Despite many negative reviews, I found BETWEEN SISTERS compelling. And I found Laural Merlington’s narration superb.
I think many of us who have sisters (or siblings) know how fragile those relationships can be, especially when you leave home and start your adult life. This is partly because when siblings are growing up together, the one thing they do NOT want is to be like each other. And so siblings will often carve out their niches in their family of origin in opposition to each other. The result is that siblings, even those close in age, have very different personalities. When they grow up and leave home it is hardly surprising that such different people end up leading very different lives, and I think the problem of “having nothing in common” with your sibling is quite a common one.
Such is true in Kristin Hannah’s BETWEEN SISTERS. Elder sister Meghann is the best divorce attorney in Seattle. Not surprisingly, her personal life is a wreck because she doesn’t trust anybody. Being a hot-shot lawyer means that Meghann has learned to act like a man. She complains like a man, she demands attention like a man, and she is blunt about her displeasure – like a man.
Younger sister Claire is a much softer personality. She is uncomfortable with the way sister Meghann dresses down anyone who displeases her. Claire likes to keep things quiet, pleasant, and is comfortable taking the blame on herself and not complaining (like too many women.)
The Past casts a long shadow over these sisters who haven’t had a relationship in decades, not since Meghann at the age of 13 ran away from Claire’s father who was trying to make a home for both girls. But Meghann was brilliant, and had enough sense (even at the age of 13) to call a teacher who believed in her. From then on, her life was set as she aced every test, got into college and then went to law school.
Meanwhile, sister Claire lived in the country, helping her father run a “resort” in a country town.
The closeness between the sisters begins when Claire announces she’s getting married. Of course, Meghann immediately thinks of prenups, but Claire makes clear that is NOT what she wants.
Then tragedy strikes.
What makes this novel so well-written IMHO is the way in which Kristin Hannah never gives you an info dump about The Past. Instead, she cuts up the various events into pieces and sprinkles it throughout the novel, until you have that ah-ha moment that makes the reading of this piece so pleasurable. Five stars.