The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth
Publication Date : April 13th 2021
Publisher : St. Martin’s Press
Genre : Mystery Thriller
Pages : 320
From the outside, everyone might think Fern and Rose are as close as twin sisters can be: Rose is the responsible one and Fern is the quirky one. But the sisters are devoted to one another and Rose has always been Fern’s protector from the time they were small.
Fern needed protecting because their mother was a true sociopath who hid her true nature from the world, and only Rose could see it. Fern always saw the good in everyone. Years ago, Fern did something very, very bad. And Rose has never told a soul. When Fern decides to help her sister achieve her heart’s desire of having a baby, Rose realizes with growing horror that Fern might make choices that can only have a terrible outcome. What Rose doesn’t realize is that Fern is growing more and more aware of the secrets Rose, herself, is keeping. And that their mother might have the last word after all.
Other Book I have read by the same author:
*** Disclaimer : I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press. ***
The Good Sister was interesting psychological fiction that revolved around twin sister, Fern and Rose, and relationship between them. The story was about manipulation, secrets, lies, trust, and family drama.
Writing was gripping, compelling with sense of foreboding from the beginning. It was written in first person narrative from alternative perspective of Fern and Rose with their present and past. We see Rose’s side of story through her journal entries.
Plot was character driven with steady to fast paced. I went blind into this book by just author’s name. I didn’t know what synopsis said and I think you would enjoy this book more like that.
It was really clear which sister was good and which sister was giving bad feeling. I think author wasn’t trying to hide things and was laying hints throughout the book and yet author had a way that made me keep reading and captivated with sisters’ life. So, I would say, it’s not about who is bad and who is not but more about where it’s going and how far the bad sister would go and if the good sister can save herself from her or not.
It was interesting to see where Wally and Fern’s relationship was going, what will happen with news of pregnancy, what secrets Rose was keeping and how their mother would help?
First half the book was all about character building, both sisters’ childhood and their relationship with each other and with their mother, how they grew up and how that relationship changed over the time. Second half of the book was all about manipulation and revelation of secrets. I loved this part more. Best part of the book was setting of Library and characters.
Family dynamic was amazing. I couldn’t have imagined how twisted this family was. I didn’t like the sound of their mother from Rose’s diary entries. It was horrible and depressive to read how their childhood was. There was even mention of paedophile. So, whenever Fern mentioned their mother I was really confused, it was a mystery in itself and for this particular point I couldn’t see whom to believe. Oddly, I thought their mother died in first few chapters until Fern mentioned her but it shouldn’t have surprised me as it was there in synopsis.
Both sisters were realistic, flawed and complex. There were no boundaries in both sisters’ life that was also part of central theme. This line from the book was so true-
It’s like she doesn’t know where she ends and you begin. It’s like she thinks… you belong to her or something… And you don’t have great boundaries with her either…
Fern was librarian. She was odd but funny and really great. Her dry humour and logics made me smile so often that I almost forgot I was reading psychological fiction. She was loyal to fault, honest, and strong character. Her sensory processing issue was well presented. I didn’t know about this condition until I read this book. It made me feel for her and I could see how everyday life could be difficult with it in this noisy world. I really admired her passion for books and her job. I wish I could dive in book and work with her in library. She was actually easy to like and she grew on me pretty quick. I feared and worried for her throughout the book.
Rose was interior designer. She was dominating, ruled Fern’s life, and had a way being constantly there in Fern’s life. Her obsession of being mother was frightening.
Twist and turns were good. Most were predictable but author sure surprised me at few points in last 30% of the book. Climax was amazing. I was just surprised how one sister couldn’t see through the other or actually could see but be in denial mode. Most unbelievable was she knew she couldn’t trust other sister and yet asked to call her for support! All the events from this point made me all excited. End was great and satisfactory. I was so involved and so much in love with the good sister that if the end wasn’t satisfying, I swear, I would have broken something in house.
Why 4.5 Stars-
I don’t see anything wrong with this book except predictability but as I said I think it wasn’t about who or why but more like what now. And I have to say The Mother-in-Law was even better than this.
Overall, The Good Sister was riveting, compelling and engaging psychological thriller with amazing family dynamic and drama.
Thank you for reading! Let’s chat…
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