Thursday, 19 February 2015

The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

What if everything you believed turned out to be a lie? 

Riley MacPherson is returning to her childhood home in North Carolina. A place that holds cherished memories. While clearing out the house she finds a box of old newspaper articles - and a shocking family secret begins to unravel.

Riley has spent her whole life believing that her older sister Lisa died tragically as a teenager. But now she's starting to uncover the truth: her life has been built on a foundation of lies, told by everyone she loved.

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 tries to separate reality from fiction, her discoveries call into question everything she thought she knew about her family. Can she find the strength inside herself to decide her future.

As readers of my previous blog may remember I am a HUGE Diane Chamberlain fan! I love her ability to tell a story and capture the reader instantly, I hate books where I have to wait for endless chapters before I'm drawn in, this never happens with Chamberlain. If you have never read one she has a massively long back catalogue to work through!

The Silent Sister starts with an intriguing prologue, then sees high school counsellor Riley McPherson returning to her childhood home to deal with the aftermath of her father's death, tidying up his estate etc... It becomes apparent quite quickly that there are secrets within this family. Riley's older brother, Danny, is a tortured soul. He is an Iraq war veteran and is badly affected by the death of their eldest sister, Lisa, a musical child prodigy who they had been brought up to believe committed suicide after battling with depression. His anger fuels him and his relationship with Riley is a strained one.

The further Riley gets into ordering her father's paperwork and belongings, the more secrets she discovers, and each one shocks her further to the core, and before long she realises her whole life is built on deceit. She finds a box of newspaper articles that state quite clearly that Lisa murdered a man, her violin teacher, and drowned herself before she came to trial. But as she delves further, the rumours begin that makes Riley wonder, is Lisa really dead?

As with all Chamberlain's books I was hooked from the very beginning, and read quite quickly through to the last page. However...I was slightly disappointed? I found the characters slightly two dimensional, and really struggled with the character of Danny - Riley's brother, I get that he was a tortured soul, terribly angry about his childhood, blighted by the apparent death of his sister, but it lacked any progression, resolution, anything really on his part. In fact I always assumed the story was on the cusp of revealing some huge secret about him, it didn't.

The plot was cleverly woven, yet a part of me wonders if there was maybe a little too much to weave? If a slightly less complicated plot could have allowed for more depth in the characters? It lacks the suspense and twists in the plot as some of her older novels, The Midwife's Confession being one of my favourites. 

I did, overall, find this offering quite predictable, but still a really good read.

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