The Reunion by Roisin Meaney
|The Reunion by Roisin Meaney|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Judy Davies|
|Summary: A thought-provoking foray into sibling relationships and what it means to work through overwhelming life challenges. After a long period of separation, two sisters are re-united and realise that their sisterly bond remains strong, despite the tragedies they have both faced alone.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 432||Date: April 2017|
|Publisher: Hachette Books Ireland|
|External links: Author's website|
This is an emotional story about the lives of two Irish sisters, beginning with their invitation to attend a twenty year reunion back at their Convent High School. They are both unsure whether to go, their adult lives having veered off in totally different and dramatic directions since leaving school. We find out that the sisters have each suffered terrible life events, changing them for ever from the children they were. The story reveals how they begin to re-build their lives, supporting one another and becoming much closer in the process.
Moving between Ireland, England and Italy, Roisin Meaney sets the story beautifully with rich descriptions of family life in the three different countries. One sister is distressingly forced to move from Ireland when she is just a teenager. She ends up in England with only a distant relative to turn to, at a time when she needs her family most. Her suffering is palpable and leaps off the page through the skilfully crafted writing of Meaney. By contrast, the other sister stays in Ireland close to her family, marries early and starts a family. But she also faces tragedy and has a bitterly hard road to follow. This is an emotional book which hits home with a powerful message for all families, wherever they are.
Meaney draws the reader carefully into an understanding of what drives the sisters in the story. It is gently written, and this is a blessing because the subject matter is heart-rending. Luckily there are enough good characters to help us keep on reading. The good are so good you feel as if you could hug them. The bad so bad that you build up a substantial anger towards them! This is such a believable story it could easily be referring to people we actually know, which makes it feel almost biographical.
I particularly liked the way Meaney has allowed the reader to remain hopeful for a good outcome throughout the story. It moves along quite slowly and we have time to ponder the unfairness of life, soaking in the details and examining our own feelings had we been in a similar situation. There are contrasts drawn: the supportive family and friendship group in England versus the cold and distant family left behind in Ireland; the bravery of one sister, the despair of the other. The ability of the two sisters to grow closer and support each other over time, is ultimately the heart-warming bit.
I loved reading The Reunion with its real-life feel and positive outcome. If I were to make an observation it would be to know a little more about the two characters who made me feel so angry and repulsed. I liked the way Meaney tackled some of the issues facing young people in our modern world. She has a sensitivity which placed these issues, often just seen clinically on the news, into settings that we are all so familiar with. Our own neighbourhoods could also have spawned such stories, I'm sure.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Reunion by Roisin Meaney at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Reunion by Roisin Meaney at Amazon.com.
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