Nicola Gill comes to the blog with another story of relationships, healing and growth with
We Are Family
A story of two very different sisters trying to manage their own pasts and their current relationship after their mother’s death. Particularly tragic as the girls lost their father when they were pre-teens, and their mother’s pushing forward and not allowing them time to grieve continued and exacerbated some of the inequities in the girls’ upbringings. Growing up, Laura has never felt “enough’ and her mother reinforced that feeling by always comparing her to ‘the good sister’ Jess. Sadly, all these years later both Laura and Jess are busily fitting into the expectations (and the associated damage to self-worth) that they brought. While Laura is more ‘easy going’ and tends never to put herself or her dreams first in any relationship, her sister Jess is an influencer and fashion blogger: everything in her life (and what she shares with Laura) is just perfect.
Now with the death of their mother, the two have decisions to make, and, of course, come at them from totally different ends of the spectrum. Adding to the mess is Laura’s inability to, or even willingness to dream that she deserves more, and allowing things in her life to compile and build so no real ‘exit’ is available. When you mix in a partner who is selfish and critical, unhelpful at best and yet another person to add to Laura’s troubles at worst. We are at a bit of a disadvantage here because Laura is the sole narrator and often is assuming blame and overthinking situations beyond the pale. Easy to see her as a victim, and many times I just wanted to SHAKE her –but there is hope. Her sister’s life isn’t quite so perfect (no one’s is) and the confidence that Jess has in going for what she wants, and reframing her life in ways that perhaps account for her sister’s needs, long left unfulfilled by a verbally abusive mother and lingering grief do bring some ‘solutions’ and potential for their relationship to come.
A bit too long, and some of the drama was overblown to be solved and sorted in a paragraph, never to rear its head again, the story is certainly character-driven with plenty of moments and situations that most of us can relate to and understand. Gill has a way of framing issues and delicately unpacking them, leaving us seeing options long before the characters but so that everyone, eventually, gets a sense of new hope.
Title: We Are Family
Author: Nicola Gill
Genre: British, Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Depression, Family Saga, Friendship, Grief, Second Chance, Setting: Britain
Published by: Avon Books UK
Published on: 3 September, 2020
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Kobo
Laura has a laid back attitude to life. Her home isn’t spotless, and after a hard day she likes to take to bed with a block of cheese.
Jess, on the other hand, is your classic overachiever: The Big Sister, Chief of Chivvying, Queen of the family WhatsApp. Her life is picture-perfect.
Laura and Jess lost their dad when they were kids, and now their mum is gone too. And one of the hardest times in life is made harder by the fact they can’t agree on a single thing, from where to scatter the ashes to whether “passed away” is even an acceptable term.
But when Laura starts pushing her own boundaries and Jess agrees to let other people in to her (not so) perfect life, the two women realize they need each other more than ever. They might not be ready to admit it, but family is everything…
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.