By Leah Greenblatt
Updated August 11, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

Brit Anna Maxted (Getting Over It) takes a rather facile premise — twentysomething Cassie is thin, driven, and fabulous, while older sister Lizbet is plumpish, absent-minded, and prone to long skirts and mumsy cardigans — and finds unexpected depths. Always close, the pair are driven apart by dark secrets involving parentage, spousal relations, and the ability to conceive a child. Maxted’s sometimes willfully obtuse and stubborn protagonists easily makes A Tale of Two Sisters 50 pages longer than necessary, but her knack for tapping into women’s deepest anxieties and desires remains strong.