Review: The Broken String

the-broken-string“As seventeen-year-old Riley MacPherson rushes to the side of her brother who has been gravely injured in Iraq, she recalls their growing up years when he was her protector and best friend. Why did that relationship fall apart? She longs for a second chance to connect with her brother, not realizing that family secrets may prevent them from ever having that closeness again.” – Publisher Summary

The Broken String by Diane Chamberlain is a short story, available in digital form only, written as a lead-in to her newest novel, The Silent Sister. In this tale, we are introduced to a 17-year-old Riley MacPherson, who is on an airplane as she rushes to her brother’s side, as he has been gravely injured fighting in Iraq. Riley is alone, as her parents are indisposed and her older sister, Lisa, is gone – having committed suicide when Riley was only two years old.

Despite her worries and fears, Riley finds time to befriend two young children, a brother and sister who remind her much of herself and her brother, Danny, when the two of them were young. Danny used to be Riley’s best friend and her protector, the one who could make her laugh and who would comfort her at night during thunderstorms. Unfortunately, as Danny matured, he became more and more defiant and unreachable , eventually leaving Riley completely as he headed off to war. Riley mourns the loss of their closeness even as she fears the worst, as her brother’s life now hangs in the balance.

As Riley arrives at the foreign hospital where Danny is secured, she is updated on his condition – both physical and mental; neither are in good condition, although she is told he will live. As she steps into Danny’s room, Riley vows to fill the role that Danny filled for her as a young child – his protector and comforter. She grips his hand as he opens his eyes, and prepares for a new future with her brother.

I would definitely recommend checking this eShort out before reading The Silent Sister, as it offers a great introduction to Riley MacPherson and to the relationship between she and Danny, one which is central to the story in the following novel. While a relatively short short story – only 14 pages – The Broken String evokes much emotion in the telling of Riley and Danny’s relationship and its eventual breakdown. Chamberlain shows tenderness in Riley’s friendship with the two children on the airplane, whose closeness mirrors that which Riley has lost and fears she will not have a chance to regain. Hope is restored as the story ends, when Riley moves to Danny’s side with renewed strength and resolve for the future. It is up to the reader to find out what follows by continuing on to read The Silent Sister, which was released on October 7, 2014.

The Broken String – an eShort by Diane Chamberlain. Buy it, Read it, Love it.

4 stars

Source: St. Martin’s Press {via NetGalley}

 

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