Reflection by Diane Chamberlain

You can never outrun the past.


Title - Reflection
Author - Diane Chamberlain
Publisher - Pan 
Publication Date - 31st July 2014
Format - Paperback (Provided via publisher)
Pages - 391

The blurb

Twenty years ago, a terrible tragedy shattered the tranquillity of the small Pennsylvania Dutch town of Reflection. The residents have never forgiven the one woman they blamed for what happened - Rachel Huber - and after the incident, she left Reflection and cut off all ties there. But when Rachel receives the news that her estranged grandmother, Helen, is ill and needs her care, she has to return. 

Yet the town has not forgotten the past and amongst the hostility and gossip, Rachel is forced to seek out old allies and new passions. Soon she finds an unlikely advocate in her grandmother, who surprises her with her wise counsel and rare strength. Rachel comes to realise that they are both trying to overcome the past and, in doing so, brings private guilt and concealed secrets into the light. 

Becca's thoughts 

Firstly, a big thank you to the wonderful publishers Pan Macmillan for sending me a copy of Diane Chamberlain's Reflection in the post. Reflection is the first book that I have read by the author, so I'm happy to have finally read one of Chamberlain's novel. 

I should probably start by saying that Reflection would not normally be something that I would choose to read myself, because it wouldn't fall into my typical reading genre of chick-lit/romance, BUT, whenever starting something new, I like to begin reading with an open mind, which I did. In fact, I was actually quite looking forward to giving myself a break from the light-hearted, comical reads that I tend to read almost constantly. Sometimes a change of genre is just what you need! 

In Diane Chamberlain's Reflection, we're introduced to Rachel Huber, past resident of Reflection, and haunted by a dark and chilling past. Rachel left the small Dutch town after a tragic event took place, and stayed away for a good time, until a call from a nurse at the hospital where her Grandmother is pulls her back towards the town to help her estranged family member. Once there, the secrets from the past begin to unfold, and not just Rachel's secrets. The residents of Reflection aren't too sure what to make of Rachel's return, after all, it was Rachel's fault that what happened took place, and they're not completely ready to forgive and forget. As well as Rachel, Rachel's grandmother Helen, is a major character within the novel, who the past is intrinsically wound around. There's also Michael, Reflection's minister if the church, who is full of faith and love for Rachel's return to the town, and helps in any way that he possibly can to ease the pain and suffering that is sure to fly Rachel's way. The past, it seems, is impossible to forget. Especially one full of such sadness and tragedy. 

I'm not going to say that I disliked this book, because I most definitely didn't. I just didn't love it, you know?
The story behind Reflection, and Rachel and Helen's combined pasts, really made for an interesting read, and there were parts where I wanted questions answered as soon as possible, so that my mind would stop bloody whirring and trying to figure things out for itself. There were so many factors to take into consideration within the novel that my thoughts were constantly kept working, and there were a ton of themes too. I felt like religion was a major topic within the novel. Reflection's church was a main point within the town, where a lot of the residents congregated for meetings etc. The church was also Michael's sanctuary, and religion was something that he took very seriously. There was also the plan to erect office buildings within Reflection, partially destroying the beautiful greenery in favour of tall, grey buildings, which of course sent the residents of Reflection crazy. There's also the topic of war, music, love and temptation. 

I felt like the novel was constantly shrouded in a grim, depressive atmosphere, with a few uplifting moments here and there, which is understandable really, considering what happened all those years ago. Diane kept dropping clues here and there, diving back into the past to let you in on Rachel and Helen's past. Thankfully, the author left no answers unquestioned, and looped everything back together in the end. I wasn't left questioning anything, or wondering what happened with so and so. Everything was concluded perfectly and I finished reading with a feeling of satisfaction that there were no loose ends. 

Reflection by Diane Chamberlain was a very serious novel, showing you the true effects of war, love and community strength. Diane's writing was powerful and sensitive, touching down on some very controversial topics. It was about forgiveness and letting go of the past in order to move forward, and despite not being incredibly gripped by it, it was a great read and I'm glad that I took the time to read it.

Becca's Books is rating Reflection by Diane Chamberlain with three yummy cupcakes. Very serious, with a twisting and turning plot. 


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