Praise for Evergreen:
Outstanding Achievement Award, Wisconsin Library Association, 2014.
Hot Pick for Book Clubs, American Library Association.
"With its quiet beauty, deep compassion and strong emotional pull, Evergreen cements Rasmussen’s reputation as one of our most talented new writers."
"At a time when new fiction often looks forward in plot and is technically acrobatic, Rasmussen's look backward feels classic."
--St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"Reminiscent of Bonnie Jo Campbell and Marilynne Robinson, “Evergreen” is grounded firmly in place. Rasmussen’s characters, rather than mourn or pursue acceptance, crash through the narrative, noisily trying to make sense of their severed bonds and broken hearts. Evergreen is a sensitive exploration of love, a novel that proves that Rasmussen’s literary star continues to rise in a way that is anything but quiet."
--Wisconsin State Journal
“A sense of place and a curiosity about the hidden nature of these past lives spurred Rasmussen to write something different from the sort of stylish, contemporary short stories her classmates were writing at the University of Massachusetts . . . [She] explores the notion of rescue across four generations, as a family beset with troubles hangs on to old ways of living . . . The woods are beautiful, fruitful and nurturing, and the characters are just at home in this landscape as Rasmussen has been in her own past.”
--Amy Goetzman, MinnPost
"As with a fairy tale, hope and the redeeming power of love are embedded in the fiber of this story: if it makes you weep, you weep from sorrow and joy at once."
--Santa Fe New Mexican
"Evergreen is superbly written with engaging characters, realistic dialogue, and an honest look at what love and belonging means to a family. As this reviewer became immersed in the story, she could not help but hate and love Naamah for her pain and suffering and ultimate escape. This book will be difficult to put down."
--Portland Book Review
“Rasmussen has been steadily crafting a unique brand of Midwestern literature that combines offbeat characters and timeless rhythms reminiscent of folk tales with touching story lines about the pain and hard-won joys of real life. . . She shows her strong affection for the picturesque rural setting of yesteryear . . . In this character-driven saga of friendship and the thorny bonds of family, Rasmussen writes with wisdom and compassion about the people and places that shape us, for better or worse.”
--Sarah Johnson, Booklist
"The story holds three mothers who choose to leave their children: Lulu’s mother, mentioned only briefly; Eveline, who brings Naamah to Hopewell’s gate, and Naamah herself, who places Racina in a tree. The story never suggests that such actions are condonable — readers bear witness to the lasting effects of abandonment — but Rasmussen crafts a world in which such matters are too complicated for quick dismissal or conclusion."
--Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Beautiful and haunting, this novel will stay with you even long after reading the last page."
--Seattle Public Library
"Evergreen has the power of fable and the wonderful, idiosyncratic precision of memoir. A deeply moving novel of mothers and daughters -- and mothers and sons -- and the ties that bind."
--Chris Bohjalian, author of The Sandcastle Girls and Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands
"Evergreen is a gem of a novel. The story unfolds with the potency and certainty of fable and explores, with exquisite grace, the redemptive power of love."
--Tara Conklin, New York Times bestselling author of The House Girl
"In luminous, evocative prose, Rebecca Rasmussen weaves a large-hearted story of resilience, hope and forgiveness deep in the wilds of Minnesota. Evergreen traces the gifts and burdens each generation passes on to the next, intentionally or not, and the flinty beauty that can be found in even the most hardscrabble circumstances."
--Christina Baker Kline, bestselling author of Orphan Train
“Evergreen reads like a brilliant collaboration between a novelist and a naturalist. Rebecca Rasmussen's stunning eye for detail is perfectly matched by her understanding of how lives turn in an instant, decisions shape distant generations, and sometimes, if we're fortunate, loyalties survive to save us against all odds. Steadily beautiful, occasionally brutal, Evergreen is always vivid, always compelling, always ringing with truth.”
--Robin Black, author of If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This
News and Press for The Bird Sisters:
November, 2011: The Bird Sisters was a Ladies' Home Journal Book Club pick for November/December.
October, 2011: The Bird Sisters was chosen as a Target Emerging Authors pick!
From Historical Novels Review: "The story moves between their youth and old age with a myriad of memorable characters from beginning to end. When Twiss puts happiness in Mason jars and sells it at the local fair, I was hoping it would work for all of them. But alas, the jar was just blue water and the happiness was a contentment finally realized in their old age. I learned something about sacrifice, too. I’d recommend this debut novel to anyone who had a childhood, which is all of us."
From Publisher's Weekly: "Achingly authentic and almost completely character driven, the story of the sisters depicts the endlessly binding ties of family.”
From St. Louis Post Dispatch: “The Bird Sisters has the sturdy literary bones of pastoral masterworks such as Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres and Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping.”
From Minneapolis Star Tribune: "The novel's greatest value lies in its examination of how a family trauma can inflict enduring damage and yet how an unexpectedly strong harbor -- in this case, the love between siblings -- can offer quiet redemption. That's a tough set of truths to tackle, and in general, Rasmussen has done it boldly and thoughtfully. It will be interesting to see this writer's gifts unfold further."
From Library Journal Review, Starred Review: "Rasmussen's debut novel is full of grace and humanity. Her heroines are fearless and romantic, endearing and engaging, and her poetic prose creates an almost magical, wholly satisfying world."
“The Bird Sisters is a unique, beautifully written, and heartbreaking story that explores the fierce bonds, wounds, and tender complexities of the human heart. Rebecca Rasmussen has crafted a magical debut.”--Beth Hoffman, Bestselling Author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
“A magical debut, original and poignant, lovely and moving. The Bird Sisters evokes the richly imaginative joys of childhood and the throat-aching betrayals and loyalties of being an adult. I absolutely loved The Bird Sisters and will carry Milly and Twiss with me as if in a locket for a long, long time."--Jenna Blum, Bestselling Author of Those Who Save Us and The Stormchasers
“In shining prose, Rebecca Rasmussen brings to life the world of Milly and Twiss—characters written with such grace and tenderness that I fell in love with them at once. The Bird Sisters is a lush and moving story about discovery and disappointment, failing and forgiveness, and the enduring bond of family. It’s a beautiful novel."--Aryn Kyle, Bestselling Author of The God of Animals and Boys and Girls Like You and Me
"What a fine debut Rebecca Rasmussen has made with The Bird Sisters. Richly textured, and sly with its elegant plot, this story of family and sacrifice is full of an aching beauty that touched me in all the right places. Its final pages, where the delicately structured bones of the past and the present intersect, are ones that moved me tremendously and shook me the way great writing always does. You’ll want to read this novel slowly. When you’re finished, you’ll want to read it again.”--Lee Martin, author of The Bright Forever and River of Heaven
“Rebecca Rasmussen has written her graceful debut, The Bird Sisters, with unflinching and transporting empathy. After a few short chapters of this vivid, lucid novel, you will forget you are reading words on a page; the book in your hands will become a portable window into the interior lives of two remarkable sisters.” --Stefan Merrill Block, Bestselling Author of The Story of Forgetting
“The Bird Sisters is that immensely satisfying combination of indelible characters and a suspenseful and cunningly revealed plot. In lovely, evocative prose Rebecca Rasmussen conjures up her two sisters, Milly and Twiss, and their rural Wisconsin community during the summer that changed their lives. Full of wonderful surprises, The Bird Sisters is a splendid debut that will stay with the reader long after the last page.”--Margot Livesey, Award Winning Author of The House on Fortune Street and Eva Moves the Furniture
“In The Bird Sisters, Rebecca Rasmussen has created the ultimate literary heroines with Milly and Twiss. Heartbreakingly brave as they are fragile, the sisters endure despite the failings of love both familial and romantic, of promises not kept, of dreams deferred and the price one pays for keeping secrets. In prose that sings, Rasmussen has created a magical world where you will believe that birds – and perhaps even humans -- no matter how broken -- will soar under the capable ministrations of Milly and Twiss.”--Robin Antalek, Author of The Summer We Fell Apart
“With a poet's ear and wisdom about the subtleties of the heart, Rasmussen delivers an unforgettable debut that takes its readers to the depths of love, fidelity, and a sense of belonging. From the opening image of one sister gently placing a wounded bird inside her pocket, I was hooked. And I'll wait a while before I pick up the next book because I'm not ready to leave this world just yet."--Susan Henderson, Author of Up From the Blue
“The Bird Sisters tells its tale with prose as miraculous as the images it conveys, like a starling, on the verge of death, suddenly twitching and taking flight. The achingly human characters, so stubborn they keep unspoken all the words that could save them, are tied together by last chances and lost love. And yet Rebecca Rasmussen’s gorgeous debut is infused with a certain grace: there remains hope that damaged things, wild or tame, can still be nursed back together again.” --Siobhan Fallon, Author of You Know When the Men Are Gone