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Good, but a bit too much religion for my liking
on 15 August 2011
This is the second of Diane Chamberlain's books that I've read, and whilst I most certainly enjoyed it, I didn't find it quite as compelling as `The Midwife's Confession.' This is possibly because of the religious overtones in the book (I'm an atheist) which at times I found to be a bit overdone and sometimes a bit preachy. If I'd been aware of the *vast* extent of the religious aspects before starting the novel, I might have opted to read one of her other books prior to this one instead, though undoubtedly I would have got around to this one eventually.
Niggles about religion aside, this was still a good read with a very detailed plot that really held my attention. Even after only reading two of her books, I've realised that Chamberlain has a knack for slowly unravelling the narrative bit by bit and really luring the reader into the heart of the story. Important details are revealed slowly and then little twists are dropped into the tale so that your previous impressions of characters have to be rethought out. I have to say that as a massive Picoult fan, Chamberlain possibly rivals her for character development as well which is no easy feat, so I am glad I have discovered her books!
This book is based around Rachel Huber, who returns to her hometown of Reflection to care for her ailing grandmother. Some twenty years previously a tragedy befell the town that the locals still blame Rachel for, and upon returning to Reflection, Rachel realises that she isn't as welcome as she'd hoped.
This is a story of compassion, guilt and secrets that are held by all of those in a small Pennsylvania town and has a nice romantic thread running through it as well, though this is again marred by the sanctimonious attitudes from Church elders that I found a bit irritating. Nevertheless, I would recommend it for fans of contemporary fiction and Picoult and Shreve fans.