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Thursday, November 08, 2012

O Sister, Where Art Thou?

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Bee Hemming always looks out for her younger sister.  Always.  It doesn't matter that they're 26 and 21 respectively or that they live in different countries—when Tess needs her, Bee's there.  She's used to Tess's drama, her emotional neediness and her impulsive decisions, so when Bee learns that Tess has disappeared, she assumes it's just another one of Tess's stunts.  Still, she boards the first flight she can get to London, intending to give her flighty sibling a piece of her mind.  Then, the police find Tess's body.  Although the death is ruled a suicide, Bee knows her sister would never take her own life.  She refuses to leave England until she not only convinces the authorities that Tess was murdered, but also catches the killer.

The more Bee delves into her sister's private life, the more disturbed she becomes—she learns Tess was pregnant by her married lover; bothered by an obsessed stalker; and involved in a controversial medical trial.  Any of these situations could have led to her death.  And then there's the possibility of suicide.  It's not an option Bee wants to believe, even if it's looking more and more likely.  Bee's dogged pursuit of the truth is taking a toll on her own personal life, but she refuses to quit.  She must solve the mystery of Tess' death before she can move on.  Even if it kills her—which it just might.

Sister by English author Rosamund Lupton is the kind of book I usually enjoy.  It's got a mysterious death, it's got a strong, but complicated sister bond, it's got some twisty plot curves, it's got solid writing.  So, yeah, totally my thing.  Except I didn't love it.  I liked it, but the truth is, the story's pretty anticlimactic until right at the very end.  And Bee's not the type of character that steps into your heart and never leaves.  She's sympathetic, but too cold to be really likable.  Still, there were enough surprises in Sister to keep me (mostly) interested.  Is Lupton my new favorite writer?  No.  Will I try her again?  Probably, although I'm not rushing out to get everything she's ever written.  Sister kept me reading, but didn't win my eternal book love.  Oh well.

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't think of anything off the top of my head.  Can you?)

Grade:  B-

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  R for language, violence and depictions of illegal drug use

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

1 comment:

  1. This was my first Rosamand Lupton book and I did enjoy it (I love mysteries and thrillers), but I found the ending to be disappointing after such a huge set-up, and I didn't get a very strong sense of what would happen to Bee after the book ended.

    It was also confusing, as in I started wondering if the whole thing had been in Bee's imagination.

    Maybe I'm just a romantic at heart, but I was aghast when the detective wasn't even a real person.

    The writing and the suspense were terrific though, and it was unique written as a letter, too.


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