the never never sisters
   
Marriage counselor Paige Reinhardt is counting down the days to summer, eager to reconnect with her workaholic husband at their cozy rental cottage in the Hamptons. But soon a mysterious crisis at Dave’s work ruins their getaway plans. Paige is still figuring out how to handle the unexplained chill in her marriage when her troubled sister suddenly returns from a two-decade silence. Now, instead of enjoying the lazy summer days along the ocean, Paige is navigating the rocky waters of a forgotten bond with her sister in the sweltering city heat.
 
As she attempts to dig deeper into Dave’s work troubles and some long-held family secrets, Paige is shocked to discover how little she knows about the people closest to her. Is it worth risking your most precious relationships in order to find yourself?
My thoughts on THE NEVER NEVER SISTERS

Marriage counselor Paige Reinhardt is looking forward to spending time with her lawyer husband, Dave, at the cottage they’ve rented in the Hamptons.  However, in the blink of an eye Paige’s well ordered life and summer plans are thrown into disarray.  Dave is suspended for reasons he claims are unknown but continues to work from home.  He’s become secretive, almost obsessive.  To ice the cake her sister Sloane is scheduled to visit after a twenty year absence.

Paige is the narrator with occasional input from Vanessa, her and Sloane’s mother.  Despite being the main voice I didn’t know who Paige was until over half way through the book.  She seemed to reflect what others wanted from her or for her to be.

Paige and Sloane were fairly stereotypical in their familial roles.  Sloane, the hellion who gives her parents no end of grief.  Paige tries to make amends by being dutiful, amenable and never rocking the boat of family calm.  She’s relegated Sloane to a hidden place in her heart and mind.  Once Sloane arrives it’s obvious not much has changed in her relationship with her parents; however she makes a concerted effort to connect with Paige.

Paige and Dave are going through a tumultuous time in their marriage.  He’s shut her out, is acting strangely, and avoiding her attempts to ferret information.  Has he done something illegal?  Is he somehow involved in the huge insider trading scandal making news?  To distract herself Paige begins going through stored items removed from the spare room Dave is using as a home office.  In addition to her own journals she discovers the therapy journals her mother wrote when Sloane was sent to rehab the last time.  Vanessa’s journals reveal a side of her mother Paige could never have imagined.  Dave isn’t the only one with secrets.

The first half is slow going, none of the exposed secrets are unexpected and on the whole, THE NEVER NEVER SISTERS is fairly predictable.  Paige and Sloane are commonplace.  Their mother, Vanessa, is the one that intrigued me.  Vanessa’s past and thoughts, confessed in the journal snippets and her occasional input, reveal a complex person seriously underestimated, undervalued, and unknown by her daughters.  In my humble opinion neither Paige nor Sloane held a candle to Vanessa in terms of depth and strength of character.  Vanessa and her story, with Paige and Sloane in the lesser roles, would have made a more interesting read.

THE NEVER NEVER SISTERS would be an easy beach read.

3 stars

alison hellerL. Alison Heller grew up in Connecticut and attended Bates College in Maine. After graduation, she wandered dreamily around the eastern seaboard, temping and interning and shelving books before landing in Chapel Hill, North Carolina where she enrolled at the University of North Carolina School of Law. In 2000, she graduated from UNC with honors and moved to New York City and toiled in several law firms, growing increasingly nostalgic for those days of dreamy wandering. Alison opened her own family law and mediation practice in 2006 to help couples divorce with their sanity intact.
 
Alison is the author of THE LOVE WARS (Penguin NAL). Her second novel, THE NEVER NEVER SISTERS (Penguin NAL), is scheduled for June 2014. Alison currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with her family. 
Visit Alison Heller’s website: http://lalisonheller.com
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