29 October 2016

Blog Tour Book Review: Between Sisters by Cathy Kelly

"Cassie has spent her married life doing everything right - making sure her children have the perfect life, being a devoted wife to her husband and a dutiful daughter-in-law to his mother, even when her patience has been tested. Although it has left her so exhausted that 'wine o'clock' comes a little earlier each afternoon. But she wouldn't change a thing, she's certain, until temptation comes her way...

Her sister Coco runs a vintage dress shop and sure, she's shied away from commitment over the years. It's just that Coco believes men complicate things more than necessary, and she's got enough to contend with looking after her business and her staff, who seem to rely on her more and more for relationship advice. But who is she to give advice, when her own life is so simple?

Watching over them is grandmother Pearl, tucked away in her little house in Delaney Square with her chickens, busy with her poker club and a secret lover. But something is keeping her awake at night. Was she right to do what she did all those years ago? Surely, if she were right, she wouldn't be thinking about it so often now...?

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 battle - but this one will require more bravery than anything that's come before."

Rating: 4/5

I'm a fan of Cathy Kelly's book, and was very pleased to be asked to be part of her blog tour for her brand new book Between Sisters. The paperback release sees a new cover look for Cathy, and I actually really like this one, its simplistic but eye-catching. This story centres around one family - the Keneally's. Grandmother Pearl is the matriarch of the family, and has brought up her granddaughters Coco and Cassie by herself after their mother disappeared when they were very young. But the girl's lives aren't exactly plain-sailing at the moment. Cassie's relationship with her husband is going from bad to worse, Coco is working away in her vintage shop, having left behind the one relationship that could have turned into her happy ever after, and Pearl is hiding a secret she knows she can't reveal. Are the Keneally sisters going to be able to move through their bad time and into a happier future?

I love books centred around families, so this one really appealed to me from the beginning. At first, we just meet Coco and Cassie, and spend time between their two stories, but as the book progresses, we meet more characters who become involved with the women. The focus, however, stays on Coco and Cassie, and how their past and the abandonment by their mother has affected them. For some, this will be a bit cliché, with the story being a bit predictable and I could see the end coming as I read, but it didn't stop my enjoyment of the book because I sometimes like a story where I can see a happy ending coming!

Coco and Cassie were very different characters, but I found myself warming to Coco more. She was more likeable in my eyes, scared of making a commitment after having her heart-broken before, but strong when she needed to be. There is a sub-plot involving Coco's best friend Jo and her young daughter, and this was a really enjoyable part of the story for me. Cathy Kelly writes these relationships really well, and how it progressed felt really believable. It was emotional, and tackled some strong issues very well.

Cassie, on the other hand, I found it harder to like. She struggles more with the abandonment of her mother, as she was older when her mother left, and this really affects her as an adult, perhaps more than realises. Her husband Shay is quite beholden to his own mother, and the angle this story takes is very interesting. I think I sided with Cassie here, because his actions did start to become unacceptable, but I did feel sorry for Shay too as he was being pulled in two very different directions. Again, this part of the book was very emotive, Cassie really struggles to deal with what is happening in her marriage, but I found myself rooting for the pair to work it out, and put their family back together again. She relies heavily on her grandmother Pearl, who is a typical older wise grandmother character, but I really enjoyed her advice, and Pearl's own story too.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable book, but not my favourite of Cathy Kelly's. As I said, it felt quite predictable almost from the beginning, you could sense how things were going to end up, and although I enjoyed that, there will be readers out there who prefer to go into a book which is a little less predictable. However, what this book has is the heart of Cathy Kelly's writing - warmth, love and heart, it's all of these things which make Cathy's books so readable, and enjoyable. The characters were interesting to read about, the setting was just right for the book, and it was a very enjoyable read from start to finish. Recommended.

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