Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Never Never Sisters by L. Alison Heller

The Never Never Sisters.  L. Alison Heller. New American Library. June 2014. 352 pp.  ISBN#: 9780451416247.

Dave Reinhardt has been told to stay home from work until a storm in his company blows over. His wife, Paige, a marriage counselor, is totally unaware of the trouble brewing in her own marriage; instead she worries about Dave’s lack of communication and unstable emotional condition.  Paige wonders if this is another Bernie Madoff scandal in Dave’s company about to become public, with accompanying arrests and public denouncement a la media, which love a scandal that will guarantee comments galore.  Even if all is well, the implied crimes in the financial world just about guarantees the end of a bright, successful career.  But Dave is silent, shutting his door and shutting Paige out of whatever darkness may or may not exist in his career and thus perhaps their marriage.

Meanwhile, Paige’s sister, Sloane, has just reappeared after a twenty year absence.  Once a troubled addict and trouble-maker, Sloane has changed substantially, arriving with a fiancé and other friend but still dripping sarcasm or total boredom when with her mother, Vanessa.  As the novel progresses, Paige comes across her mother’s journals, written on the express direction of their therapist and which prove to be amazing revelations that belie the confident, assertive woman Paige knows.

Paige is also presently working with a couple who state they want to stay together and work on their marriage but whose body language, cancellations, and lack of response to direct or indirect questions indicates otherwise.  She finally realizes something about how troubled marriages can begin to work to renew their relationship but her advice in her own life isn’t proving to be as easily attainable!

Just how far will Paige go to finally discover what is really going on in Dave’s work world?  Do her acts indicate a lack of trust that could completely demolish the fragile state of their connection right now? Why is Sloane visiting and can Paige reestablish what was once a normal sisterly relationship?  They have more in common than either initially realizes.

The Never Never Sisters is a captivating read with enough complexity, wit and secret surprises to keep the reader flipping the pages to discover more.  L. Alison Heller shows a remarkable perception about people that is the highlight of this novel, moving the reader through issues that every reader recognizes to some extent!  Very nicely crafted story, L. Alison Heller!

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