The Second Sister by Claire Kendal

4 stars from me

This book really put me in mind of Sister by Rosamund Lupton (which I loved), but rest assured it is different enough to be well worth reading.

Ella Brooke is a great character and I really enjoyed the chemistry between her and Ted (spoiler alert) I was quite sad that he had betrayed her and it was left unresolved as to whether they would get back together – I so wanted them to get back together!

The story itself is a sad little tale beautifully brought to life by Claire Kendal. It was a book of two halves for me, it seemed to jog along quite nicely and then all of I sudden it was a roller coaster ride to the conclusion. I really found myself reading faster and faster towards the end as I had to find out what happened.

Very enjoyable read and if you read it and enjoy it I very much urge you to read Sister.

 

Synopsis: An obsessive quest to solve the mystery of her older sister’s disappearance puts a young woman in mortal jeopardy in this taut, sophisticated novel of psychological suspense from the author of the “truly riveting” (New York Times) The Book of You. An intoxicating cocktail of loyalty and secrets, lies and betrayal, reminiscent of Rosamund Lupton’s Sister and Kimberly McCreight’s Reconstructing Amelia.

A decade ago, Ella Brooke’s older sister, Miranda, vanished without a trace. With every passing year, Ella has come to resemble more closely the sister she lost—the same dark hair, the same piercing blue eyes—and now she’s the same age Miranda was when she disappeared.

Ella has never let go of her sister. She can still feel Miranda’s presence, still hear her voice. She still talks to her. What holds Ella together is her love for her sister’s ten-year-old son and her work as a self-defense expert helping victims.

Ella is certain that Miranda was taken, and that one man is key to her disappearance: Jason Thorne. The tabloids report that a new link has been found connecting Miranda to this sadistic serial killer locked away in a psychiatric hospital. Ignoring warnings from the police and the disapproval of her parents, she seeks Thorne out. Ella will do whatever it takes to uncover the truth—no matter how dangerous…

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Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton

Afterwards5 Stars from me!

Another absolutely sensational book from Rosamund Lupton. I absolutely adore the way she writes, you jog along thinking you are reading the story and then suddenly your brain latches onto a flaw in one of the characters – and bang – you realise that you have that flaw too.

Much like Sister, Afterwards is a beautifully woven story that you know full well is going to play with your heartstrings.

I enjoyed the way the relationships unfolded, particularly the one between Grace and her sister-in-law; I wonder how many of us are too busy with our assumptions and prejudgements of people to bother getting to know them.

I would imagine this is a book that can only be read and intuited by a loving parent, I can’t imagine it having the same resonance unless you know without a shadow of a doubt that you would run into a burning building to save your child.

Synopsis: There is a fire and they are in there. They are in there… 

Black smoke stains a summer blue sky. A school is on fire. And one mother, Grace, sees the smoke and rush. She knows her teenage daughter Jenny is inside. She runs into the burning building to rescue her.

Afterwards Grace must find the identity of the arsonist and protect her children from the person who’s still intent on destroying them. Afterwards, she must fight the limits of her physical strength and discover the limitlessness of love.

Sister by Rosamund Lupton

Sister

by Rosamund Lupton

Sister

I was bought this book for Christmas and have stoically put off reading it because it has been so acclaimed, that may sound odd but it makes sense to me! I like to read books and judge them for myself rather than having a preconceived expectation.

That said, this book IS worth all the hype. It is beautifully written. It does touch you. The prose throughout the whole book is just lovely and poignant, it is incredibly clever the way that sometimes you feel you are reading a story and then suddenly it hits you in the face that the book is talking to you, and makes you look at yourself in a new way.

That makes it sound preachy and predictable, it truly isn’t. An example of such a passage would be:

Before this, I’d confidently assumed myself to be a considerate, thoughtful person, vigilant about other people. I scrupulously remembered birthdays (my birthday book being annually transcribed onto the calendar); I sent thank you cards promptly (ready-bought and waiting in the bottom drawer of my desk). But with my numbers on your phone bill I saw that I wasn’t considerate at all. I was conscientious about the minutiae of life but in the important things I was selfishly cruel and neglectful. 

Out of context it probably doesn’t hit home as hard as it does when woven into the excellently written story. And it really is excellently written, it is a story based on one person’s desire to find the truth about the death of her sister, about her need to prove that she knew her sister and that their connection was real. It exposes a lot of emotions and touches on hidden family frailties while still being an engaging crime thriller. I don’t use the ‘a real page turner’ words lightly, but it was one. I loved it.

I don’t want to give away any of the story, as that would spoil it for you, but I do urge you to read it; even if you read it as I did – fully prepared to be scathing! I am quite confident that you will love it within the first few pages.