Published: Penguin Group: Berkley, NAL / Signet
Date: 4th August 2015
Genre: Women's Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Two sisters, almost total strangers, begin a journey towards connection and a sense of family. They do not gel immediately, yet perhaps underneath they are more alike than they initially experience. Rainy Day Sisters is set in the fictional town of Hartley-on-Sea in Cumbria, England. Ultimately this is a story of hope and connection and finding family as two sisters battle it out to find what they need.
Rachel the older sister, has set up a B&B, she is a rather self-contained, organised, lonely person. When her sister Lucy arrives to stay with her she is remote and clinical and rather disapproving of Lucy. She is very prickly. It was easy to dislike her, yet as the story unfolds, the more I understood her, the more I felt compassion for her.
Lucy has come from Boston to stay with her sister, she is an artist, but has been shamed by her mother, the esteemed artist Fiona Bagshaw, in the press and through social media. Lucy seeks refuge with Rachel and begins a job in the local school as a temp office worker. While she is not really skilled for the work she soon finds her way about and her compassion and understanding for the children soon see her involved in the local communtiy.
At the core of the sisters' lives is the influence their mother Fiona Bagshaw has had on their lives. She has been cold and unloving towards Rachel, who has felt jealous and angry with Fiona for the way she wanted Lucy. Yet it was never a bed of roses for Lucy either. She experienced some serious bullying at school because of her mother's 'art', and in general did not have a normal family experience.
I liked how the novel explored the mother/daughter relationship through Rachel and Lucy and also with a few of the families in the town. The importance of family, love and acceptance is highlighted, and how important the actions of a parent are. In so many ways this is echoed throughout the lives of the villagers.
The way the story developed was very believable, the characters felt very real, the town and its inhabitants adding flavour and impact to the story. I liked the way the story ended, not over the top, but realistic and promising.