Welcome to the June meeting of our Book Review Club! And look to the left to left to see who is here to review for us. It's KELLY HAYES, one of my Denny's Chicks critique partners. Kelly writes a well-honed, insightful review. We're lucky to get her. (I was expecially lucky, given my upcoming deadline!) Take it away, Kelly!
SISTER by Rosamund Lupton
Sister, by debut author Rosamund Lupton, is a unique book. I’ve never read anything quite like it. It’s a psychological mystery with a big twist at the end. Don’t worry, there will be no spoilers in this review. I wouldn’t want to detract from the pleasure of such a good read.
Sometimes, at the library where I work, when I use the word ‘literary’ to describe a book, I’ll see the patron’s eyes glaze over. I can tell they’re thinking, I don’t want literature, I just want a good read. Well, this book happens to be both.
Sister opens with Beatrice, an expat Brit living in New York City, who is informed that her younger sister, Tess, is missing. Beatrice catches the next plane to London to find out what’s going on. Even though an ocean separates them, they’ve always been close, emailing and talking on the phone regularly. Beatrice has been living a successful, regimented life with her boring, but dependable husband. While beautiful Tess, a poor art student in London, leads a Bohemian lifestyle, tending bar at night to pay the rent.
Upon arriving in London, Beatrice reveals to the police what she’s known for months: her sister was pregnant with her married art professor’s baby. Then Tess’s body turns up in a derelict public restroom with slashed wrists, but Beatrice refuses to accept the investigator’s pronouncement of suicide. She knows her sister, the eternal optimist, would never take her own life.
Beatrice’s quest to find the truth about her sister’s death becomes a journey of self-discovery, as she stays in her sister’s flat and takes up her job at the bar. She gets more and more enmeshed in Tess’s life even as she draws closer to the secrets surrounding her death.
What makes this book so unique in its first-person perspective delivered as if Beatrice is talking to her absent sister, while at the same time relating the case, point by point to a lawyer. I know, it sounds strange, not to mention confusing, but it is neither. What you get is an intimate knowledge of Beatrice’s thoughts and feelings and her deep bond with her sister. All I can say is that it works on a deeply visceral level.
I chose this book for our library book club because I’ve read it before and I knew it would provoke a good discussion. Being a writer myself, I also wanted a chance to dissect it to a certain degree, to discover the point at which the author deftly weaves the twists and turns into the plot. And I have to tell you, I cannot spot a seam or a loose thread anywhere. All I see is a moody, compelling thriller, with a haunting emotional intensity at its core.
Thank you, Kelly, for an insightful and masterful review. Of course, we expect no less!
And, now, it's onto this month's AMAZING AND THOUGHTFUL reviews! With summer reading just around the corner, you won't want to miss a single one.
MIDDLE GRADE/YOUNG ADULT BOOK REVIEWS
Ellen Booraem of Freelance Ne'er-do-well: HUCKLEBERRY FINN by Mark Twain
(middle grade/young adult)
Sarah Laurence: A CORNER OF WHITE by Jaclyn Moriarty (young adult fantasy)
ADULT BOOK REVIEWS
Alyssa Goodnight of the Writers' Road Less Traveled: MISS DIMPLE DISAPPEARS
by Mignon Ballard (mystery)
Linda McLaughlin: SEDUCTION: A NOVEL OF SUSPENSE (The Reincarnationist #5)
by MJ Rose (paranormal)
Patti Abbott: PINES by Blake Crouch (crime fiction)
Prairie Rose of Prairie Rose's Garden: THE SUPREMES AT EARL'S ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT
by Edward Moore
Lucy Sartain of Ranting and Raving: EASY SEXY RAW by Carol Alt (cookbook)
Scott Parker: THE HIGH-FLYING HISTORY OF AMERICA'S MOST ENDURING HERO
by Larry Tye
Note to Reviewers: Any errors (broken link, missed review, etc), just shoot me an email or leave a comment. Thank you so much for your reviews!