30/04/2003

The Way Home (by Alexandra Raife)

It's not all that long ago that I first discovered Alexandra Raife. Her novels are mostly set in Scotland, combining warm characters with gentle plots. So I'm slowly collecting the set of her books, and finding them very enjoyable, at least so far.

'The Way Home' is the latest one which I read, and I thought it a wonderful book. It features three very different sisters who jointly inherit their family home, after the death of their stepmother.

Elizabeth, the eldest, is a motherly and warm. She's a good cook, an excellent organiser, and likes to keep things tidy. She's responsible and anxious - almost a caricature of an oldest sister, yet I found her very believable. Jamie, the middle sister, has worked as an entrepreneur in America for some years. She's outgoing and easily bored, with a streak of bossiness about her.

Then there's Philida, the youngest. She's overweight and a bit clumsy, and not at all academic. She's the dreamer - the procrastinator, yet she has a wisdom deep inside her which her older sisters simply don't appreciate.

Each of the three sisters harbours a secret, and these are all gradually revealed. Problems are slowly solved alongside the revelations.

I found all the characters easy to believe in. The various subplots intertwined effortlessly, and the overall effect of the book was warm and very interesting. It was difficult to put down at times.

The ending was a bit predictable, but I found it pleasant and satisfying nonetheless. Highly recommended.

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