In a desperate bid to reduce the books that are collecting dust on my TBR shelves, I have decided to collaborate with another avid reader and fellow book reviewer, Nicole from Certified Book Addicts. The #20BACKLISTIN2020 challenge is a self paced challenge hosted by Jaylamm.Reads, Reading and Sunshine, and Cassidys.Bookshelf. The overall goal of this challenge is to read 20 titles from the backlist books that are currently sitting on your TBR pile. For this challenge I will be reading non review books and taking my selections directly from my chock-a-block TBR bookcases (there are two shelved back to back). I will be publishing my reviews of these books on my blog and social media sites on the first and third Tuesday of the month.
Book #17 in the #20BACKLISTIN2020 challenge
Estimated TBR Shelf Life: 4 years
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale
We all make mistakes, but for Meghann Dontess the terrible choice she made some years ago cost her everything, including the love of her sister, Claire. Meghann is now a highly successful attorney, and has put all thoughts of love completely behind her – until she meets the one man who believes he can change her mind.
Claire has fallen in love for the first time in her life, and as her wedding day approaches she prepares to face her strong-willed older sister. Reunited after two decades, these two women who believe they have nothing in common will try to become what they never were: a family.
Tender, funny, bittersweet and moving, Between Sisters skilfully explores the profound joys and sorrows shared in a close relationship, the mistakes made in the name of love, and the promise of redemption.
Kristin Hannah is probably best known for her number one New York Times bestselling novel, The Nightingale. Between Sisters is a novel that Hannah first published in 2003. My edition is a 2016 Macmillan release. A story of sisterhood, fragile family relationships, life, love and everything in between, this is a moving, but also a feel good novel from an author I admire.
Between Sisters is a story of decisions, life movements and relationships. In Kristin Hannah’s 2003 release, she illustrates the deep divide that exists between two very different sisters. Meghann, the eldest, is a top lawyer in the area of marital affairs. Meghann is a career driven woman, but she is also incredibly lonely. Meghann distances herself from any form of relationship and she avoids intimacy at all costs. Although Meghann has always protected her younger sister Claire, an ill-fated decision she made in the past has caused a significant rift between these two siblings. While Meghann finds it hard to let love into her life, Claire wears her heart on her sleeve. With a new romance thanks to an up and coming country singer, Claire is excited about her upcoming nuptials to this dream lover. But Meghann’s presence and negativity concerning Claire’s impeding marriage creates yet another tough divide between these chalk and cheese sisters. As the sisters take very tentative steps towards some kind of reconciliation in the face of Claire’s big day, past hurts infiltrate their attempts to come together. However, when a health crisis emerges, the sisters will need each other more than ever and the bond they once shared in childhood may be reinstated.
I consider myself a loyal fan of American author Kristin Hannah. Long before the success of The Nightingale, I discovered Hannah’s Firefly Lane by sheer luck at a garage sale. I’m so glad I took a chance on this tender and moving novel, as it kick started a long running relationship with an author who never fails to enthrall me with her bittersweet stories. Between Sisters is a novel I have had sitting on my over stocked TBR shelves for far too long. I’m so pleased I finally plucked this 2016 publication off my shelves for the 2020 backlist book challenge.
I don’t have a sister, yet I continue to be drawn to stories about sisters, especially complex ones. Not only is Between Sisters by Kristin Hannah a story about sisterhood, it also offers an exploration into mother-daughter relationships and different forms of love. Hannah’s narration dips back into the past in the form of memories and flashbacks, which in turn provides the reader with an essential insight into the emotionally fragile past of the two focal sisters of this tale. Hannah’s approach is revealing, perceptive and sensitive. Hannah also balances the good with the bad, disclosing moments of pure sadness and despair with happiness. Between Sisters delivers a whirlwind of emotions from start to finish.
As I have come to appreciate with many of Kristin Hannah’s previous novels, the characterisation was spot on in Between Sisters. I liked how Hannah approached her leads with such contrast. We have Meghann, a woman of power and position, but Hannah exposes this woman’s vulnerabilities. Meghann is incredibly isolated and lonely. Meghann is also regretful and she feels the guilt of the past. In Claire, we have a happy, relaxed and breezy soul. Claire is also a devoted mother to a daughter and she enjoys the simple life. The romance in the novel that ensues between Claire and her aspiring country singer love interest was easy going, offering plenty of feel good moments. When love enters the equation for Meghann it is a different experience. We feel the resistance, but eventually the ultimate surrender of Meghann to an unexpected lover. I enjoyed the development of this particular relationship. Hannah does a very good job of highlighting the difficult relationship between the sisters and their absent mother. While I detested this character, Hannah did a good job of lighting her up on the pages of this novel. Plenty of conflict and heartbreaking revelations come from this protagonist.
It takes an unexpected health crisis to truly break the ice between these two estranged sisters. How the leads come full circle due to the impact of this heartbreaking medical situation is the driving force behind the novel. Although it was upsetting and I very nearly did a shed a tear (rare for me), the way in which Hannah draws on issues of past hurts, bitterness, regret, failure, blame, misunderstanding, redemption and unconditional love moved me. It is emotional pathway to the end, but the tender resolution to this sentimental novel was gratifying.
A story of relationship repair, overcoming past difficulties, healing long standing rifts, acceptance, love and family support, Between Sisters is another absorbing story from one of my favourite international authors.
**** 4 stars
Between Sisters by Kristin Hannah was published on 30th August 2016 by Pan Macmillan. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of Between Sisters, Kristin Hannah, visit here.