15 October 2013

Book Review: The Reunion by Amy Silver

"They thought they'd be friends forever.

Jen, Andrew, Lilah, Natalie and Dan were inseparable at university, but in the seventeen years since they left they have hardly seen each other. Until Jen invites them all to stay at her house in the French Alps. The house where they once spent a golden summer before tragedy tore them apart.

When a snowstorm descends, they find themselves trapped and forced to confront their unresolved issues, frustrated passions and broken friendships. And as relationships shift and marriages flounder, the truth about what really happened years before is slowly revealed. And Jen realises that perhaps some wounds can never be healed..."

Rating: 5/5

You can buy The Reunion as a paperback or an eBook now.

I've been a big fan of Amy Silver's previous books, in particular her festive releases All I Want For Christmas and One Minute to Midnight so I was really pleased to see that Amy was finally back this year. However, when I saw the cover and read the synopsis, I could see straight away that this was going to be a different book, a more serious story with a new cover look to go with it, so I was interested to see how this book would fare with me. It was quite a big book at over 400 pages, but despite a slightly slow start, I soon found myself absorbed in The Reunion, and I definitely think it's a must-read this year.

Despite having been the bestest of friends at University, Jen and her friends haven't seen each other for years, and many of them seem happy to keep it that way. Jen decides that it has to change and invites the group back to her home in the French Alps, determined to sort through their issues once and for all. However, a snowstorm appears out of the blue and the friends find themselves stuck at the house, despite more than one of them wanting to leave. It forces the friends to talk about things that some of them would rather forget, and to try and work through them once and for all. Jen realises maybe she made a mistake in forcing them all together to try and be friends, and that maybe some of the relationships are broken beyond repair.

As I mentioned, I did find the start a little slow. It took a little while to get going, and I found my attention drifting a bit, but having loved Amy's previous books, I was determined to stick with it and I am really pleased that I did. I liked the way things are a bit of a mystery until a fair way into the book, although I had a guess at what had happened and I was right. The book starts in the present day, with Jen awaiting the arrival of her friends, but quickly chops and changes as the book progresses. We have three different time periods in the book; present day, what happened in the past and things that happen after the friends have been reunited. It wasn't confusing, as it's quite clear what is happening when, and I enjoyed the interludes of the emails and letters between the friends before and after the incident too.

The friends are all very different, and I warmed to them all in different ways. Jen was a bit of a strange one for me. I didn't dislike her as such, but I didn't hugely like her either. She had her heart in the right place and wanted the best for her friends, but she did seem a bit weak overall. I really liked Natalie and her husband Andrew, both haunted by the past but trying to be good parents to their girls, and it's Natalie who really isn't interested in the reunion. There's full of life Lilah, who seems happy enough on the outside, hot-shot screenwriter and director Dan, and then there's Conor. All very different characters in differing circumstances, and it's fascinating to read the differences between them from when they were young and carefree to the present day and the effect that their joint past had had on them all.

This was quite a gritty novel, and it progressed to the final quarter of the book, it took a hugely surprising turn yet again, and Silver totally threw me in an unexpected direction. It certainly does pull at your heartstrings and I was surprised with the emotional turns it took. I loved how Silver realistically explored friendships, how fragile they are and how easily they can break, and that they can't magically be healed overnight - some things just can't be forgotten. It shows the story from all the different perspectives, how what happened affected each of these people, and the struggles they had to get their lives back on track. It wasn't an easy read but with a great setting of a beautiful French home, interesting characters to read about and a story you won't want to put down,  Amy Silver has written it all into this book and I really loved it. It's totally different from her previous novels, but I liked her more serious, gritty turn. A fabulous read for these chilly autumnal nights.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds fantastic, yet another one for the wish list!