Review

The Silent Sister. Diane Chamberlain

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The Silent Sister
Diane Chamberlain
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
Date: 7th October 2014
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 352
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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Riley MacPherson has spent her entire life believing that her older sister Lisa committed suicide as a teenager.  Now, over twenty years later, her father has passed away and she’s in New Bern, North Carolina cleaning out his house when she finds evidence to the contrary.  Lisa is alive.  Alive and living under a new identity.  But why exactly was she on the run all those years ago, and what secrets are being kept now?  As Riley works to uncover the truth, her discoveries will put into question everything she thought she knew about her family.  Riley must decide what the past means for her present, and what she will do with her newfound reality.

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The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain was a compulsive, stay glued to the book read.  Small clues were drip fed through to the reader and to Riley as she started to glean that her family were not quite as they appeared to be.  What secret would be uncovered next?
Riley is the youngest in her family, with about 15 years between herself and her older sister Lisa, who was thought to have committed suicide when Riley was only 2 years old.  She has no real memory of her.  Riley begins to put her father’s estate in order after his death, and then one discovery after the other happens.  The old couple in the RV park – why was her father paying Tom Kyle $500 a month?   Tom’s wife Verniece tells Riley something she just can’t believe.  Real estate agent Jeannie Lyons, turns out to be a lot more than just the real estate person helping her deal with winding up the estate.
Riley is close to Danny her brother, older by about 5 years than her.  He lives in an old trailer in the RV park.  He is a war veteran and is grouchy to say the very least.  He can’t cope with helping Riley to close the estate.  After his sister went missing he grew up in a home that held tension and he is angry with his father.  However he has a soft, tender spot for Riley – this is the relationship I liked most in the book.  He helps her out at crucial times, and while he is a lose cannon in many ways, my heart ached for him.
The book alternates between Riley and her sister Lisa, and if you’ve read the summary, her suicide was faked.  But who was involved? Who knew what?  How did Lisa fare after this?  Gradually we are let in on her story and we are drip fed clues that are significant.  Her story is every bit as compelling as Riley’s one. 
Lies, secrets, murder, abuse have taken a toll on every member of this family.  Riley is desperate to find family, she feels so alone, Lisa’s heart aches for different reasons.  Others are slammed by the shock of revealed secrets they knew nothing about. 
The Silent Sister was a well crafted story, clues revealed slowly, viewpoints had to be weighed up – who was telling the truth?  The book was very well paced and written in a way that meant I couldn’t leave it down for long.  
4 stars

5 thoughts on “The Silent Sister. Diane Chamberlain”

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