4.0 out of 5 stars The bond between sisters can be very strong...
This review is from: Sister: A Novel (Hardcover)
It's very difficult to write a review of a book that doesn't allow the reader to discuss particulars that would be spoilers for anyone wanting to know whether or not to buy a book. I will make every effort to avoid giving anything away.
To be honest, however, I must say that I have a pet peeve -- and that is with books that have an ambiguous ending (or a non ending). I don't like them. This is that sort of a book. Despite that aggravation, I must say that if you like a good mystery story with an unusual twist, you will like this book.
Reminiscent of Chevy Stevens' Still Missing and Never Knowing, author Rosamund Lupton has her main character, Beatrice, use both a letter format and a lawyer with the Crown Prosecution Service to tell her story. (Chevy Stevens uses therapy sessions notes and a therapist). The plot is simple -- Beatrice gets a call from her mother that her sister Tess is missing and she leaves New York to go to London to find out what happened. The narrative, in the form of a letter to her sister, describes what Beatrice found when she arrived and her own investigation into her sister's death. The police have ruled it a suicide but Beatrice knows her sister and knows that she would never have done that. Her discoveries about the life her sister was living give her pause; she wonders if she really did know her sister as well as she thought she did. Was the death of Tess really a suicide or was it murder? If so, who did it? Beatrice tells Mr. Wright, the lawyer for CPS, step by step what she finds as she delves into the mystery. Multiple suspects provide Beatrice with many avenues to explore. Lots of red herrings and a few surprising twists as discoveries are made and truths are uncovered.
There is foreshadowing and melodrama as the story comes to a shocking conclusion (you know something is off, but not quite sure what it is) and the reader is left momentarily holding her breath at the end. Ant then the reader says -- what the heck???
I liked most of the book really well, but I did not like how it concluded. If you like a gripping, dark and gothic type thriller, I think you will enjoy this book.
First Line: Dearest Tess, I'd do anything to be with you, right now, right this moment, so I could hold your hand, look at your face, listen to your voice.
When Bee gets a call from her mother saying that her younger sister, Tess, is missing, Bee catches the first flight from New York City to London. At first Bee believes that impulsive Tess is just being herself, but once she has a chance to walk through Tess's flat, Bee knows something is terribly wrong. When Tess's body is found a few days later, police are convinced that it's suicide, but Bee knows it's murder-- and will do everything in her power to provide justice for her beloved sister.
When the book opens, Bee is the tightly reined-in, responsible older sister, and Tess is an impulsive free spirit who sees the beauty in the world around her. The action unfolds as a letter from Bee to her sister, and as we get a clearer picture of the facts, we also see Bee begin to change as one person after another hinders her in trying to find her sister's killer. As the days pass, Bee learns that she didn't know her sister nearly as well as she thought she did-- a lesson that is difficult to learn at any age.
Although everyone else believes that Bee is is denial, with the advantage of Bee's letter to Tess, the reader knows she isn't; that there really is a case to be made for murder. But as Bee slowly loses her iron self control, she tells Tess that she's been keeping something from her-- and the reader is left to wonder just how reliable the older sister is as a narrator. Just what is Bee postponing telling Tess in that letter?
This book satisfies on so many levels. As a thriller, it keeps the reader guessing-- wondering just how unraveled Bee is becoming, wondering what really happened to Tess, wondering if Bee is putting herself in danger-- and as that thriller, everything is deftly plotted, and the pace is quick.
But this book is also an homage to the love one sister has for another. Although Tess is never met as a living person, through Bee's letter to her, we know her every bit as much as her sister does. By telling us about her sister, Bee learns about herself and shares what she learns.
It's true that this book will have even greater meaning to readers who have lost loved ones and experienced not only the aching loss, but the intense soul searching that often accompanies it. However, the true strength and beauty of this book is that it's not just a homage to grief, love and loss, it's also a wonderful character study and a first-rate suspense novel. With one book, Rosamund Lupton has become an author whose books I'll await with great anticipation.
I loved this book and could not put it down.
At the surface, the book is a mystery. A girl (Tess) has died. The death is ruled a suicide, but was it? Her sister (Beatrice) does not believe so, and sets out to find out what really happened.
Below its surface, the book explores the relationship between the sisters, family dynamics, and relationships - those we choose, those we walk away from, and those who walk away from us.
What makes this book really compelling is the way in which it is told. The narrative is a "letter" from Beatrice to Tess. Really, it is Beatrice telling Tess the story from the point she discovers that Tess has died to the point of discovering what really happened. The narrative is beautifully written.
This is a marvelous novel that succeeds on several levels: as a novel of family, relationships, grief and loss; as a sensitive and detailed character study; and as a cleverly crafted and suspenseful thriller. For a debut novel, it is quite remarkable; Ms. Lupton is definitely a writer to watch.
I liked the first half of the book. Very suspenseful and well written. I found myself relating very well to the main character because I have a younger sister. Their stories were very much the same of how we grew up. About the time of Tess's funeral, I began to loose interest. The details became too excessive and mundane. It was also around the middle of the book that I figured out who the killer was. Never once did I waiver from my assumption, and I was correct in the end. I do not like books that I can so readily "figure out." However, there is another twist at the end that I did not see coming. It is because of this twist that I gave the book 4 stars, rather then 3. As I said before, the book was great for the first half. I began to lose interest at the point that they buried Tess and the baby.