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Between Sisters: A Novel by [Kristin Hannah]
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Between Sisters: A Novel Kindle Edition

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Hannah is superb at delving into her main characters’ psyches and delineating nuances of feeling.”
—The Washington Post Book World

“Bestselling author Hannah writes witty dialogue . . . bringing snap and a lot of warmth to a familiar lesson: that contentment comes from accepting each other’s flaws.”
People

“ENORMOUSLY ENTERTAINING . . . Hannah has a nice ear for dialogue and a knack for getting the reader inside the characters’ heads.”
The Seattle Times

“[Hannah] writes of love with compassion and conviction.”
—LUANNE RICE, author of The Secret Hour



From the Paperback edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

CHAPTER ONE

Dr. Bloom waited patiently for an answer.

Meghann Dontess leaned back in her seat and studied her fingernails. It was time for a manicure. Past time. "I try not to feel too much, Harriet. You know that. I find it impedes my enjoyment of life."

"Is that why you've seen me every week for four years? Because you enjoy your life so much?"

"I wouldn't point that out if I were you. It doesn't say much for your psychiatric skills. It's entirely possible, you know, that I was perfectly normal when I met you and you're actually making me crazy."

"You're using humor as a shield again."

"You're giving me too much credit. That wasn't funny."

Harriet didn't smile. "I rarely think you're funny."

"There goes my dream of doing stand-up."

"Let's talk about the day you and Claire were separated."

Meghann shifted uncomfortably in her seat. Just when she needed a smart-ass response, her mind went blank. She knew what Harriet was poking around for, and Harriet knew she knew. If Meghann didn't answer, the question would simply be asked again. "Separated. A nice, clean word. Detached. I like it, but that subject is closed."

"It's interesting that you maintain a relationship with your mother while distancing yourself from your sister."

Meghann shrugged. "Mama's an actress. I'm a lawyer. We're comfortable with make-believe."

"Meaning?"

"Have you ever read one of her interviews?"

"No."

"She tells everyone that we lived this poor, pathetic-but-loving existence. We pretend it's the truth."

"You were living in Bakersfield when the pathetic-but-loving pretense ended, right?"

Meghann remained silent. Harriet had maneuvered her back to the painful subject like a rat through a maze.

Harriet went on, "Claire was nine years old. She was missing several teeth, if I remember correctly, and she was having difficulties with math."

"Don't," Meghann curled her fingers around the chair's sleek wooden arms.

Harriet stared at her. Beneath the unruly black ledge of her eyebrows, her gaze was steady. Small round glasses magnified her eyes. "Don't back away, Meg. We're making progress."

"Any more progress and I'll need an aid car. We should talk about my practice. That's why I come to you, you know. It's a pressure cooker down in Family Court these days. Yesterday, I had a deadbeat dad drive up in a Ferrari and then swear he was flat broke. The shithead. Didn't want to pay for his daughter's tuition. Too bad for him I videotaped his arrival."

"Why do you keep paying me if you don't want to discuss the root of your problems?"

"I have issues, not problems. And there's no point in poking around in the past. I was sixteen when all that happened. Now, I'm a whopping forty-two. It's time to move on. I did the right thing. It doesn't matter anymore."

"Then why do you still have the nightmare?"

She fiddled with the silver David Yurman bracelet on her wrist. "I have nightmares about spiders who wear Oakley sunglasses, too. But you never ask about that. Oh, and last week, I dreamed I was trapped in a glass room that had a floor made of bacon. I could hear people crying, but I couldn't find the key. You want to talk about that one?"

"A feeling of isolation. An awareness that people are upset by your actions, or missing you. Okay, let's talk about that dream. Who is crying?"

"Shit." Meghann should have seen that. After all, she had an undergraduate degree in psychology. Not to mention the fact that she'd once been called a child prodigy.

She glanced down at her platinum and gold watch. "Too bad, Harriet. Time's up. I guess we'll have to solve my pesky neuroses next week." She stood up, smoothed the pant legs of her navy Armani suit. Not that there was a wrinkle to be found.

Harriet slowly removed her glasses.

Meghann crossed her arms in an instinctive gesture of self-protection. "This should be good."

"Do you like your life, Meghann?"

That wasn't what she'd expected. "What's not to like? I'm the best divorce attorney in the state. I live--"

"--alone--"

"--in a kick-ass condo above the Public Market and drive a brand-new Porsche."

"Friends?"

"I talk to Elizabeth every Thursday night."

"Family?"

Maybe it was time to get a new therapist. Harriet had ferreted out all of Meghann's weak points. "My mom stayed with me for a week last year. If I'm lucky, she'll come back for another visit just in time to watch the colonization of Mars on MTV."

"And Claire?"

"My sister and I have problems, I'll admit it. But nothing major. We're just too busy to get together." When Harriet didn't speak, Meghann rushed in to fill the silence. "Okay, she makes me crazy, the way she's throwing her life away. She's smart enough to do anything, but she stays tied to that loser campground they call a resort."

"With her father."

"I don't want to discuss my sister. And I definitely don't want to discuss her father."

Harriet tapped her pen on the table. "Okay, how about this: When was the last time you slept with the same man twice?"

"You're the only one who thinks that's a bad thing. I like variety."

"The way you like younger men, right? Men who have no desire to settle down. You get rid of them before they can get rid of you."

"Again, sleeping with younger, sexy men who don't want to settle down is not a bad thing. I don't want a house with a picket fence in suburbia. I'm not interested in family life, but I like sex."

"And the loneliness, do you like that?"

"I'm not lonely," she said stubbornly. "I'm independent. Men don't like a strong woman."

"Strong men do."

"Then I better start hanging out in gyms instead of bars."

"And strong women face their fears. They talk about the painful choices they've made in their lives."

Meghann actually flinched. "Sorry, Harriet, I need to scoot. See you next week."

She left the office.

Outside, it was a gloriously bright June day. Early in the so-called summer. Everywhere else in the country, people were swimming and barbecuing and organizing poolside picnics. Here, in good ole Seattle, people were methodically checking their calendars and muttering that it was June, damn it.

Only a few tourists were around this morning; out-of-towners recognizable by the umbrellas tucked under their arms.

Meghann finally released her breath as she crossed the busy street and stepped up onto the grassy lawn of the waterfront park. A towering totem pole greeted her. Behind it, a dozen seagulls dived for bits of discarded food.

She walked past a park bench where a man lay huddled beneath a blanket of yellowed newspapers. In front of her, the deep blue Sound stretched along the pale horizon. She wished she could take comfort from that view; often, she could. But today, her mind was caught in the net of another time and place.

If she closed her eyes--which she definitely dared not do--she'd remember it all: the dialing of the telephone number, the stilted, desperate conversation with a man she didn't know, the long, silent drive to that shit-ass little town up north. And worst of all, the tears she'd wiped from her little sister's flushed cheeks when she said, I'm leaving you, Claire.

Her fingers tightened around the railing. Dr. Bloom was wrong. Talking about Meghann's painful choice and the lonely years that had followed it wouldn't help.

Her past wasn't a collection of memories to be worked through; it was like an oversize Samsonite with a bum wheel. Meghann had learned that a long time ago. All she could do was drag it along behind her.

Each November, the mighty Skykomish River strained against its muddy banks. The threat of flooding was a yearly event; in a dance as old as time itself, the people who lived in the tiny towns along the river watched and waited, sandbags at the ready. Their memory went back for generations. Everyone had a story to tell about the time the water rose to the second floor of so-and-so's house . . . to the top of the doorways at the grange hall . . . to the corner of Spring and Azalea Streets. People who lived in flatter, safer places watched the nightly news and shook their heads, clucking about the ridiculousness of farmers who lived on the flood plain.

When the river finally began to lower, a collective sigh of relief ran through town. It usually started with Emmett Mulvaney, the pharmacist who religiously watched The Weather Channel on Hayden's only big-screen television. He would notice some tiny tidbit of information, something even those hotshot meteorologists in Seattle had missed. He'd pass his assessment on to Sheriff Dick Parks, who told his secretary, Martha. In less time than it took to drive from one end of town to the other, the word spread: This year is going to be okay. The danger has passed. Sure enough, twenty-four hours after Emmett's prediction, the meteorologists agreed.

This year had been no exception, but now, on this beautiful early summer's day, it was easy to forget those dangerous months in which rainfall made everyone crazy.

Claire Cavenaugh stood on the banks on the river, her work boots almost ankle-deep in the soft brown mud. Beside her, an out-of-gas Weed Eater lay on its side.

She smiled, wiped a gloved hand across her sweaty brow. The amount of manual labor it took to get the resort ready for summer was unbelievable.

Resort.

That was what her dad called these sixteen ... --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

Product details

  • File Size: 1283 KB
  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (June 3, 2003)
  • Publication Date: June 3, 2003
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FBFNT2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,789 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

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Top international reviews

Audrey Haylins
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful story of reconciliation and healing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 12, 2018
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5.0 out of 5 stars This book was a wonderful read, it made me laugh and made me ...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling couldn't turn page quick enough
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3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable but harrowing
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lucky
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book as are most of Kristen Hannah Books
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5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and emotional
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5.0 out of 5 stars Get reading
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4.0 out of 5 stars The author
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Yvonne
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping read,at times I couldn't out it down. You might just need a tissue,there is also some where you can't help but smile. A book I can definitely recommend.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading
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