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The Way from Here


The Way from Here

A touching story filled with family secrets, THE WAY FROM HERE takes us on a journey as we witness family interactions now and decades in the past.

Jane Cockram's novel begins with Susie’s passing. Her older sister, Camilla (aka Mills), has received letters from her that are to be read after her death. She died unexpectedly from a fall while getting ready for her 40th birthday, and the preparation of those letters seems very unlike the rash sister Mills had known. But Mills is the good sister, and even though it puts her marriage at risk, she is determined to fulfill Susie's last wishes and travel from Australia to England, where she is directed to read the second letter.

"We end up really caring for Margaret and her daughters, and we are happy that their lives are ultimately enriched thanks to Susie's efforts."

The book unfolds partly through these letters, thereby giving us a real sense of Susie’s personality. The italic font marks this correspondence, and the other parts of the sisters' tales are clearly delineated with headings that indicate from whose point of view the narrative is being told and when. Camilla shares much of the story, but Cockram also takes us back in time to 1998 as we hear about Susie's life and the journey she embarks on at her grandmother Nellie's behest. It begins at the National Gallery in London and continues on a tiny island off the coast of France. We also go back to 1968 as their mother, Margaret, reveals yet another part of the story.

This is a tale about women --- women at different times in our history, women from different social classes, women whose relationships with each other are confusing but also loving and supportive. What keeps us engrossed is our interest in finding out how they all come together and exactly what their relationships are. The novel is also about the lengths to which women will go in order to protect their families and themselves.

While all the female characters are strong, Cockram meticulously outlines their flaws. Susie can't get past some tragic events, while Mills is rigid and too structured. Margaret has regrets about what she's done in the past. Others show no remorse because they did what they had to do; to them, the ends justified the means. Some don't get a chance to reflect on the harm they might’ve caused because they’re gone. Cockram doesn't reveal if they ever regretted their cruel actions.

At times, THE WAY FROM HERE is a bit confusing because of the mixed timeline, but with a modicum of effort, it's not difficult to keep the storyline straight. We end up really caring for Margaret and her daughters, and we are happy that their lives are ultimately enriched thanks to Susie's efforts. In fact, their relationship with Susie (albeit posthumously) is the better for their journey.

Reviewed by Pamela Kramer on March 4, 2022

The Way from Here
by Jane Cockram

  • Publication Date: March 7, 2023
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0062939335
  • ISBN-13: 9780062939333