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Reflection Mass Market Paperback – April, 1997

4.3 out of 5 stars 114 customer reviews

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Everything We Keep: A Novel
On the day of her wedding, she buried her fiancé—and unearthed shocking secrets. Learn More
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Lightning strikes an elderly woman in the gripping beginning of Chamberlain's (Brass Ring) latest. Too bad the electricity ends there, as the story slackens into an unlikely, melodramatic, often sentimental tale of tragedy, unrequited love and forgiveness. The plot centers around Rachel Huber, a schoolteacher in her early 40s who has returned to her small hometown of Reflection, Penn., to care for Helen Huber, her long-estranged grandmother and the victim of that lightning bolt. The inhabitants of Reflection, it turns out, despise Rachel because of a tragedy that occurred 20 years earlier. She is harassed by store clerks, though the spunky owner of a beauty salon decides to forgive this prodigal daughter, despite the beautician having perhaps more reason than most to hate her. In time, Rachel reignites a romance with an old friend and secret love who's now an unhappily married Mennonite minister. Further secrets are brought to light, revealing that there's more to Helen than meets the eye. All this takes place without much discernible character development, however, making the sugar-coated finale that much more predictable.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Kirkus Reviews

The time-tested technique of withholding information works admirably in this fifth novel from Chamberlain (Brass Ring, 1994, etc.): a suspenseful (if somewhat unlikely) story of two women's attempts to come to terms with the past. When Rachel Huber--teacher, mother, widow--learns that her grandmother Helen has fallen ill, she returns to her Pennsylvania hometown of Reflection and is forced to confront her demons head-on for the first time in 20 years. The tragedy that left ten of the town's children dead was not really Rachel's fault, but with few exceptions the locals shun her. One key exception is Michael Stoltz, minister of the Mennonite church, who along with Rachel and her dead husband Luke once formed an inseparable childhood trio. The story of how Rachel and Michael fell in love, and of how Luke lost his mind and eventually his life, has its roots in the Vietnam War, when Luke went off to battle while Rachel and Michael, then in the Peace Corps, went to the village in Africa where they both were stationed. Although Luke is now gone, there are complications aplenty as Rachel and Michael strive to consummate the love they've been repressing for decades: Michael's wife Katy is the respected town doctor; his son Jason gets beat up for his dad's association with the stigmatized Rachel Huber; and his ministry would be his first and hardest sacrifice if he ever left Katy for any woman, let alone Rachel. Meanwhile, Helen recovers her health but not her spirits; she, too, has been hiding a secret that only her husband Peter (a famous composer who died ten years ago) ever knew. When Rachel's college-age son Chris comes to Reflection for a visit, the truths emerge; what Helen and Rachel decide will surprise and thrill all but the most jaded readers. A fast-paced, engrossing read focusing on a delightful pair of characters. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harpercollins (Mm) (April 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061093963
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061093968
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 4.5 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,601,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I will preface this review by first saying this book has an aspect which sometimes bothers romance readers, but I will also say this book will go in my top five of all-time favorite reads. If you are adamantly opposed to infidelity in the novels you read, in any way, shape or form, you might want to skip REFLECTION. However, if you're like me and can forgive infidelity in certain circumstances read on. And remember, this book is marketed as "Fiction" rather than "Romance" probably more because of its broad range but also because of the sensitive issues. However if the concepts of lost loves, putting the past behind, forgiveness, and learning to live again appeal to you, run -- don't walk -- to find this fabulous book ASAP.
Schoolteacher Rachel Huber has returned to her hometown of Reflection, Pennsylvania, deep in Amish country, to care for her ailing grandmother. She had fled the area 21 years earlier, immediately after being involved in a horrible tragedy. Her return is bittersweet as she is not exactly made to feel welcome by many of the town members who blame her for the terrible event occurring over two decades earlier. However there is at least one very big exception - her childhood friend, Michael Stoltz. Michael, Rachel, and Luke Pierce had been inseparable in childhood. It was always known that Luke and Rachel would marry but shortly afterwards, Luke was drafted and sent to service in Vietnam. Michael, a conscientious objector, and Rachel join the Peace Corps and are sent to Rwanda. Michael and Rachel have always shared a deep friendship and love but have never acted on their romantic feelings. Michael eventually marries another woman from their town, Katy, who he doesn't love but needs to forget Rachel.
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I thought this was one of her best books. I love Diane's books because of the way she feeds you information about situations and characters. It's gradual and on a need-to-know basis. There's always some kind of twist in the end where you THOUGHT you understood the characters but really didn't. It's about a woman who returns to her hometown to care for her grandmother after many years of being away. The town has bad feelings for her because of an incident many years earlier that happened in the town school where she was a new teacher. As you read, slowly, you will learn what happened, but once again, you don't know what really happened years ago until the end of the book. This one kept me mesmerized until I could find out more. There was no way that I could predict the outcome because a happy ending was just not possible, after taking into account all of the scenarios going on.. If someone thinks this book was slow, so what? It kept me entertained, no matter how many or how few pages I read.
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The story started a little slow for me, but it quickly grasped my interest. Rachel returns home after many years away to care for her ill grandmother. Soon after her arrival the circumstances of her departure years ago come into focus. She is basically shunned by everyone in town, but soon things evolve in her relationship with the town and a childhood friend. She engages in an adulterous relationship with a childhood friend, and although he did it after he found out his wife was unfaithful first, not a good excuse to me. Overall it was a good story, fast paced and the characters seemed very real and human.
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I just loved this book. Couldn't put it down. I have read a lot of Diane Chamberlain and, so far, this is one of her best. She ends each chapter with a little cliffhanger and keeps you going far into the night. I can blame her for my insomnia!
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Such a satisfying story with awesomely strong characters. Hard to describe the skilled interweaving of the characters in this Diane Chamberlain novel; each one added to and advanced the story. I found myself drawn into the story and never wanted to leave it. The secrets revealed as I continued to read were so amazing and surprising, yet not contrived or false. Everything was beautifully told and I recommend this book whole heartedly. Do not want to give away any plot, so it can be each reader's adventure!
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I am a fan of Diane Chamberlain's books, but this one was far and away my least favorite. I had the feeling that an over abundance of details were added because the plot (s) were so thin. It took me weeks to read it, instead of days. It was, at times, tedious...but I finished it because I paid for it.
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By Debbi on June 9, 2013
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Everything Diane Chamberlain writes, makes me think. I never can just walk away and forget her books. I think about them for days after I finish and then they come back to me at other times. This one really made me think, and I am still thinking about it long after I finished it!
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I had forgotten I read this book when it was first published in 1996. I really loved everything about this book. The characters, storyline etc... A great story of lost loves, forgiveness and sacrifice. I have read all of Ms Charberlain's books and have never been dissappointed.
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