Dearest Rivals

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Dearest Rivals by Jane Elizabeth Varley, book reviewJane Elizabeth Varley has written four novels and I have read and enjoyed all of them. Her latest offering – Dearest Rivals- is a story of sibling rivalry in a family that is totally at odds with each other. The rivalry is deep seated going back in time to their parents’ treatment of them as children. Nina is the eldest and is now married to Alex and on the surface they seem to be doing very well for themselves. However, things are not well in their marriage and Nina starts to discover things about Alex that are unacceptable. Next is Susan who as the middle child probably received the least attention from her parents. As an adult she has never really managed to achieve much and is deeply envious of Nina. She covets all that Nina has and that even includes Nina’s husband. Finally there is Richard, the spoilt younger son, who is prepared to be as manipulative as it takes in order to get what he wants. So there you have it – three troubled and dysfunctional people tied together through family but not much else!

Throughout the story we follow the lives of all three as they argue and fight over their father’s trust and the best way to look after their ageing mother. It’s a gripping read with lots going on to both entertain and surprise the reader. I found myself totally absorbed and caught up in the various story lines from the very start. The story is also very well paced as you keep wondering what might happen next – and lots does. There are affairs, an unexpected pregnancy, blackmail and many other elements to hook the reader in. There is also lots of falling outs and taking sides and generally never a dull moment!

The three main characters were fascinating if not all together likeable. Definitely at the start of the story I did think that both Susan and Richard were pretty despicable but as you get to know them and unravel their characters a bit you realise that there is a lot more to them and both are vulnerable enough to make you feel sorry for them. I thought that all the characterisation in the book was really good and that Jane Elizabeth Varley had created characters that were easy to believe in. Also the relationships between the different characters were very interesting too.

Overall, Dearest Rivals is a very enjoyable and entertaining read. At just over 400 pages it is an easy read and possible to get through in just a few days. There are no weighty issues or huge moral dilemmas as such but if you enjoy reading about people and relationships it is definitely worth picking up. I really enjoyed it and I certainly recommend it.


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Dearest Rivals
by Jane Elizabeth Varley

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Written by kingfisher
kingfisher

My name is Jo and I have been married to Simon for nine years. We have two beautiful daughters – Rachel who is six and Natalie who is almost five and starting school in January. I also have two step children aged twenty one and seventeen so family life is never dull. I also manage to work three days for a local education authority where I support the teaching of literacy in primary schools. I love my job and it’s ideal for a book lover like me. In my spare time I run, dance and occasionally tread the boards with my local amateur dramatics group. My first love is reading though and you will never find me without a book on the go. My husband is also an avid reader and we are hoping to pass on our love of reading to our daughters. They certainly love their bedtime stories every night. Although I have and English degree and I am familiar with most of the classics, I generally read much lighter stuff these days. It’s mainly ‘chic lit’ but I also enjoy a good thriller or courtroom drama. I have so many favourite authors and this list tends to change regularly depending on what I am reading.

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