Rarely do I get to read emotional family dramas in my books for review. It has nothing to do with my dislike for them—I find them fascinating, because they reflect reality a great deal—but more to do with the randoms election of books that crosses my desk. So when I got a chance to read Rebecca Marsh’s The Rift Between Us, I was very pleased. There is just something about examining real life problems through the lens of fiction that appeals greatly. This book was precisely the means to do just that.
1. Thoughts on the plot
Now, compared to many of the fantasy and science fiction books that I read, this book’s plot is relatively calm. There are three sisters, Maria, Lauren and Avery, and they do not particularly get along with one another. Their father dies suddenly, and the sisters discover that in order to inherit their father’s estate, they must spend two weeks in a cabin together to try and mend fences. This brings up difficult conversations about each other’s lives, and eventually the secrets they share must come out.
I can’t tell you a whole lot about the individual secrets, as that would involve spoilers, but I can say that these problems mirror some that many people have. There are issues of health, of marriage difficulties, of anxiety and other things that, unfortunately, are very common. I think that the way in which these problems examined, and the conversations between the sisters, really made this plot shine. It involved simple steps, really, but those are often the hardest to take and I think it worked out really well. Even if the plot was relatively sedate, I think it worked perfectly for this book, because it is the characters and their development that matters
2. Thoughts on the characters
I found each of the three sisters to be very real, in their own way. They built their lives around their relative issues, and I think that this could have gone poorly if the issues were the only things that the characters felt. However, each sister had their own quirks, their own interests, their own personalities that managed to transcend their issues and ultimately let them come together in a way that only family can really achieve.
Again, I cannot say a whole lot about the individual issues, since that would involve spoilers, but I can say that they felt very real, and the reactions to them felt very real. I think Lauren was the one to whom I related the most, but Avery’s personality felt the most intense and popped off the page. Maria was the steady character, even with her own problems, and I think she was the one that really held this book together.
3. Favourite part
I don’t know if I have a favourite part. There was much in this book that drew my attention, from the description of the scenery to the ideas portrayed through art. The sensory details, I think, really made this book what it is.
This is more a personal preference sort of thing, but Blake, when he does the thing that I can’t tell you about because of spoilers, really irked me. I know that a lot of people feel this way regarding such problems as Lauren’s difficulties bring up, but it infuriates me to no end. Yes, it all turned out well, and I appreciate that greatly, but coming from a place where he had experience with such a thing, I think Blake should have been more understanding. Then again, I have a personal bias on this issue, as I have my own problems similar to Lauren’s (though not as extreme).
Overall, I think The Rift Between Us did really well in exploring the bonds between family and how they can fray, but still remain strong. I think that it mirrored life really well and I appreciate the honest discussion that was had. I think this book was really stunning on the emotional level and it is likely one that will stick with me for a while. A good book.