Review: The Silent Sister (Diane Chamberlain)

Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions are simply my own honest ones and I have not been asked to write this review. Not everyone may agree with my thoughts and that’s okay! I hope you enjoy reading about mine.

Rating: 4 Stars

Riley MacPherson has lived her whole life believing that her older sister Lisa was so depressed she committed suicide when Riley was just two years old and Lisa was sixteen.

Many years later, as Riley is going through her father’s house to clean it up for sale after his passing, she begins to question what lies her family has been telling her all her life. What if Lisa is actually alive and leading a full life somewhere else?

Review (Spoilers)
This book managed to have a lot of cliche plot twists but at the same time executing them in such a way that they remained captivating and not so cliche. Some twists were obvious (like who Riley’s biological father was) and other’s were less obvious (like who Riley’s biological mother was – Lisa!)

I loved that there were a handful of good supporting characters that were developed enough that they each had their own distinctive personalities and were easy to keep track of, with just enough background characters to make it seem like there were other people in the world of New Bern, where Riley’s father lived until he died.

It was difficult to reconcile the fact that a mother would stay away from her child – even though she had, what I would say were semi-valid reasons to leave (aka trying to keep the whole story from Riley). It just didn’t seem like a shocking enough secret to leave a daughter behind (no matter how well she knew she’d be looked after) not to mention the fact that Riley’s (grand)mother and (grand)father thought it would be best for Riley and her brother Danny (who was the most unreliable character – did he love Riley or want to ruin her life?) to be told a series of vague lies their entire lives. Especially after Danny witnessed the tragic events that lead to Lisa’s fleeing and was old enough to legitimately remember them, only to have his parents tell him he wasn’t remembering correctly, and what a wild imagination he had. When they saw what that was doing to his mind, why didn’t they deal with things differently?

The one thing that bothered me the most was simply the fact that Lisa and her father were extra secretive for the first handful of years (to the point where he refused to do much more than send a few sentences back and forth over the course of like six years) and then somehow Lisa wound up at a point where she was no longer worried about being caught. Sure twenty-something years pass and she hadn’t had any scary run-ins since her rather (lets be honest) new friends lied about recognizing her picture even when they were told she was a murderer …

But then suddenly enough time passes that she’s okay with her picture being put up online, her new name plastered on a website. It’s like she’s a super hero (when she’s not holding her violin – or wearing her Tuxedo Mask disguise – no one will ever be able to recognize her?) which is a little unbelievable, considering that while it’s likely her guard has been lowered over the passing of so much time, it’s odd that she’d let the world know her before she even tried reaching out to her daughter, even when she was in more current contact with her father at that same time.

Regardless, though, as I said, this book was well written and edited and the storyline was just complex enough to make the plot line bendy and interesting instead of linear and too obvious. While some things were obvious, others were chilling and the characters were enticing and I loved how they all sort of linked together in unexpected way!

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