When one sister dies, the other must go to desperate lengths to survive. Haunted by her twin sister’s death, Abi is making a fresh start in Bath. But when she meets twins Bea and Ben, she is quickly drawn into their privileged and unsettling circle.
When one sister lies, she must protect her secret at all costs. As Abi tries to keep up with the demands of her fickle friends, strange things start to happen – precious letters go missing and threatening messages are left in her room. Is this the work of the beautiful and capricious Bea? Or is Abi willing to go to any lengths to get attention?
When the truth outs, will either sister survive?
Review: I bought this book on a whim; I was in a book shop and felt obligated to buy something. As you do. I thought it sounded decent so I decided to give it a go. Again, when I picked it up to start I wasn’t particularly excited nor did I have any expectations either way as I hadn’t read any reviews about it. But now, only a month and half into the year, I’ve found a contender for the best book I read in 2017 already.
The Sisters is about Abi who, after losing her twin, Lucy, in a tragic accident the previous year, tries to start her life afresh in Bath. Having struggled immensely since Lucy’s death, it’s important that Abi gets her life back on track. She then meets Bea, a bubbly, fun and friendly girl who reminds her eerily of her sister (and herself). Bea invites Abi into her home and her life, the girls quickly become friends and Abi soon moves in to Bea’s extraordinary home where she lives with her own twin brother, Ben. Abi gets close to Ben but after a while, things start happening that none of them seem to be able to explain. Things go missing; including some of Abi’s precious letters her sister wrote to her during her life. As things get more sinister, Abi realises that something isn’t right in the house or between any of them. Bea has her own secrets and Ben is caught in the middle. But will it all end up in tears?
It was really difficult to briefly explain what this book is about without giving too much away and I most certainly have not done it any justice at all in that description. What struck me most about this book is how quickly you get drawn in. I am a slow reader and I rarely read anything where I don’t want to put it down and have a break from it but this swept me off my feet because I literally could not stop. I think it was a combination of the writing style and the storyline but whatever it was, it was a magical and powerful potion of, ‘I’ve got you now, reader. There’s no getting away’.
The storyline itself was so gripping and the characters were equally as interesting as they were confusing. I liked Abi, although she very clearly and very obviously had a lot of issues. There was quite a strong but subtle mental health element to this book: the main character having suffered depression, suicidal episodes and other issues. It was never forced in your face but it was there and as someone who suffers from and advocates for mental health, it was good to see. I also noticed the different reactions from people towards Abi and her mental health problems – past and present. It was a good representation of how people act in real life; how supportive some are in comparison to others.
The twins, Bea and Ben were interesting characters. Bea has a huge transformation in the book and by the end, it’s almost as if she’s not the bubbly, sweet, friendly girl we meet right at the beginning. All thriller’s have that bad character who is revealed at the end and it definitely wasn’t who I was expecting in this story – the author takes you down a lot of dead ends and a lot of potential options throughout. But the thing that got me most and the thing that has left me thinking about this book days after I had finished reading it was the very last page – the very last line to be precise – where you realise that maybe we don’t know anything about the main character at all and whatever we were shown in this book was only the surface of an exceptionally deep and confusing person.
This book just flowed beautifully, without any award jumps from one person to another, even thought we do see both Abi and Bea’s perspectives – albeit more so Abi’s – throughout the book. Claire Douglas masterly keeps you guessing and questioning what you’ve just read with your own eyes right up until the end and having that last laugh right on the very last line of the book. Masterfully done, beautifully written and a book that keeps you intensely gripped throughout its entirety. If you like thriller’s about family dynamics then I honestly couldn’t recommend this enough.