A FAMILY SAGA — A Review of “Just Between Us”

Cathy Kelly’s Just Between Us is a richly textured tale of a “perfect” family that begins to slowly reveal itself as one with all the ordinary flaws and foibles that plague most people; it is this probing beneath the surface that yields a peek into the intriguing aspects of each of the primary characters.

As the story begins, Rose and Hugh Miller are approaching their fortieth anniversary, and as the celebratory moment nears, we learn more about the two of them; Rose uncovers a secret, and while she’s planning the party, she is also considering how to deal with it.

Meanwhile, the three adult daughters are each struggling with their own issues. Stella, the eldest, has a successful career as an attorney, and as the single mother to Amelia, believes that her life is just the way it will stay. She expects no romance or any surprises at all.

Tara, the middle child, writes for a successful soap opera, and as a newly-wed with a dream husband, she believes that all is just the way it should be.

While Holly, the youngest, is plagued by insecurities and longs for a love that seems to never arrive, the other two begin to find that their lives are not what they thought they were.

This is the heart of the story, but what sets it apart are the rich details that give us more than a peek into their lives–we almost feel as if we are walking alongside them. As if they are our friends and neighbors, with their struggles part of us. We root for them, and sometimes want to yell at them for making foolish choices or mistakes.

A rather long book (530 pages), I kept reading, because I truly wanted to partake of every eventful moment in the lives of the characters.

Definitely five stars!

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