Thursday 4 May 2017

My Sister by Michelle Adams

Published by Headline on April 20, 2017

My Sister is another one of those books that I saw on Twitter and knew instantly that I had to read it. Twitter can create such a buzz for a book, making it almost impossible to resist reading it. Some of them don’t always live up to the expectations I have for them, but Michelle Adams’s debut novel definitely did. I was hooked from beginning to end.

Irini and Elle are sisters, but they haven’t seen each other in years. When Irini was very young, she was given away, sent to live with her aunt, left with no answers. Elle continued to live with her parents. Irini never understood why Elle was kept and she wasn’t – why didn’t her parents want her? Irini has escaped the grasp of her twisted sister, or so she thinks, as when the book opens in the middle of the night, Irini’s phone rings. It’s Elle. Their mother has died. Irini returns “home” for the funeral.

You know, I love a fast-paced, urgent, dramatic kind of read but one thing I love more is a slowburner of a novel where the author can quite capably keep my attention for 300+ plus pages as the tension surges with every chapter, leaving me desperate to read more. This, for me, is exactly what My Sister was. The first chapter had me very intrigued and whilst things built up gradually from there, I found the writing entirely compelling and addictive, as every chapter builds the suspense further, teasing and haunting and ensuring I have to read on and find out what happens next.

One thing I particularly enjoyed about this book was the exploration of the relationship between Irini and Elle, which was toxic, to say the least. There was something so fascinating about the two of them, whether it was the stories from their childhood or their interactions in the aftermath of the death of their mother. Everything about their relationship was unsettling and made me feel uneasy reading it. The two of them were very difficult to figure out, especially Elle, who had me captivated. There was always, evidently, something not quite right about her but I couldn’t figure out what made Elle, Elle. I loved this about My Sister, the not quite knowing what has happened but insisting on not putting the book down until the truth has been discovered. The unpredictability of Elle made her a very engaging character, much like Irini’s need for answers had me fascinated too.

The author’s writing is beautiful and somewhat eerie, really mesmerising, and the storytelling lingers and leaves in its wake a truly thought-provoking end to what was an absorbing and impressive psychological thriller. The story that develops is a creepy one, full of mystery and hidden truths that you’re eager to uncover. Everything develops in quite a subtle manner which had more of an impact on me than what a jaw-dropping twist would have done, as the characters had really worked their way into my mind and turned My Sister into the kind of book that even when I wasn’t reading it, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. That’s not to say there weren’t moments throughout that left me sitting in stunned silence.

Elle has such a strong hold over Irini and it is one that echoes the hold the author has on her reader, as I for one knew that any moment spent not reading this book was wasted as my brain wouldn’t stop ticking over until I got some answers, and then once I had those answers and the book was over, the story still stayed with me. Michelle Adams has written a shocking and sinister story of a dysfunctional family and it’s a book I guarantee you won’t be able to get off your mind. Incredibly tense and taut, there is a dangerous bond between the two sisters that had me satisfyingly unnerved throughout. Elle and Irini are two characters I know I won’t forget.

1 comment:

  1. Loved your review, sounds like I'll have to read it! I recently read The Woman in Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware, which had a similar effect on me.


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