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The Space Between Us by Anna McPartlin

The Space Between Us is the most recent title from Anna McPartlin; it was released in 2011 or 2012.  Her website hasn't been updated in ages and the new title isn't even included on her bibliography on the site.  I say all this because I'm wondering when she'll release a new title (and I'm suffering a little Anna McPartlin book withdrawal).  I bought a copy of this one off of eBay from a seller in the U.K.--I was desperate, okay?  It will soon be available to borrow from the library.

The back cover blurb calls Lily's marriage "impossible" ...let's be real, people, and call things what they are because mislabeling the nature of the relationship between Lily and her husband, Declan, is dangerous.  It is abusive--always verbally, sometimes physically, and occasionally sexually--controlling, and isolating.  Lily has no friends and that's how Declan likes it.  Declan is the textbook example of abuser begetting abuser in an endless cycle across generations.  Also I don't like when the blurbs on a book mislead me as to the plot contained therein.  It's a pet peeve of mine.  I can't help it.

From the first pages, the story of Eve and Lily sucks the reader into their world as one becomes heavily invested in these two women, their well being, their relationships and their friendship as it's resurrected from its own incinerated ashes.  This is as much a novel about friendship as it is about two women who have to face the reality of their lives and let go of the denial that has prevented them from realizing some hard truths about themselves.

After Eve is called home to Ireland to care for her dying father, she decides to make a change in her life.  After his death she returns home to New York just long enough to sell off her successful business, pack up her life and return to Ireland.  Eve is nothing if not a woman in denial like a woman on a mission. In Ireland she reconnects with her small group of childhood friends, save for Lily and Declan, both of whom cut off all ties with their group of friends following Eve and Lily's falling out and after they all went their separate ways for college.

Following a brutal and gruesome (and hard to read) hit and run accident, Eve is brought to the same hospital in which both Declan and Lily, now a doctor and nurse respectively, work.  Lily knows her friend will need months to heal from her injuries.  As Lily nurses her friend through the pain, both physical and emotional, the two reconnect and begin to cautiously rebuild a friendship both with each other and with their small group of childhood friends who've rallied to support Eve.  But Lily's hiding Eve's presence in the hospital (because Declan hates Eve) and her rekindled friendships from her husband (because he's an abusive prick) and one can't help but be very worried about what happens when he finds out.

The story is told from differing perspectives that shift between Eve, Lily and occasionally among their friends in the present and through letters exchanged between the two girls during the last summer of their friendship.  As the chapters go by the reader is carried along as the reveal of the betrayal that ended a friendship nears while in the present these two women struggle to rebuild their friendship while they try to make the changes that are long overdue in each of their lives.

I highly recommend you pick up this vivid, spellbinding book--you won't regret it.

--Reviewed by Ms. Angie


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