Tuesday, June 4, 2013
The Time Between
Author: Karen White
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: NAL Hardcover (June 4, 2013)
Eleanor Murray will always remember her childhood on Edisto Island, where her late father, a local shrimper, shared her passion for music. Now her memories of him are all that tempers the guilt she feels over the accident that put her sister in a wheelchair—and the feelings she harbors for her sister’s husband.
To help support her sister, Eleanor works at a Charleston investment firm during the day, but she escapes into her music, playing piano at a neighborhood bar. Until the night her enigmatic boss walks in and offers her a part-time job caring for his elderly aunt, Helena, back on Edisto. For Eleanor, it’s a chance to revisit the place where she was her happiest—and to share her love of music with grieving Helena, whose sister recently died under mysterious circumstances.
An island lush with sweetgrass and salt marshes, Edisto has been a peaceful refuge for Helena, who escaped with her sister from war-torn Hungary in 1944. The sisters were well-known on the island, where they volunteered in their church and community. But now Eleanor will finally learn the truth about their past: secrets that will help heal her relationship with her own sister—and set Eleanor free....
I will say it now - this is my favorite Karen White book so far! I have reviewed at least 9 or 10 of her books over the years and adore quite a few of them (Tradd Street Series a strong fave) but this one struck hard and stuck.
When a guilt weighs on you so hard that it has ruined your life, a guilt that isn't yours to have, but that while others realize it's not your fault they still use your guilt to their advantage - you find yourself emotionally disabled.
Eleanor has led a life of tragedy. She feels a strong lack of love in her own family, with a strong sense of responsibility at the same time. She is a robot working through her life, doing what she feels she's supposed to do. Her entire family takes advantage of her, turning her pretty much into a slave.
She does have a job, and a nice handsome boss who keeps it very professional at all times. But then one day he needs a favor and he picks her. Suddenly Eleanor has her one chance to break free of her self-imposed bonds and discover what it's truly like to live.
Meanwhile a deep mystery unfolds intertwined with a horrific historical event - Hungarian women with deep secrets that cause great pain. I was on the edge of my seat as secrets were being revealed.
The one thing slightly askew in the story, to my mind, is that Eleanor's family seems to change their spots a little too quickly and easily once Eleanor begins to grow emotionally. Their cold, selfish ways turn on a dime to warm and loving. Hidden loving emotions suddenly surface where there was absolutely no sign of them in the beginning of the story. But that one anomaly to an absolutely gripping novel is not enough to dissuade me from highly recommending it.