Cathy Kelly is gifted at delivering feelgood fiction mixed with contemporary issues, making her a bestselling author many times over. I saved Between Sisters for when I needed something light, warm and easy to read, and for the most part that’s exactly what I got.
Here’s the blurb:
Cassie has spent her married life doing everything right – making sure her children have the perfect life, being a devoted wife and a dutiful daughter-in-law. Although it’s left her so exhausted that ‘wine o’clock’ comes a little earlier each afternoon… Her sister Coco runs a vintage dress shop and has shied away from commitment over the years. Coco believes men complicate things, and she’s got enough to contend with. Until a face from her past returns.Watching over them is grandmother Pearl, tucked away in her little house in Delaney Square. But something is keeping her awake at night. Was she right to do what she did all those years ago?And then there’s Elsa, the polished face of daytime TV, who’s battled demons of her own in the past and come out on top. Now Elsa faces one final fight – but it will require more bravery than anything which has come before.
In its simplest form, Between Sisters looks at what happens when daughters are denied a mother. How does it impact them? It’s always been interesting to me how people raised in the same household, with the same circumstances, can turn out so differently. The novel introduces a wide range of characters to back up the central theme, showing the flow-on effect of what happened to Cassie and Coco when they were young: Red, Coco’s ex-lover, was pushed away by Coco and is now back in the picture; Shay, Cassie’s husband, is resented by Cassie for spending too much time with his demanding mother. While this illustrated how consequences can reverberate through generations, I felt that there were too many characters’ viewpoints overall; some seemed superfluous to the story. What this meant was that it took longer for me to engage with the story. Eventually, everything connected and I was drawn into the tale.
Overall, a warm and thoughtful novel, but it didn’t resonate with me as much as some of Kelly’s previous novels have done.
Available from good bookstores (RRP $29.99). My copy was courtesy of Hachette.
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David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television