I feel cheated. Between Sisters started off boring, but I held out hope that there might be some meaty, emotional issues to make the boring stuff worth it. Nope, just a little emotional manipulation and a convenient miracle. I could read Catherine Anderson for that.
Divorce attorney Meghan Dontess is the best at what she does. She earns hefty settlements for her clients, but has an empty personal life. After a near-tragedy following one of her cases, Meg’s partner forces her to take a vacation. Coincidentally, Meg’s sister, Claire, picks that time to fall in love and decide to get married – in 10 days. Meg takes her vacation time to go visit Claire and ends up planning the wedding.
The half-sisters have major issues to overcome courtesy of their emotionally distant, never-there-for-them mother. Left to raise Claire, Meg finally had to call Claire’s father for help. Unable to live with them, Meg left. Her leaving caused a rift in the relationship that neither sister has dealt with.
One of the nicer terms that can be applied to Meg is shark. She’s ruthless in her job and lonely in her personal life. Instead of looking for love, Meg seeks anonymous sex with guys she picks up in bars. It’s nice for the reader that the near-tragedy forces Meg to relax because it reveals her insecurity and softer human side. Meg also begins to develop feelings for one of her one-night-stands – a man named Joe. Joe gets under her skin, and she finds herself thinking about him more and more. She even reaches out to him.
Claire is the total opposite of Meg. A single mother who failed college, she runs a campground with her father in the country. Unlike the loner Meg, Claire has many friends and close ties in her small town. She wishes she and Meg were best friends as they used to be, but after years of being rebuffed, she sort of stops trying.
Okay, I admit it. My first thought was “Oh, been there, done that. They aren’t really sisters, Meg must really be Claire’s mother, not her sister.” I’m happy to report that I was wrong. I’d be happier if I could say that Meg and Claire really seem to resolve their issues, that they talk them out and come to a believable resolution. Nope. After all the talking about The Great Abandonment and how much it traumatized Claire, there didn’t seem to be anything deeper. Later on in the story a tragedy occurs in Claire’s life that pushed the boundaries of believability – only fans of the last-minute miracle will enjoy this while others are likely to see it as the author taking the easy way out.
Joe is the major secondary character. Joe also has a tragedy in his past, which is only vaguely referred to until the end of the book, in another instance of convenient timing.
The relationships explored in Between Sisters are too superficial to satisfy. There are some nice moments between Meg and Claire, Meg and her niece, Meg and Joe, and between Claire and her friends, but the problems encountered and their resolution don’t live up to the build up they receive. In the end I felt as though I’d wasted a week of my limited reading time. Don’t make the same mistake, at least at hardcover prices.