On Diane Chamberlain and finding and falling for established authors

You’re not going to believe this, but I have read four Diane Chamberlain books since the start of the year (and that doesn’t even include the two novellas I also read). Don’t you find that sometimes you just suddenly find an author and want to keep reading everything he or she has ever written? It’s so exciting when you discover they have a huge backlist you can go through.

Here’s a summary of what I’ve read:

The Silent Sister

This was the first Diane Chamberlain title I picked up. It had everything a good story needs; an interesting story line, likeable characters and a mystery. The main character, Riley, had always believed her sister committed suicide as a teenager, but suddenly it becomes clear that isn’t the case. Where is she? Why did she run? The story was actually entirely predictable – it was clear what was going to happen very early on. For me though, this didn’t detract from the enjoyment. I became emotionally invested in the characters and wanted to know more!

I didn’t want come to the end of this book, so I read it slowly to enjoy every bit.  As soon as I finished, I went straight to the library shelves and borrowed as many Diane Chamberlain books as I could find.

Reflection

After reading The Silent Sister and the blurb for Reflection, I thought I wasn’t going to like this one so much, but I was pleasantly surprised. Reflection is set in Pennsylvania Dutch country and is the story of Rachel, who is returning home after 20 years away. She is the one person most of the town blames for a tragedy that happened before she left.

I loved the descriptions of the surrounding countryside and the small-town way of life. Even the minor characters were well thought out, even though you only get to meet them briefly.

Reflection deals with some heavier issues – particularly those of returning war veterans – which added some real depth to the story.

Pretending to Dance

Pretending to Dance is really interesting, a story that switches between the main character as an adult, and her perspective when she was a child. I found you could really sense the child that she had been in the adult text, if that makes sense, and I loved that we were given the child’s perspective.

This one is a family saga about a couple living in San Diego. They are trying to adopt a baby and the process they must go through is fascinating. The book asked that interesting question – would you want your adopted child to be able to contact their birth parent and vice versa?

The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes

I thought I wouldn’t be able to read this one. The main character, CeeCee is young and gullible, easily convinced by her older partner that she should participate in a kidnapping. The story felt a bit typical, and predictable. It didn’t matter though because I already felt a vested interest in CeeCee and I liked the character so much I had to keep going. It was worth it!

I read two novellas as well! The Broken String – a prequel to The Silent Sister and The Dance Begins – a prequel to Pretending to Dance. Even though I’d read the books, I loved them so much I just had to know more, so I was happy to find these forerunners online.

So, why do I like Diane Chamberlain so much? I’ve read some Lesley Pearce books and other authors who write in a similar style, and they’re okay. I think what makes Chamberlain stand out though is that she has developed her characters so well and you just have to find out what happens to them.

Amanda asked me which was my favourite, and it’s so hard to choose, but I think it was Pretending to Dance. They were all really good though!

Diane isn’t a literary author, so don’t go into her books thinking it will be like that, they’re very light and easy to read. Great if you just want a quick escape!

Jody

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