Tuesday 27 January 2015

Book ~ "Brass Ring" (2010) Diane Chamberlain

From Goodreads ~ Claire Harte-Mathias is an infinitely capable solver of other people's problems. Along with her husband, she has established a prestigious foundation to aid in the rehabilitation of people with spinal cord injuries. Training therapists, counseling patients and conducting workshops keeps Claire busy, fulfilled, and happy. It is a life she wouldn't trade for anything ... and one that is about to fall apart. 

One snowy night, Claire tries and fails to prevent a tragedy from occurring. The incident at first obsesses her, then seems to trigger something deep in her soul. Soon she is haunted by momentary disturbing visions - terrifying images that are vaguely familiar, yet unexplainable. Slowly Claire comes to realize that the pictures are, in fact, fragmented and forgotten memories of her childhood - a childhood she has always remembered as close to perfect. While part of her wants to see where these memories will lead her, another part wants only to run from them, to bury them once again. 

Confused and frightened, Claire is caught up in a complex and devastating struggle between yesterday and today; between the man who wants to help her and the husband who cannot; between terrible secrets and life-altering revelations. In her fight to uncover and accept the truth, Claire discovers that the past, present, and future are intertwined in a way she can never change ... or forget.

Claire and her husband, Jon, who is in a wheelchair, have been together since were 17 (they are now about 40).  While they are heading home after a conference, Claire sees a woman named Margot about to jump off a bridge so she stops to try and save her.  After this incident, Claire becomes obsessed with the woman and needs to make sense of why she would consider suicide.  This triggers nightmares and hallucinations for Claire.  She had a happy childhood so she knows it can't be memories she is reliving.  She becomes friends with Randy, Margot's brother, and it's him she turns to to help her figure out what's happening to her.

Vanessa is a 40ish doctor who had a troubled past with drugs and alcohol.  She has been living with Brian for a couple years yet thinks he's going to leave her at any time.  She has abandonment issues because her father took her when she was young and she never saw her mother or sister again.  Her pet project is a group for adults who were sexually abused when they were young ... she wants to help them get rid of the baggage.

This is the third book I've read by this author.  While I liked the writing style, I didn't like the story lines.  It's written in third person perspective with a focus on whatever is happening at the time.  The book goes back and forth in time, revealing details about Claire and Vanessa's childhoods so we get to know them both better.

I didn't like most of characters.  Claire has always wanted to shelter and help everyone and is always looking at the bright side of things (she got this from her mother who was a bit of a nut).  Jon was okay but I found him weak.  Their daughter, Susan, was away at university and thoroughly unlikeable and rude.  I didn't understand Claire's friendship with Randy and thought he should have shut down the friendship when he realized Jon didn't approve.  I could have done without Claire's attachment to Randy and would have rather have seen her befriend another woman as Randy added conflict that kind of took away from Claire's issues and made me dislike Claire and Randy even more.  The only two I liked were Vanessa and Brian.

Despite not enjoying this book, I look forward to reading others by this author.

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