Sister – Rosamund Lupton

 Richard and Judy 2010 Winter Read

Sister is a fast paced mystery in which Beatrice tries to discover why her younger sister Tess has disappeared. The police think they’ve discovered what happened to Tess, but Beatrice knows her sister too well to believe their solution and sets out on her own dangerous hunt for the truth.

The majority of the book is written in the form of a letter from Beatrice to Tess. I found this writing style to be quite annoying – it didn’t flow very well in places and the continual ‘you’ and ‘your’ references felt odd, distancing me from the story.

I got into your bed. The polythene was flapping in the icy wind, the irregular inhuman noise as disturbing as the cold. Under your pillow were your pyjamas. They had the same smell as your dress. I hugged them, too cold and anxious to sleep. Somehow I must have done.

The pacing was very good and I was compelled to read on, but as the book progressed the plot became increasingly unrealistic. I don’t want to spoil the book for anyone, but the scientist in me didn’t like it.

I think that the book tried to combine too many elements (court case, police procedures, sibling psychology, scientific research, hospital procedures and a complex structure) and it didn’t quite work. As so many elements didn’t ring true the book as a whole was unsatisfying to read.

The structure of the book and the numerous talking points make this great for a book club discussion, but I think more people will be talking about the bits that irritated them than the parts they love.

Others seem to have enjoyed it more than I did:

The story is emotional, clever and extremely absorbing.  Bookstove

I really loved this book, and would urge anyone to read it. Petrona
Lupton hooks you by creating a creepy and unsettling atmosphere. Katie’s Book Blog

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  1. An epistolary format for a novel either works or falls flat — it’s too bad this didn’t work out for you! I haven’t seen this book but will bear your review in mind!

    1. Jackie says:

      Coffee and a Book Chick, I wouldn’t really describe it as epistolary novel as the letters don’t go both ways – just one long letter to the missing sister. I do agree they are tricky to pull off though – I have found many disappointing epistolary books :-(

      1. Eeks, one long letter…might drive me nuts, too!

  2. I’ve picked this one up two or three times in the bookshop and put it back down. I’m still not sure even after reading your review, but I think that style of writing would irritate me too

    1. Jackie says:

      The Slowest Bookworm, It is sometimes nice to read different writing styles, but I’m afraid it didn’t work for me in this case :-(

  3. Kathleen says:

    I’m thinking this is one that I wouldn’t enjoy. I don’t enjoy an epistolary novel unless it is done really well.

    1. Jackie says:

      Kathleen, I often struggle with epistolary novels, but I don’t think that is the main reason for me having trouble with this book. It just wasn’t realistic enough for me :-(

  4. stujallen says:

    dosen’t seem my type of book ,seems been lot letter based books rercent years ,all the best stu

    1. Jackie says:

      Stu, No, I don’t think this one is for you :-)

  5. Dorte H says:

    I am quite tempted after Maxine´s review, but usually I am not fond of the letter style either.

    1. Jackie says:

      Dorte, Don’t let the letter style put you off. If you like the sound of it then give it a try. You might like it more than I did. :-)

  6. Amy says:

    Hmmm letter style doesn’t usually do it for me, nor does too many unbelievable facts. Too bad!

    1. Jackie says:

      Amy, I don’t mind the odd bizarre twist, but this book stretched it a bit too much for me :-(

  7. Karen says:

    I’ve seen this one in bookshops and have ummed and ahhed about buying it. I don’t think the perspective that the book is written in would worry me so much but having worked in the Coronial and law systems some of the technical bits might annoy me if they are unrealistic (the reason I can’t watch CSI any more!!).

    1. Jackie says:

      Karen, I’m afraid I don’t know enough about law to know if those bits were accurate, but some of the other sections didn’t ring true.

  8. Dot says:

    I bought this a while back but haven’t had chance to read it yet, since buying it though I have read some reviews similar to yours so maybe I will leave it on the TBR pile for a little longer!

    1. Jackie says:

      Dot, It is a quick read, so you can strike it out of the TBR pile quite quickly. I hope that you enjoy it more than I did.


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