Monday, 4 July 2016

Book Review - "The Reunion" by Roisin Meaney.



I received a copy of  this title, via netgalley.com, for review purposes...


Opening a school reunion invitation brings feelings of uncertainty for sisters, Caroline and Eleanor Plunkett.  Do they want to return to their past?  Caroline is now a successful designer, splitting her time between the UK and Italy.  Eleanor is stuck in a rut, overweight and struggling to connect with her husband and son.  Both women may have been born to the same parents, but their lives began to split while they were still in their teens.  Can facing up to the past help them improve their present, or is going back the wrong thing to do?

It's funny how two siblings can end up in completely different situations.  Caroline was the studious one, destined for a career in academia,  whilst younger sister Eleanor was the more fun-loving of the two; more interested in her boyfriend and having a laugh with her mates.  However, one fateful evening changes their paths in life.  Caroline soon finds herself pushed away from the family home and Eleanor's boyfriend dashes all hopes for her own future.  In the midst of all this change is the girls mother, who is more concerned with the goings-on of her neighbours than of her own two daughters.  Secrets are kept, lies are told and damage is done.

Roisin Meaney has a way of telling a story that makes you feel like you are in a room with the characters, hearing them chat to each other, rather than reading words on a page.  From very early on in the novel, there is a feeling of genuine concern as to how these two girls will handle their own stories.  Caroline is the victim of the most despicable crime, yet is treated as if she is to blame.  Her mother takes control of the situation and God help anyone who tries to object.  A distance cousin, Florence, steps up to the plate and becomes Caroline's saviour.  A wonderfully warm and quirky character, she has a delightful presence throughout the novel.  Back in Ireland, Eleanor is weighed down with personal grief and is scared to face up to her past.  Her story is addressed further into the book, with memories unfolding which help to explain her distance.  

The Reunion is a book about families and how they can sometimes be fractured and displaced.  The keeping of secrets, the hiding of home-truths and the attempt at showing a united front are not always the right approach to take.  Most families have drama within their folds.  Sometimes admitting your flaws is the only way to gain solidarity.  By using two sisters, both with hidden traumas, the author has created a novel which is both endearing and astute.  The dual time frame is very cleverly used and every single character adds something to the overall narrative.  Florence is fantastic and her group of older-generation friends are a breath of fresh air.  Her bijoux cottage sounds like a place that we would all love to visit, with its mis-matched decor and charity shop finds.  Added to the narrative are Caroline's trips to Italy, with its stunning surroundings, warm family get-togethers and an air of change.

It's easy to see why Roisin Meaney is one of Ireland's best-loved authors.  She has a way of bringing her characters to life, making them part of your world as you move from chapter to chapter.  Should you spot this on a bookshelf, grab a copy.  This is what female fiction is all about.




The Reunion is published by Hachette Ireland and is available in TBP and ebook version.  You can order your copy, with Free Worldwide Postage and 13% discount, HERE.
The ebook version can be purchased via amazon link below:

1 comment:

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