14 May 2009

Book Review: How to Survive Your Sisters by Ellie Campbell

** Read our exclusive interview with Ellie Campbell here **

howtosurviveyoursisterselliecampbellThe MacLeod sisters are all incredibly different, and boy don't they know it. Eldest sister Avril is a successful Hollywood agent, choosing to live life mainly away from her family with the high-flying lead actors and actresses of the film industry. Milly, a mum of 3 is constantly putting on a happy front to her sisters but is desperate to lose weight and get rid of her maternity jogging bottoms for good.

Bride-to-be Natalie is determined to be welcomed into the Potterton-Smythe's family and that her wedding is going to be absolutely perfect, and baby sister Hazel can't seem to settle anywhere, instead choosing to backpack around the world although she feels at 30 she should be starting to put down roots.

But the MacLeod's are about to get a big wake up call, throwing all the sisters closer together than they've been in years. But are family squabbles and hidden secrets just going to break the bonds of sisterhood even further?

This is definitely a book that falls into the chick-lit genre but it is a really enjoyable high quality story that really draws the reader in and keeps you engrossed until you turn the final pages! I was a bit concerned that with 4 main characters the story would be too busy and confusing, but the author has been very clever and centred the story around Natalie's wedding with smaller sub-stories carrying on around this. Being written in the third person, the book makes it easy to follow 4 different people throughout the book and its also easy to identify which of the characters we are following at any said time in the book. Within the first few pages of the book I was hooked, and the twists and turns throughout the whole book kept me up late some nights as I was desperate to find out what was going to happen next to the MacLeod sisters!

You can tell that the book has been written by someone who has experience of being a sister, and this is definitely the case with 'Ellie Campbell'! In fact, the author is not just one person, it is written by 2 sisters, Pam Burks and Lorraine Campbell, and for a debut novel, this is brilliant. The way the relationships between the sisters is written is so believable that you can tell they have probably drawn on their own experiences with some of the things that happen to the girls in this book! What I really enjoyed is how the dynamics of the relationships changed between all the sisters, for example Milly was very close to Hazel and Avril whereas Natalie was much more stand-offish and seemed to care more about her in-laws-to-be than her blood family. But the immediate change of dynamic around halfway through kept it really interesting, yet it seemed really natural and a good progression for the book.

What I really enjoyed about the book though was definitely the realism throughout. You could definitely believe in all of the scenarios the women found themselves in and although I couldn't personally relate to them, you can definitely believe in it. Each of the sisters seem to represent an area of society these days, from those women scared to settle down and have children, to those married with a few children yet with a hidden sadness. Possibly the character I liked most was Milly, who is trying to juggle too many balls and you can see one of them is going to drop. She's a very likeable character, one I warmed to instantly and to be honest I wish she had featured more in the book, as the other 3 sisters were definitely more prominent that her. The others were nice enough but had their dislikeable characteristics too.

This is definitely a book I would recommend to anyone who is a fan of the "chick-lit" genre because this is definitely on the upper end of quality without a doubt! It's a highly enjoyable story with lots of elements that when combined create an atmospheric and realistic book, focussing on sisterly relationships as well as the darker sides to family life as well. Big issues are covered in this book from alcoholism to body image to motherhood and it'll definitely appeal to anybody. For a debut novel, this is brilliant and I look forward to reading more books by this sisterly duo. Fantastic stuff!

Rating: 5/5

No comments:

Post a Comment