Between Sisters
Kristin Hannah
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Buy *Between Sisters* online

Between Sisters
Kristin Hannah
448 pages
June 2004
rated 5 of 5 possible stars

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Between Sisters is for all those who have complicated love/hate relationships with their sisters. It explores all the blatant and subtle ways in which sisters can hurt or damage each other and, conversely, how they can nurture and nourish each other. Sisters can be either bitchy or supportive but when it comes down to the wire, your sibling can save you. Or hurt you forever. And sometimes you have to wade through the pain, bitterness, misunderstandings and failures to grow closer, become stronger and forge unbreakable bonds.

Kristin Hannah paints two very different sisters in this novel. The eldest, forty-two-year-old Meghan, is an overachiever, the classical stereotypical hard-working, driven, focused divorce lawyer who makes good money but lives an empty life which she fills with one-night stands. The younger sister, Clara, stays on in small-town Hayden with her father, Sam, and works on the resort-style cottages and land they own. All she does is work, but she feels loved and wanted by everyone, especially her father and her daughter, Alison.

As children, things were never stable and secure for the two girls. Meghan mostly raised Clara as their mother, a would-be-actress who finally landed some two-bit roles, had the habit of leaving the girls alone in their trailer. And when she was home, there were always male visitors, drinking and smoking. At sixteen, a frustrated Meghan left to feed, clothe and raise her younger sister, after her mother went on one of her Hollywood trips.

Meghan calls Claraís real father and her stepfather, and he drops everything and comes. Clara responds to him, but Meghan is distrustful and defiant of adults and acts out. Clara moves closer to Sam and they bond; Meghan decides to leave and make her own way. Her decision leaves her relationship with her sister an awkward, estranged one. Even though they talk on the phone, they cannot reach one another. Meghan is too critical, too ready to judge Claraís lifestyle, her job and her failed relationships.

But Clara has more than Meghan will have -- she has a group of friends from high school who call themselves "Blusers", and she has the unconditional love of her daughter and her fatherís support. Meghan, on the other hand, is in counseling, drinks too much and is called the "bitch" for her ruthlessness in handling divorce cases. After the bitter ex-husband of a satisfied client almost succeeds in killing her, Meghan runs to Clara to hide out.

They tiptoe around each other, discovering that they have absolutely nothing in common -- in fact, they barely like each other. What holds them together is the childhood they shared. Can it be enough to bring them together? Can this relationship be salvaged?

Kristin Hannah writes uses a strong foundation of family and blood ties to give this story life. It may be an old formula, but it still works because the struggles of the women -- what they wear, where they go and what they like -- are contemporary. Itís sweet, itís sad and itís funny. And it evokes values we hold so dear --- your family is your family; enough said..

© 2003 by Sonia Chopra for Curled Up With a Good Book

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