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My Sister's Bones by Nuala Ellwood

My Sister's Bones

by Nuala Ellwood

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357321,274 (3.94)3



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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This was a suspense novel that had me on the edge of my seat. It is about two sisters, Kate and Sally that are both damaged and dependent on alcohol and drugs. Kate is a cutting edge war reporter that has seen too much and is suffering from PTSD. Sally is taking after her father by drinking herself into oblivion. When Kate believes something sinister is going on in the house next door to her, no one believes her and she begins to wonder if she really is losing it mentally. The book begins with Kate being interrogated at a police station, so right away you are turning pages to find out what could possibly have happened that was so bad for Kate to be arrested.
The second part of the book shifts to Sally's perspective. Tense, well written and a real page turner. This is highly recommended. I received a complimentary copy as part of the Librarything Early Reviewers. ( )
  melaniehope | May 16, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Wow. This book was an emotional roller coaster from start to finish! I was not expecting it to be that poignant, but Nuala Ellwood is a very talented writer. I found myself wondering how I would fare in Kate's place and the answer, honestly, is not half as well as this amazing, strong woman. The twists and turns in this book kept me questioning almost the entire time, which is a plus as I feel a lot of psychological thrillers these days follow the same formula. I will admit to liking Kate much more than her sister Sally, but perhaps that is what the author intended and if so, then it worked on me.
I will definitely be recommending this book to anyone looking for a book that has psychological suspense, and I look forward to reading more books by this author. Thanks to Library Thing for allowing me to read and review this book. ( )
  srazz | May 16, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
There are many story lines bouncing around in this first book by Nuala Elwood. I think she is a very talented author. But I also think that there is too much going on in this story. Although I was an avid reader, not wanting to stop until I had worked things out, I felt scattered at times.
Kate is an overseas correspondent returned home to England because of the death of her mother. Kate is suffering from PTSD. She has seen too much in Syria and her personal life has not provided the sanctuary needed for people viewing wars' horrors.
Growing up her mom was abused by her father and her sister who makes only a brief appearance in the first part of the book defended her father. This sister, Sally, takes over as narrator in the second half of the story.
Next door to Kate's mother's home, Kate sees a small boy that her mind ties to a child in Aleppo.
Adding to this is the time Kate spends in jail being evaluated by a mental health professional. In the hours she is held, the reader learns much about Kate's life.
Where the build up goes on and on the conclusion whips to a finish and not without some head shaking by the reader.
Read as an ARC from LibraryThing.
  librarian1204 | May 14, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Less is more. That is the thought that recurs as one reads the new psychological suspense thriller from Nuala Ellwood, MY SISTER’S BONES.
There is no doubt that Nuala Ellwood is a talented writer. She has been inspired by her award-winning journalist father’s and other’s experiences to research PTSD, which forms a central theme of her novel.
The main character Kate returns from Syria because of the death of her mother to the small town and the home where she grew up. Kate’s childhood was riddled with fear and loathing due to her abusive alcoholic father though her relationship with her mother was always a warm and loving place of support and strength. For a time, so was her relationship with her younger sister Sally until that suddenly changed after the death of their baby brother David who drowned on a sunny day while Kate was swimming with him in the sea.
This moment forms another theme around which the novel swirls, and another point around which Kate’s PTSD unravels.
Kate’s character is strong and despite descriptions of her outbursts of violence, she remains likeable. You root for her. She is brave; she contains depth and goodness. But Kate has a secret, and soon it is revealed that there are others who hold a secret about her. What is it?
We can guess. Most will. Will we be right?
Kate’s brother and his death merge with the death of a young Syrian boy who haunts her. Could she have saved him? Indeed Syria and the death of the boy is the crux of Kate’s PTSD.
When she returns home, she continually hears a boy crying, screaming. She sees him at night in her mother’s garden. She becomes obsessed that she must rescue him.
Now it is not only Kate who wonders what is true. It is us as we are drawn into this journey.
After an incident that lands Kate in a 40 hour interrogation to see if she is mentally fit, Kate returns to Syria, and the book shifts suddenly to Sally, the younger sister.
The shift is abrupt as the narration remains in the first person. Startling.
But what is more startling is the weakness of the character drawn.
When Kate visits Sally whom she rarely sees, she describes her as a hopeless debilitated drunk, one whose smell is so bad it permeates the room and can barely be overcome. Not a civil word passes between these two. Sally reveals nothing but hatred for her mother and a sort of hero worship of their father. It is one thing to have siblings growing up in the same household and each hold different memories, but this household was so extreme, it is nearly impossible to fathom Sally’s point of view, and this discrepancy is never satisfactorily explained.
Sally is an unbearable drunkard. Why does her husband put up with her? Their relationship lacks all credibility.
Sally as a young teen bears a child. She can barely cope; she leaves the child in a beer garden as she stumbles off to the bar. Eventually, a young teenager, Hannah disappears—leaving with a group of friends never to return.
As the last quarter or so of the book churns, we find out what’s happened to Hannah, the mystery of the phantom boy is revealed, and the reason husband Paul put up with Sally all those years drops like a bomb.
And thus, the bottom falls out.
Less is more, and more is incredulity.
Which is such a shame because Kate and her story is enough. Dive deep and take us on that journey. Why was she so angry, even as a child? Because of the abuse trauma she experienced towards herself and her mother? Sally says in her turn as narrator that she was always afraid of Kate. Why did she have no sympathy or empathy what-so-ever? Indeed, Sally emotionally embraced and protected the abuser. This is a pattern of abusive households, but it is merely glanced by here. Why did Sally speak so lovingly in her mind of Kate when Kate was gone? Sally as narrator did not present at all as a debilitated drunk. If she could be so eloquent and speak so wisely, why could she not tear down the barrier that loomed so huge and so devastatingly between these sisters?
Finally, the title. I must say, the title had me building an entire scenario that was proven totally false. Was that the purpose? I know it is often the publisher who chooses the title. In this case, I found it lacking and without meaning or symbolism to this story.
The book is a page turner and it is full of suspense. It is beautifully written and it will haunt you. I will definitely look forward to more from Ms. Ellwood. ( )
  leighpod | May 13, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is a good psychological thriller. The story revolves around a dysfunctional family and perceptions of reality. There is good character development and a pretty believable storyline. I thought the "reveal" was a bit out of left field but, other than that, it was a good read ( )
1 vote jeanie1 | May 12, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0241977274, Hardcover)

'COMPELLING AND INTRIGUING, RIGHT FROM THE VERY FIRST PAGE' Sharon Bolton, Sunday Times bestselling author of Like This, For Ever Kate Rafter is a high-flying war reporter. She's the strong one. The one who escaped their father. Her younger sister Sally didn't. Instead, she drinks. But when their mother dies, Kate is forced to return to the old family home. And on her very first night she is woken by a scream. At first Kate tells herself it's just a nightmare. But then terrifying things start to happen, things she can't explain... What secret is lurking in her mother's garden? And what if the real danger is where you least expect it? 'A stunning book. I was drawn in by Nuala Ellwood's hypnotic, haunting and elegant prose. Compelling, unsettling and powerful this is a book that will stay with me for a long time' C. L. Taylor 'Loved I Let You Go and Behind Closed Doors? My Sister's Bones is guaranteed to be this year's most twisty and twisted read - you'll never see what's coming!' Ava Marsh, author of UNTOUCHABLE 'Gripping and beautifully written, My Sister's Bones is a tense, atmospheric, deliciously dark story' Amanda Jennings, author of IN HER WAKE 'An accomplished and page-turning thriller. It twists and turns in so many directions it's impossible to guess where it's going next' - Nicholas Searle, author of THE GOOD LIAR 'Ellwood's protagonist Kate is a female hero in the best sense, flawed but brave. Very quickly you are sucked into her fragile, damaged world, and no longer know what is real or imaginary' Helen Callaghan, author of DEAR AMY

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 25 Aug 2016 06:34:32 -0400)

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