I received this book for free from Purchased in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links as indicated by an asterisk. Purchases from these links provides a small commission to me at no extra cost to you.The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain
Published by St. Martin's Press on Oct. 7, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Drama, Fiction, Women's
Setting: USA-North Carolina
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Synopsis from Goodreads:
“In The Silent Sister, Riley MacPherson has spent her entire life believing that her older sister Lisa committed suicide as a teenager. Now, over twenty years later, her father has passed away and she’s in New Bern, North Carolina cleaning out his house when she finds evidence to the contrary. Lisa is alive. Alive and living under a new identity. But why exactly was she on the run all those years ago, and what secrets are being kept now? As Riley works to uncover the truth, her discoveries will put into question everything she thought she knew about her family. Riley must decide what the past means for her present, and what she will do with her newfound reality, in this engrossing mystery from international bestselling author Diane Chamberlain.”
I had the privilege of seeing Diane Chamberlain speak on October 7th, the release date of this book. She said that this was both one of her hardest books to write and one of the hardest to talk about. Since it is more of a mystery than her other novels, it was hard for her to tell us about it without giving too much away. Now that I’ve read it, I completely agree! I’m not sure what I can tell you about this book without revealing spoilers but I’ll try.
We meet the main character, Riley MacPherson, as she has the grim and overwhelming task of cleaning out her father’s house after his death. In her young 25 years, Riley has had her share of tragedy. She lost her mother to cancer, her father unexpectedly and her older sister, Lisa, when Riley was just two years old to an apparent suicide. At least “suicide” is what Lisa and Riley’s older brother, Danny, are taught to believe.
Riley is a naive character and the secondary characters in the book tend to try and take advantage of her and force her to do what they want her to. Everyone seems to be keeping a secret regarding what really happened to her sister, Lisa. They are conniving and I never really knew whether Riley could trust them and felt like screaming “don’t fall for it!” I definitely felt my motherly protective instincts kicking in with Riley.
The story is told through Riley and Lisa’s alternating points of view and both in the past and present. I tend to like this style of narration because it really allows me to understand the character and the motives behind their actions. In particular, Diane develops her characters exceptionally well. I may not agree with the characters’ decisions, but I can empathize with them and what motivates them.
Oh, the plot! Well this will be a short, sweet paragraph….”holy wow!” was honestly the first thought when I finished this book. Not normally two words I would ever put together but man, the plot was fast paced with the usual twists and turns I don’t see coming. It is more of a mystery and less of a love story than in her other novels I have read. I can’t really give you much more than the synopsis has without giving away something good.
Since Guiltless Reader’s bookmap tutorial during our Travel the World in Books Readathon, I have been trying to map the geographic location where all the books I read are set. Most of the story takes place in New Bern, NC, a coastal town, the birthplace of Pepsi and one of the towns I worked in as a newbie auditor a lifetime ago, ya know before I had kids.
What books have had you on the edge of your seat or completely surprised you? What authors develop their characters well? I love hearing from you so don’t be afraid to leave me a comment and tell me what you think!