Friday, 14 April 2017
#MySister #MichelleAdams #Review
All her life she thought she'd been given away because her family didn't want her.
What if the truth was something far worse?
"My Sister" tells the story of Irini, who was given away by her parents at the age of three, whilst her volatile, destructive sister was kept within the family. Twenty years later Irini receives a phone call from her estranged sister to say that their mother has died, compelling her to return for the first time to the family home, and to uncover the shocking truth that has defined both their lives.
As soon as I started to hear about this book, I knew I had to read it so please let me give a big shout out and enormous thank you to Millie Seaward (@millieseaward @headlinepg)! She heard the desperate pleas of this bibliomaniac and generously granted my wish issuing me with a proof! I am so grateful!
The cover for the proof copy (see above) is just about the most intriguing cover I have ever seen and it immediately sent a shiver up my spine. A shiver that continued surging through me for every single page of this novel.
This is one absolutely cracking, chilling, captivating and compelling novel.
I do love a dysfunctional family. And an unreliable narrator. And a character that fascinates and unnerves me. And all in one book? Oh my word. Yes please.
I knew from the first sentence that I was going to love this book. I knew by the end of the first paragraph I was going to have to read My Sister in as close to one sitting as I could. I knew by the end of the first page I had discovered a very talented author.
I mean, look at the opening sentence:
The buzzing of my telephone is like the scuttling of a cockroach underneath the bed.
The beauty of Adam's writing is that in a book that is plot driven, fast paced, complicated and multilayered, Adams also has the ability to take your breath away with stunning description. Amongst the very contemporary and authentic first person voice of the protagonist Irini, Adams can evoke images through carefully inserted phrases which reveal more depth to the characters, the situation and her skill as a writer.
Irini is our main character, our narrator and the sister who we are led to care about. With a few deft strokes, Adams establishes that Irini is a troubled soul. She is physically scarred and physically suffering from a curved spine and a disfigured hip and this pervades her narrative. The impact of her physical issues is significant as Irini assumes this is why her parents decided to give her up when she was three. It also explains Irini's issues with self esteem, how she is sometimes perceived to be a victim and how Elle, her older, estranged sister, is able to use it as her achilles heel. It is well handled by Adams and arouses sympathy and empathy from the reader rather than pity.
Irini is also emotionally scarred and emotionally troubled. She is obviously still suffering from the fact that her parents rejected her when she was only three but kept Elle. Over the years, Elle has made contact with Irini but even when Elle does something to 'save' Irini, any interaction between them always results in devastating consequences. Irini has spent the last few years trying to escape Elle, hide from her, move away and erase her from her life. But she is clearly torn. She doesn't want a relationship with her sister yet she knows she cannot really deny it either. That's how it is when you are family. Isn't it?
Irini does have a partner, but the relationship does not feel stable. It feels as if her whole life is fragile, fraught and complicated.
Ah, yes, complicated. Adams does love a bit of complication. Every one of the characters in the book is complicated and the relationships between the characters is equally complicated. I liked this. I liked that I was constantly being challenged about what I thought and who I was going to listen to. I was intrigued to see where the story was going and what would happen to the characters. I liked that I was never entirely sure what to think of the characters and as the novel continued began to question what they told me or what they proposed was going on or had happened. I liked how the sub plots, revelations and frantic search for the truth became so tightly knitted together that it was impossible to stop reading. Adams' control of the complex threads which pull you along to the stunning conclusion is masterful.
Elle, the older sister, kept by Irini's parents despite her violent outbursts is a very cleverly depicted character. She is unnerving, fascinating, unpleasant and sad. She intrigued me and confused me. I was often thrown by the stories Irini related from their childhood. She seemed to be a good big sister, often coming to Irini's rescue but yet could turn and could sting with her erratic, cruel words and actions. Psychologically thrilling doesn't even come close to describing Elle. Or perhaps even Irini?
The exploration of the relationships between the siblings is fascinating. It is convincing, it is chilling and it is compulsive reading. And there are other themes explored here too; family, love, relationships, death, grief, secrets, physical disability and mental disability.
I enjoyed this book because although it is multilayered, although we switch between the past and present, although we are forever trying to assimilate all the cryptic clues, it is a fluent, engaging and gripping novel.
If you like psychological thrillers then you absolutely have to read this book. It screams psychological and it screams thrilling. It will stay with you, it will haunt you, it may challenge you but above all else, it will shock, disturb and grip you.
My Sister has been compared to I Let You Go and The Fire Child. It deserves this accolade as it is as stunning. Hopefully will go on to win over as many fans as Mackintosh and Tremayne have done - it deserve to.
Totally recommend. Very highly.
My Sister is published by Headline Books on the 20th April 2017.
Michelle Adams grew up in the UK and now lives in Cyprus, where she works as a part-time scientist. She read her first Stephen King novel at the tender age of nine, and has been addicted to suspense fiction ever since. MY SISTER is her first novel.
For more recommendations and reviews you can follow me on Twitter @KatherineSunde3 or via my website bibliomaniacuk.co.uk