Book Title: The Sister
Author: Louise Jensen
Genres: Psychological Thriller, Mystery, Suspense
Date Read: 07/07/16
Pub Date: 07/07/16
Grace hasn’t been the same since the death of her best friend Charlie. She is haunted by Charlie’s words, the last time she saw her, and in a bid for answers, opens an old memory box of Charlie’s. It soon becomes clear there was a lot she didn’t know about her best friend.
When Grace starts a campaign to find Charlie’s father, Anna, a girl claiming to be Charlie’s sister steps forward. For Grace, finding Anna is like finding a new family, and soon Anna has made herself very comfortable in Grace and boyfriend Dan’s home.
But something isn’t right. Things disappear, Dan’s acting strangely and Grace is sure that someone is following her. Is it all in Grace’s mind? Or as she gets closer to discovering the truth about both Charlie and Anna, is Grace in terrible danger?
There was nothing she could have done to save Charlie …or was there?
Here’s another one of those cases where I was being a good little girl, minding my own business and being all mature; not requesting anything else from NetGalley until my ratio stabilizes (go ahead and laugh). But then all my friends were reading it, and if there’s anything you can count on, its Chelsea not wanting to be left out of the cool reading group. Of course the summary drew me in along with the GORGEOUS cover, so there went my NetGalley sabbatical and all my dignity with it. I’m really glad I let go of my pride and humbly begged for this one, because it was well worth my time.
The prologue, or first chapter, really draws us in. It’s so vague and mysterious and there are so many questions. Then, the whole tempo changes and we are busy setting up the background and plot, which was a little slower paced than your average gimmicky thriller, but hang in there because its worth it! At about 20-25% in is when we meet Anna, and things start to pick up. All these mysterious things keep happening to keep us guessing who has it out for Grace and why. Things just start rolling along more quickly, and I’ll be darned if it wasn’t an entire night of “just one more chapter”, until I realized I had read the whole book. The ending provided full closure, but more on that later.
“It seems a long time now since we laughed like that. Loved like that. Grief has pushed us
apart like repelling magnets: no matter how hard we try to reach each other, there’s
a gulf between us that we just can’t bridge.”
Grace and Dan have a tricky relationship. Not only have they been friends since elementary school, but they were also mutual friends with Charlie, who has now passed, since elementary school. One of the aspects I truly loved was this novel’s flipping between present and past tense, giving us an insider look on how these friends grew into who they are now and what they had to endure along the way. There was a greater level of depth to the characters than is typical in thrillers these days, as it seems the fad now to focus all efforts on the dreaded “big twist”; this was not the case here. I was impressed at how this book seemed to break genre barriers and carry along into multiple interest levels. I could just as easily see someone who is interested in Women’s Fiction loving this story as another reader who is strictly a Suspense/Thriller consumer. The characters had significant background, which I feel was quite a feat given the sheer amount of people who cropped up along the way. Of course this was a thriller as described in the summary, but there were also undercurrents of women’s issues, such as depression, prescription drug abuse, body image issues, and finding your voice/standing up for yourself in a hostile relationship.
“Could I have saved her? The thought that I might have been able to nestled inside me, as if it belonged there as much as my bones, my kidneys, my lungs. My skin would shed cells, my scalp would lose hair, my liver repair itself. My body would refresh and renew in the years to come, but the guilt? I knew that would stay. Forever a part of me.”
Guilt seems to be the heaviest and greatest theme to this book. There is such a great web spun from this group of friends who have experienced so much of their lives together, and I was fully intrigued by each person’s individual guilt along with the guilt each felt over certain incidents together. There were quite a few surprising twists near the end, and I found myself still thinking about this book days after turning the final page, which is partly why I am just now writing the review. Louise Jensen has enormous talent and I am absolutely waiting on pins and needles to read what she produces next. Highly recommended to readers of all genres as this one crosses boundaries on so many levels.
* I received my copy via NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. Many thanks and looking forward to my next Bookouture read!