I was a little unsure about the title of the book before commencing reading, it sounded rather old fashioned, however while reading my mind keep returning to the title wondering to whom it referred; this is a story about many
different bonds between families and lovers so it was not immediately clear. In the end I decided it was probably meant to refer to them all and as such works well.
Set mostly in Vancouver, Marlene Cheng’s book centres on identical twins, Venice and Geneva. Both intelligent, successful women with careers seemingly on-track but yet to embark on serious personal relationships. When a Swedish hockey player turns up at the ER to be treated by Geneva, this threatens to put the cat among the pigeons; not only is he famous but married too. We learn more about the central characters through the first person, with the perspective switching every couple of pages or so either to hear the other side or to take things off in a new direction.
Initially, the tale seems to be a rather straightforward love affair with fairly predictable complications thrown in along the way. However, there is more complexity to the lives of the sisters than we first thought as Venice has been quietly struggling to keep on top of her job with a prestigious legal firm. Her life rapidly disintegrates to the point where she loses her way completely and winds up needing to be cared for. These parts are well written and provide some insight into the mental turmoil sufferers struggle with.
The book benefits from the fact that it does get quite messy at times, like real life, and the reader is rarely sure about what might happen next. The characters are varied and quite well developed although this is slightly hampered by the perspective switching style the author has chosen. Overall, I think that I would have liked the book to have focused on Venice’s story as these parts were far more interesting to read and would have enabled a slower, more detailed study of the vicissitudes of her life and the impact on those around her. Nonetheless, Our Precious Bond is a very readable book with enough depth and variety to keep the audience interested.