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Customer Review

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not my favourite book of hers (3.5 stars), 30 Aug. 2011
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This review is from: Brass Ring (Kindle Edition)
I enjoyed this book but as one of the earlier reviewers has commented, this book was slightly more predictable than some of her other efforts. On a personal level I also felt that I didn't engage with these characters as much as I have with her other creations in the past and the storyline just wasn't as compelling.

The book focuses on two estranged sisters. Firstly there is the ever optimistic Claire, a director of a rehabilitation centre and with a seemingly perfect life and marriage. On the other end of the spectrum is bristly Vanessa, a doctor who is struggling to get over the traumatic events of her childhood that have seemingly marked her beyond measure. When Claire encounters a jumper from a bridge and is unable to save her, it seems to cause the emergence of memories that she has long since repressed, which threatens to destroy everything she holds dear.

As an author, Diane Chamberlain excels in slowly unravelling the narrative piece by piece, and because this story is told from the point of view of both Vanessa and Claire, you can see the story from two different perspectives which adds an interesting dimension to the proceedings as well as two opposing emotional viewpoints. I did find that the little twists in this story weren't quite as clever as in her previous books, but this was still a very readable family drama.

For me though, I really found it hard to empathise with Claire- her perpetual optimism and insistence on brushing everything under the carpet was so irritating and if I'm honest, a bit unbelievable. I actually preferred Vanessa, who although she came across as a harsher, colder person was a bit less two-dimensional. Whilst this book is also able to portray the relationships between an able bodied person and a person in a wheelchair, I would have personally liked to see a bit more about how Claire and her husband got together and some of the earlier struggles that they faced- though the author did write a bit about it I felt it was a little bit glossed over in places and could have been expanded upon more.

Nevertheless, for fans of Jodi Picoult or Kristin Hannah, I think this is a book that would be really enjoyed. As far as contemporary fiction goes, Chamberlain is one of the best authors out there and I would highly recommend `The Midwife's Confession' and `Before The Storm' as some of her stronger novels.
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Location: United Kingdom

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