Picks and Pans Review: Between Sisters

UPDATED 05/19/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 05/19/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT

By Kristin Hannah

Seattle divorce attorney Meghann Dontess knows all about severing soured relationships but not much about what makes a good one. She is judgmental and condescending, especially about her younger half sister Claire, a single mom who runs a campground. When Claire gets engaged, it's an ideal backdrop for a look at family dynamics and romance that's entertaining and enlightening, if occasionally hard to swallow.

Bestselling author Hannah writes witty dialogue with a firm grasp of the you-push-my-buttons-I'll-push-yours school of sibling relations. Less convincing, though, is the architect of the girls' dysfunction, their mother, an aging actress who makes Joan Rivers look demure. It doesn't take a genius to figure out Meghann is deeply insecure and wants to restore the bond she shared with her little sister before Mom abandoned them for Hollywood. But give Hannah credit for bringing snap and a lot of warmth to a familiar lesson: that contentment comes from accepting each other's flaws. (Ballantine, $23.95)

BOTTOM LINE: A pleasant visit with Hannah and her sisters

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