Book Review: Sister by Rosamund Lupton

 SISTER

By Rosamund Lupton

First Published in 2010, Republished December 20, 2011

****

When her mom calls to tell her that Tess, her younger sister, is missing, Bee returns home to London on the first flight. She expects to find Tess and give her the usual lecture, the bossy big sister scolding her flighty baby sister for taking off without letting anyone know her plans. Tess has always been a free spirit, an artist who takes risks, while conservative Bee couldn’t be more different. Bee is used to watching out for her wayward sibling and is fiercely protective of Tess (and has always been a little stern about her antics). But then Tess is found dead, apparently by her own hand.

Bee is certain that Tess didn’t commit suicide. Their family and the police accept the sad reality, but Bee feels sure that Tess has been murdered.  Single-minded in her search for a killer, Bee moves into Tess’s apartment and throws herself headlong into her sister’s life–and all its secrets. 

Though her family and the police see a grieving sister in denial, unwilling to accept the facts, Bee uncovers the affair Tess was having with a married man and the pregnancy that resulted, and her difficultly with a stalker who may have crossed the line when Tess refused his advances. Tess was also participating in an experimental medical trial that might have gone very wrong.  As a determined Bee gives her statement to the lead investigator, her story reveals a predator who got away with murder–and an obsession that may cost Bee her own life.



I read this along with a couple girlfriends on my Kindle.  Even though I didn’t pick to read this book, I think I still would have read it eventually based on the synopsis.  I don’t typically read mystery/thrillers, but I guess I don’t necessarily place this book in the typical thriller category with Stephen King or James Patterson.  Rosamund Lupton was a new author to me since SISTER is her first novel.  Again, I am thrilled to find a new author that I can follow and someone whose first novel I really liked.    
Right away, you know that the character’s sister has died, but you don’t know how and the novel takes you through many twists and turns all the way to the absolute last page of the story.  It had me literally sitting on the edge of my seat as I was reading through the last 2 chapters.  
The story is told to me the reader as if I am the dead sister.  So, it took some getting used to as the living sister (Beatrice) is recounting the events of her sister’s (Tess’s) death through the telling of a letter as well as through the telling of the events to a lawyer.  There are divisions in the book so you know when there is a change in the telling of the story, but at times it was still confusing.
The story is set in London. Since I have never been to London I am not familiar with the places the writer talked about, but her descriptions allowed me to easily picture the parks, the weather, and the scenes in the story.   I also appreciated that I was reading it on the Kindle and could easily find the definitions of the British terms that were used.
Another great perk to reading on the Kindle is being able to highlight certain passages along the way.  A lot of my highlights were common to other readers.  They were things I wanted to remember and sentences that made me pause to think.
In some cities birds can’t hear each other anymore above the noise.  After a while they forget the complexity and beauty of each other’s song. Some have given up birdsong altogether, and faultlessly imitate car alarms.  Page 14
Usually time alters and affects everything, but when someone you love dies, time cannot change that – no amount of time will ever change that – so time stops having any meaning.  Page 55
People think it’s reassuring to say, “life carries on”; don’t they understand that it’s the fact your life carries on , while the person you love’s does not, that is one of the acute anguishes of grief. There would be day after day that wasn’t the day you were found; that hope, and my life with my sister in it, had ended.  Page 58
Our mind is who we are; it’s where we feel and think and believe.  It’s where we have love and hate and faith and passion.  Page 110
If equal affections cannot be, let the more loving one be me. Page 190
But grief is the ultimate unrequited love.  However hard and however long we love someone who has died, they can never love us back. At least that is how it feels…. Page 195
She pans life for gold and finds it daily….only learning the words to describe a wonderful world, refusing to know the words for a bleak one and in doing so linguistically shaping the world that you inhabit. Page 279  This last one, I really loved.  What a happy way to live.
This was definitely a page-turner and kept me interested all the way to the end.  There were shocking twists, but towards the end of the book, I did figure out the murderer.  But the author still found ways to bring more twists at the end.  I was a little disappointed in the ending. I was left wanting more and a little unsettled, but still was left with hope for the character. 
This would make an excellent book club pick as there are lots of discussable topics including grief, trust, relationships, and genetics.  The topics in this book are heavy and may not be for everyone.  Cystic Fibrosis is featured in this story and has brought this horrible disease and it’s treatment to the forefront.  
SISTER has won several writing awards including the Best Debut of 2011.  Rosamund Lupton has since written another novel titled AFTERWARDS set to be released April 24, 2012. I look forward to following her writing career and am sure she will find great success.  Be sure to check out her website,  www.RosamundLupton.com for more information.     
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