Category: Diane Chamberlain

The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

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My Rating: 4/5

Availability: Hardback, Audio, Paperback (15.01.15), Kindle, Kobo and Nook

Synopsis: WHAT IF EVERYTHING YOU BELIEVED TURNED OUT TO BE A LIE? Riley MacPherson is returning to her childhood home in North Carolina. A place that holds cherished memories. While clearing out the house she finds a box of old newspaper articles – and a shocking family secret begins to unravel. Riley has spent her whole life believing that her older sister Lisa died tragically as a teenager.

But now she’s starting to uncover the truth: her life has been built on a foundation of lies, told by everyone she loved. Lisa is alive. Alive and living under a new identity. But why exactly was she on the run all those years ago, and what secrets are being kept now? As Riley tries to separate reality from fiction, her discoveries call into question everything she thought she knew about her family. Can she find the strength inside herself to decide her future.

My Review:  Riley MacPherson is the lead in this latest release from Diane Chamberlain. Riley is making her way back to North Carolina to sort out her father’s house shortly after he passes away. Whilst she is there she tries to communicate more with her elder brother Danny, who is practically a recluse. Having served and been severely injured in the war, Danny is a very difficult character to read. Riley’s elder sister Lisa is something of a taboo subject. All Riley grew up knowing was that her oldest sibling had committed suicide. However, when she starts organising things at her Dad’s house, she starts to realise that wasn’t the case.

Riley soon starts to uncover many secrets and the biggest one would be that her sister may still be alive. I wouldn’t say I instantly liked Riley, but her and her brother Danny were intriguing and made me want to read about them more. Like many others their family was a dysfunctional one and I wanted Danny and Riley to talk again. The story shows early on that there are many layers to the various stories and each one brings another emotional dilemma.

The really nice thing that I loved about this book was that nothing is ‘prettied up’, neither is it written without empathy. I really felt for the various situations Riley found herself in. There is also an extremely subtle thread of imminent danger to various characters which made the story that little bit more edgy. DC is also not afraid to touch on subjects that aren’t always easy to discuss, but does so with her beautiful writing skill in a way which is just perfect for the storyline. It was certainly a book that I didn’t want to put down that’s for sure. There was only one minor thing which threw it away from a 5 star read and that was the ending. Although I have since thought about it and I’m not sure any other ending would have fitted any better. I think the position Riley finds herself in the very end is just a sad ending maybe (I’m still not sure why I felt like that). Aside from that another wonderfully captivating read from Diane Chamberlain.

Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain

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My Rating: 5/5

Synopsis: North Carolina, 1960. Newlywed Jane Forrester, fresh out of university, is seeking what most other women have shunned: a career. But life as a social worker is far from what she expected. Out amongst the rural Tobacco fields of Grace County, Jane encounters a world of extreme poverty that is far removed from the middle-class life she has grown up with. But worse is still to come. Working with the Hart family and their fifteen-year-old daughter Ivy, it’s not long before Jane uncovers a shocking secret, and is thrust into a moral dilemma that puts her career on the line, threatens to dissolve her marriage, and ultimately, determines the fate of Ivy and her family forever. Soon Jane is forced to take drastic action, and before long, there is no turning back.

My Review: I was unsure whether I would take to this book, especially since the setting is in rural North Carolina in the 1960’s. This was a time when race was divided and although we are now in the 20th century, racism is sadly still an issue for some in that part of the world. For that reason, I was undecided as to whether I really wanted to read this, but having read other DC books and loved them I started. I was pleased I made that choice as Diane Chamberlain has created a book that tells a story, and just that. She doesn’t sensationalise anything about it, but creates a story that will maybe make readers aware of the struggles that went on at that time.

Jane Forrester is far from the norm’ in the sixties as she is determined that although she is newly married, she still wants to have a career. I liked Jane and DC did an amazing job of recreating the unease that people felt in the sixties when women working was out of the ordinary. Very quickly we see Jane start her job as a social worker and are instantly taken into the world of the poorest people that are working in the tobacco fields. Ivy Hart is a young girl and lives with her Grandmother and sister. It took me not time to be transported to the conditions and type of life they had to lead.

As the story unfolds and we meet more workers and we begin to see the effects of the Eugenics Programme which was widely used in the sixties, and something I had never heard of until reading this book. As the book progresses you begin to see that there is a lot more to it that at first glance. The story peels back layers and weaves an absolutely gripping storyline making it impossible to stop reading. It’s a pretty sad story in one respect but one which had an absolutely amazing ending and a story that I loved from start to finish. Diane Chamberlain has singled herself out as an outstanding author by touching the reader emotionally, but at the same time still producing an amazing story which highlights historical events that some people may know nothing about.

This may not be for everybody as the subject matter may be too sensitive for some, but I found it absolutely gripping and would highly recommend it. It’s a book that will have remain in my memory banks for some time and I think if you haven’t read it you should certainly give it a try.

The Lost Daughter by Diane Chamberlain

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My Rating: 4/5

I only read my first Diane Chamberlain book a few months ago (shocking I know) however loved the book and decided to go back to a couple of her older books I had on my Kindle. The Lost Daughter synopsis sounded intriguing. In 1977, pregnant Genevieve Russell disappeared but twenty years later, her body is found and Timothy Gleason is charged with murder. The unborn child is not found with Genevieve’s body.

Ceeee Wilkes knows how Genevieve Russell died, because she was there. And she also knows what happened to the missing infant, because two decades ago she made the devastating choice to raise the baby as her own. Now Timothy Gleason is facing the death penalty, and she has another choice to make. Tell the truth and destroy her family. Or let an innocent man die to protect a lifetime of lies.

I have to be honest and say that it took me a few chapters to get into the story but once there I was hooked. We meet CeeCee when she is young and naïve and working in a local diner. I immediately took a dislike to a young Tim Gleason but could see where the story was taking me. We get to see CeeCee as a young girl who makes a lot of bad decisions. The story is pretty compelling and even at the start of the book I wanted to slap some sense into this young girl who had no idea she was being taken advantage of.

The story is told over the course of many years and we see CeeCee raise Genevieve’s daughter as her own (don’t worry that’s in the synopsis so is not a spoiler). What the book manages to achieve is the questions that the reader begins to ask themselves. The story touches on many subjects without the author leaning either way based on her own personal opinion. I found myself questioning what I would have done in CeeCee’s position. All I can tell you is that my answer had changed some what at the end of the book, to what it was at the start.

The characters are very believable and I found myself really empathising with them. BY the time I reached the end I was surprised at how quickly I had become engrossed and how short a time it had taken me to read. I actually gave up on DC books a year ago as I found I couldn’t get into them. I’m glad I persevered months later as I have enjoyed the books I have read so far and really look forward to reading another one. This particular book, though enjoyable, wasn’t as good as her most recent release The Good Father but I would still recommend it.

The Good Father by Diane Chamberlain

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My Rating: 5/5

I will be totally honest! I tried reading a Diane Chamberlain a while back but a few chapters in, I wasn’t getting into it very much. I put the book back and it still remains in my never ending list of books to read. With that in mind, when I looked at this new release The Good Father I wasn’t altogether that excited about reading it. Although I never let things like that put me off and boy am I glad that I didn’t.

When I read the synopsis I really felt drawn to read the book and took this as a good sign.

In the beginning of the book we meet Travis a young father bringing up his adorable four year old little girl Bella. To be frank, that seems to be all we know early on in the book. Travis leaves his little girl in the hands of a lady named Erin, a woman who he had only met a week before. Many people may think that the instant reaction to Travis would be one of disgust, but in all honesty it is more like intrigue. It is clear from the outset that Diane Chamberlain can write in that magical way which manages to convey real emotion and you can see that this is a man that adores his child. So why would he leave her? With that question in my mind I continued to read at an alarming rate.

We get to see glimpses of the people featuring in this story as their lives progress and as time goes on we see how they are all interlinked. The characters all have a past and each has their own haunting story which has got them to their current situation. Each character drew me in and I was so engrossed that dinner was left unattended and my husband got a Pot Noodle for dinner! As the story picks up pace, we see Travis making more and more stupid mistakes and my heart goes out to him.

Although this book will be generalised as a chick lit book, I think there is a lot more to the story that the cover suggests. There is quite a bit of suspense surrounding the story and it keeps on your toes from cover to cover. When the ending came I was so pleased that I had picked this book up. The additional bonus for me was the epilogue that the author had added, which isn’t always done. In this case it was the perfect finish for me and answered all those questions I had about what had happened to everybody. I cannot recommend this book highly enough, it was an absolutely brilliant read and for anybody that likes authors like Susan Lewis, this will be right up your street.