French cheeses, truffles and wine to remember they were in France and loving it. I can recommend both Blackbird Fly and The Girl in the Empty Dress (Bennett Sisters Novels) as perfect summer holiday reads. I will be looking out for more Bennett Sisters Novels“ — French Village Diaries
Give Him the Ooh-la-la
Now read the Novella!
It’s the festive season: food, wine, and merriment. Champagne, skating, and — drag queens?!
Merle Bennett is back from France, in New York City for the holidays. Her sister Annie is getting engaged and Merle’s sometime French beau flies over for the party. But is Pascal in town to visit Merle? Does he have another agenda, one that involves wine and the French consulate? Is the Strachie dirty laundry from ‘Blackbird Fly’ going to be aired again — only worse? And why does Pascal take Merle to see a drag queen who sings in French?
All this and more in the novella out now! Give Him the Ooh-la-la!